Copyright (c) 2008 Titus Hoskins
One of the very first articles I ever wrote on Internet Marketing had to do with RSS and it was entitled “10 Reasons To Put RSS On Your Site.” That was in 2004 and RSS was somewhat new and many webmasters were just beginning to place blogs and RSS feeds on their sites. If you do a search in Google, you can still find that article on around 2,000 sites.
Most people now refer to RSS as “Really Simple Syndication” – although it originally stood for “Rich Site Summary” and was a very simple way of summarizing and syndicating your content in real-time to all interested parties.
RSS had its early beginnings with Netscape in 1991 which introduced the first version of RSS (RDF Site Summary). Later versions would be introduced and made popular by Dave Winer of ScriptingNews and Userland fame who is considered by many to be one of the major founding fathers of RSS.
Most people today associate RSS with blogs and blogging. You can read RSS content by using an RSS feed reader or “aggregator” which can be desktop or web-based. Some common feed readers include FeedDemon, My Yahoo!, iGoogle and Firefox (Live Bookmarks). You subscribe to your favorite RSS feed by clicking the small icon on your favorite blog or site and then when fresh content is published via RSS your reader can immeditately retrieve and display it for you.
RSS is a very simple way of keeping up to date and in contact with your favorite site or topic. It makes staying informed easy to do and it provides site/blog owners a simple way of distributing their content.
One can’t but wonder has RSS lived up to all that early hype?
Perhaps that question can only be answered by looking at the popularity of blogging and the role it now plays on the web. No one can deny blogs and their accompanying RSS feeds carry tremendous weight, no matter which way you measure it. Can anyone now imagine the World Wide Web without blogs?
But the importance of RSS goes beyond just blogging, we tend to forget how important it is for all the new social media sites like Digg, Technorati, Reddit… and not to forget fast growing applications like Twitter.
People also forget RSS feeds play a major role in online retail and affiliate programs. For example, you can get an RSS feed of all the latest Amazon products to place on your site. Many major online companies now have these product feeds to help promote and sell their wares.
XML and RSS have blended so seamlessly into many browsers and operating systems most users are blissfully unaware they’re even using RSS. Maybe that’s how things should be; with RSS, the ever-present workhorse, quietly doing its job behind the scenes.
RSS is just as important now as it was five years ago – actually its influence and presence has only grown stronger over the years. If you have not fully embraced RSS and placed it on your site and in your online marketing you’re missing out on one of the best opportunities to spread your message on the web.
RSS is here to stay and even has its own advisory board to help with the technical and programming side of RSS. They also list a very handy “RSS Best Practices Profile” for any webmaster wishing to create their own XML-based RSS documents. http://www.rssboard.org/
Why should you use RSS?
Well, the list of reasons is quite long but RSS can help you: syndicate your content in real-time, sell your products, build your list, gather fresh content, promote your company and boost that one vital element everyone needs more of on the web – traffic. For those who have taken full advantage of RSS it has delivered in more ways than one for it has truly turned into that Golden Goose with the Midas complex. RSS has simply proven beneficial to those users who have fully embraced it.
Now, you still don’t really need 10 reasons to put RSS on your site, do you?
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