RSS stands for  ' Really Simple Syndication' is used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed", "web feed" or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship.

A standardized XML file format allows the RSS information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. They benefit readers who want to subscribe latest updates from favorite websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place.

Your RSS feeds are a conduit for reaching influential bloggers who, for whatever reason, have an interest in your site. In addition, your RSS feeds could be picked up by RSS search engines like Feedster, Technorati and Google Blog Search. Many bloggers subscribe to search results feeds from these search engines to keep up with what is happening on a particular topic or industry. Thus, if something featured in your RSS feeds include the keywords that the blogger is tracking with their RSS search results subscription, you will end up getting in front of that blogger even if he or she is not subscribing directly to your RSS feed.

Why should I use it?

Using RSS can save you lots of time on a daily basis. Let's say you visit a collection of 5 tech news websites three times a day. Currently, you visit them one by one in your browser, look for a new story and then go on. Going through all 5 sites might take 3-4 minutes or more if you find a new article. With RSS, all you do is go into an RSS feed reader, or RSS aggregator, and you will instantly know which websites have new articles and which don't. You will also be able to see past entries with RSS. If you were to only visit the website, you could miss an article if you don't visit frequently enough or get bored of seeing the same article if you visit to frequently. RSS fits in perfectly with this scenario.

RSS feeds can be summaries or they can be full text. I strongly encourage you to offer full text feeds rather than summary feeds. You might think, “Well, I want the reader to have to click into my site to get the complete article,” however, you are robbing the feed of valuable keyword-rich, link-containing content with a summary-only feed.

Most RSS feeds include just the last 10 items published. I would suggest having at least 20. The more content in your feed for RSS search engines to sink their teeth into, the more things you are putting in front of bloggers and customers.

RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator". The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds. RSS allows users to avoid manually inspecting all of the websites they are interested in, and instead subscribe to websites such that all new content is pushed onto their browsers when it becomes available.

I also encourage you to have multiple feeds on your site, not just one. Each of your product categories could have its own RSS feed. Have a RSS feed of your best sellers, another for your clearance items, another for your new products, and another for your coupons and discounts. Someone may be only interested in one particular category of products that you sell; so give them the option of subscribing to an RSS feed of just those products.

Find Some Feeds to Subscribe to – there are two places to look for a site’s feed:

On the Site
In Your Browser


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