Answering No.1 The Question About RSS - Why Should I Care?
Author: Andrew Henry
Website: http://www.pheedcentral.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Picture:http://www.moneyandmotivation.com/images/Ah.jpg
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Answering No.1 The Question About RSS - Why Should I Care?
There is an obvious need in marketplace for a common sense, non-techie guide to what RSS is and how you can use it to enhance your online presence.
A Since there are still many website owners who are unclear as to why they should care about RSS, I thought I'd take time to outline things they care about.
Once you get started with RSS you'll probably quickly realize potential it can have to help you in many areas that you hadn't previously realized.
Before we get stuck in, let's just make it perfectly clear again that this is designed to help widest possible audience by reducing technical content so that anyone can improve their business by understanding how RSS can help, and how to implement RSS in most appropriate way for them.
There are many sources of information on RSS that go way into technicalities of it, but we'll leave that aside for now and just show you how to take action to implement RSS and implications that will have.
Once you know How to use RSS you'll probably start looking for Where to submit your feeds (sometimes called 'pheeds') and find other feeds. To this end I've created www.pheedcentral.com for you to locate a vast amount of places you'll first start to look for. This should give you enough resources to keep you busy and productive for quite a while.
What is RSS?
RSS is most commonly used as an acronym for Really Simple Syndication (there are various other definitions such as Rich Site Syndication, Rich Site Summary and more, but they all refer to same process) and in its simplest form is just a way of displaying information that is available from a remote location.
The most widely used application of RSS is to share website content from a central repository to multiple sites. This is way that a lot of news information is now shared online.
The information is shared in several formats, ranging from complete content to summarized information with links to full content. Sharing in this way allows site that is republishing to choose way that fits their purpose and some content providers go so far as to even provide different color options of feed they provide.
So Is RSS For Me?
The question of whether RSS is likely to be useful to you will almost certainly be answered by one word... Yes.
So, who could use RSS?:-
1) Webmasters who are required to provide regularly updated content on particular topics which their website is aimed at. As most savvy webmasters will be aware, there are many reasons for wanting fresh new content for visitors of your site. These reasons can range from wanting a 'sticky' factor that will keep people returning to site for updated information, to fact that search engine robots will tend to return more often if a website has pages that are regularly updated.
2) Website owners who want to manage content of their own websites without having to individually modify each page requiring an update. In this instance it's possible to use RSS to save you a lot of work by producing centralized information files which use RSS supply in information to external sites (controlled by same person) simultaneously. If you are familiar with Server Side Includes (SSI) you'll appreciate power of this (don't worry that is as Techie as we'll go).
3) Website owners who have content which will be of interest to other webmasters who don't have time to try and reproduce same excellent information that is already being provided. In this case, site owner will use RSS to make their content available to anyone with an RSS Reader, those sites will then display original content when page is loaded by using RSS Reader to call up information each time. This way, when information changes, page reflects new information without person republishing having to change anything.
When syndicating content to lots of external sites, bandwidth usage can become an issue for content provider (we'll talk about how to avoid that later)
There are other methods of syndicating website content but RSS is set to become most effective and widely adopted so we won't waste your time describing alternatives. We'll go into more detail on why RSS is going to become more widely adopted in later chapters.
4) How To Create An RSS Feed Now that you know why you could use RSS we'll cover how to get started and create your own feed. (Feed is term used to describe a syndicated content channel using RSS)
As we've discussed, 3 most likely things you'll probably want to do are:
A) Use an RSS Reader to display another websites content on your own site.
B) Provide content of your own to other sites that you control,
C) Create an RSS feed of your own content for other sites to use (with their reader)
Here are basics for each of instances above:-
A) Using RSS to display information from other content providers on your own site is easiest thing you can do with RSS. These Readers, or Aggregators as they're also called, are readily available and you'll find that we've already created a list of most popular at www.pheedcentral.com so you can take a look and pick one you like look of. In most cases there is no charge to use these readers and they're very straightforward to configure.
B) To make content available to several of your own sites, you obviously need to have a main file somewhere that contains information you want to make available to your other sites. This file will be located on your server and enable other sites to display your information feed/channel.
Another benefit of syndicating content to your own sites (and to other peoples sites) is that if content is related to theme of sites you're feeding it to (which it should be if you're to add value by supplying it) then search engines will also see that you have regularly updated information themed to your own site content and this will help when it comes to search engines deciding where to rank your pages in displayed results.