What is RSS?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication.

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What RSS Is Being Used for:

  • Company News
  • Latest Headlines
  • Newsletters or Ezines
  • Product Updates
  • Special Announcements
  • Job Adverts
  • Press Releases
  • Marketing Communications
  • Service Upgrades
  • E-courses
  • Weblogs

There are many possibilities!

RSS as a publishing standard has been rapidly growing and is being widely adapted by most of the web publishers today.

Using RSS, publishers can easily make their content syndicated and thus drive more targeted traffic to their site or weblog.

Well-known Companies Using RSS

  • Yahoo!
  • Amazon
  • Forbes
  • MSN
  • BBC
  • CNN
  • CNET

In addition to these huge websites, thousands of small time webmasters and publishers are also making the use of RSS.

Why Publishers Prefer RSS?

  • RSS makes it easy for them to stay connected with their readers, members and clients and build lasting relationships.
  • Making their web content syndicated, allows the publishers to provide regular updates - such as the latest information, new postings, relevant article previews etc through their RSS content.
  • It's a brand new way of generating fresh content, driving targeted traffic and leveraging brand awareness. By publishing content through RSS, publishers can give other websites an opportunity to syndicate and use their content without any effort.
  • Content enabled with RSS can be easily added to desktop or web-based RSS readers available online. Subscribers are able to keep track of their favorite content and get brief details about it.

An RSS file (also known as an RSS Feed or RSS Channel) contains specific headlines, summaries and links, which lead back to the actual content on the webpage.

Why Online Users Are Choosing RSS?

RSS feeds are becoming extremely popular on the web. There are many benefits, which a regular web surfer can have using RSS:

  • RSS provides them an easy way to keep up with the latest updates and grab new information without visiting a large number of websites. They can find everything related to their interest in one single place.
  • People, who are busy, don't have to browse through the whole website and dig up the content they are interested in. They can simply collect RSS feeds of their choice and keep themselves regularly updated.
  • They don't have to give out their email address to subscribe to an RSS feed. Nowadays spam is at its peak and people online are often not ready to give out their email address easily. RSS solves this problem and helps you attract more viable subscribers for your content.

How do people read RSS Feeds?

Since RSS feeds are not viewable in the browser directly, the user requires an online or an offline RSS aggregator or reader to read them.

There are mainly two types of Aggregators available in the market:

Desktop Aggregators & Web-based Aggregators

These readers aggregate RSS Feeds and display brief information about them, allowing users to scan through a list of items with specific descriptions and links.

Common RSS Aggregator Features

  • Checking for updates automatically.
  • Making categories for your favorite feeds.
  • Choosing different feed viewing formats.
  • Combining related feeds in a single view.
  • Saving feeds in a single file so that you don't loose them.

Desktop Aggregators

Desktop aggregators are software, which are to be installed on your computer. You can collect, view and monitor feeds of your choice on your pc itself.

The most commonly used and currently popular desktop aggregators in the market are:

  • FeedDemon (Windows)
  • Netnewswire (Mac)
  • Sharp Reader (Windows)
  • NewsFire (Mac)
  • Rocket Reader (Windows)

Web-based Aggregators

RSS Feeds can also be accessed through your browser with the help of web-based aggregators.

These are online services which track and manage your feeds so that you can view them from anywhere, anytime in your browser itself.

he most commonly used and currently popular web-based aggregators in the market are:

  • Bloglines
  • NewsGator Online
  • Pluck
  • My Yahoo
  • Firefox Live Bookmarks

You can also do a search on Google for RSS Readers to get an exhaustive list of both paid and free desktop aggregators available.

Why should You Make An RSS Feed?

  • If you publish any type of content online then you shouldn't be ignoring the power of syndicating it and reaping the benefits for years to come.
  • Creating your own RSS feeds gives you the freedom to distribute your content directly to the people who are interested in what you offer.
  • Due to the heavy rise in the usage of the RSS technology, content syndication has become a rage these days in the online community (mostly comprising of publishers, webmasters and marketers).
  • The RSS market is expanding with a break-neck speed as more and more publishers and end users join the syndication bandwagon.
  • It's a completely new way of communicating with your clients, customers, prospects, subscribers, team members, associates etc.

However on the other hand, it's still an alien subject to many. Not all publishers have realized how syndicated content can boost their business in many ways. One of the main reasons is the technical setback suffered by the majority of them.

But whether you're a publisher or a marketer, it's crucial that you deliver fresh content to your targeted audience if you want to taste some real success in your online business. And RSS makes this possible.

Relying solely on email to get your content delivered can prove hazardous for your business in the long term and literally choke your ROI (Return On Investment).

RSS Vs. Email

The following reasons clearly explain the fact that business email is slowly losing its charm and its use is declining among marketers as well as publishers:

  • The average open-rate of business email is steadily falling as unsolicited mail becomes more common. The email marketing community has witnessed a staggering drop in the open rate of emails from almost 90% to a mere 20%. It's hard to ignore the fact that a large amount of business email is moved to the junk folder even before it gets opened, let alone read.
  • According to recent studies, about 42% of the email, which you send out to your prospects, either gets blocked or is filtered out to the bulk folder. With popular and widely used email service providers like Hotmail and Yahoo! coming up with new and tested methods to stop spam, it's getting difficult to get your mail to your subscribers' inbox where it's supposed to go.
  • With spam mail flooding mailboxes everywhere, it's very easy to mistake an 'email marketer' for an 'email bomber'. The web has grown so wide and huge in the last couple of years that it's become hard to differentiate between a spammer and a legal email marketer.

While email is a big part of the Internet marketing arena and is one of the easiest ways to distribute your content, it still does not guarantee that your message will get through. And this is exactly what's causing heavy losses in online business and readership.

However, syndicating content through RSS can cut down on all the losses and help anyone regain their readers and customers back.

RSS means a lot more than delivering content. It's not just about distributing your content and having a direct communication with your subscribers. There's much more to it.