Monday, April 21, 2008

RSS - When "Simple Syndication" ISN'T "Really"







RSS Feeds- Really Simple Syndication

They can put the word “simple” in it, but it doesn’t make it any easier to use. RSS feeds seem to be a mystery to most folks, myself included. But, over the last few months I’ve taught myself how and when to use RSS feeds.

In layman’s terms, RSS feeds are a delivery system, or syndication system. When you have material, such as a blog or news, something that changes often or that is important for you to know about when it does change, you can use RSS to update yourself or others. It is a way to deliver material en masse or to receive material in a concise manner.

Let’s take a look at sending RSS and at receiving RSS.

SENDING

How do I know if I have RSS feed? How do I get RSS feed on my site? How do I tell other people I have it? How do I get them to use it?

All of those are very good questions. I’m so glad you asked! Lol

If you have a blog or newsletter you want people to read it, right? So, many of you create ways to get people to sign up for your blog or newsletter, like contests or exclusives that people get only if they “sign up”. Then, you have to maintain that database of users, hope they don’t turn you in for SPAM and send out information to all of those people when you have something you want to share with them. It is you SENDING to them the information you create and want them to have. RSS allows people to collect your data without you having to do anything more than create your content. People can subscribe, just as they subscribe to a newspaper. So, when you have something new on your blog or newsletter, RSS sends that update to people who subscribed to your content. You never have to lift a finger. Technology does it all for you.

I strongly suggest that you hire someone who already knows how to make RSS feeds, validate them and promote them. You can find more information here- http://www.extralabs.net/articles/create-rss.htm.

Most blogs have RSS feeds already. For example, if you have a MySpace blog you have RSS feed. How do you find it?
Go to your MySpace blog and click on one of your articles there.








Look toward the top and to the right. You will see “rss” listed there. Click on that.


You will see your articles listed. There will be a couple of places where you can find your RSS URL feed for this.

You can find it in your browser from this page. Copy and paste the URL that’s in your browser.
Or- Look to the right of that page where it says you can view the properties. Click on that and it should bring up a box that gives you an “address” of the feed. That is what you need in order to send your feed out into the universe.

I put my RSS feed into my AOL page. See below that I just copied and pasted that URL into the box asking for the “Feed URL”. I filled in a title and chose to see the headlines and a synopsis of the articles that will appear.



Click “Save” and your MySpace Blog articles are now on your AOL.


You can send your feeds anywhere RSS feeds are accepted.

Give your feed URL out in your emails or if you send out newsletters give it out there. Make sure it is easy to find that URL so people can take it and use it themselves. This will let others see every time you send out new information.





RECEIVING

When you receive RSS feed you are collecting content. You don’t have time to go all over the place looking at every blog or newsletter. You want to just skim through the headlines or the headlines and synopsis, to determine whether or not you should read the whole article. Instead of going here and there, you bring it all to you. You can do that with Google Reader or AOL or any number of RSS aggregators.

For example, on AOL I put up a few RSS feeds to sites that I want to watch to see if they have new business information of interest. On Reader’s Entertainment TV you can go on the homepage, then on the genre channels and you’ll find that I utilized RSS feeds of other people’s blogs to help make my site more interesting an engaging.

The great thing about it is that, once I place that RSS feed into my reader or onto my site, I don’t have to do anything else. Now, I get new content all the time without ME having to DO anything! It is all done for me automatically.

You can put RSS feed on your website so people can easily see what you’re saying on your blog. You can put up RSS feed from USA Today books, NY Times bestsellers or any other relevant news or blog in order to keep fresh content on your own blog or site. It looks like you do something with your site or blog every day because the content is fresh, but really you’re only to blog once a week or every other week. The RSS keeps it fresh for you.

There’s more to know of course and here is a wonderful resource for you-
http://betabloggerfordummies.blogspot.com/

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FEEDS

You should know that if your RSS feed didn’t work for some reason it could be an incompatible feed. There are different kinds. Three’s RSS 1.0 and 2.0 and then there’s ATOM which is another type of feed altogether.

I had a client who wasn’t able to get their RSS feed to work on their Amazon Connect account. But, it would work on their Blogger account. So we cheated. We send her MySpace blog to her Blogger account using RSS feed. Every time she blogged on MySpace it went automatically to her Blogger account. From there we used the Blogger RSS feed on her Amazon Connect account, which took the Blogger feed easily. Now, she would blog on MySpace, which was forwarded to Blogger, which then forwarded to Amazon. You can just keep forwarding on and on and on.

WHERE CAN I SYNDICATE MY FEED?

If you want to syndicate your feed, to let people know it is there, to move it into more places, you need to take the time to set it all up first. It will take time and effort, but once you’re done, you will get your message out to more people with less effort than ever before. Instead of blogging on MySpace, then on Blogger, then on to the next site, you will blog one time and it will go out to different locations.

MySpace to Blogger to Amazon works great. Here is a site that has a list of places where you can submit your RSS feed- http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm

Here is more information that can help you to market your blog-
http://weblogs.about.com/od/marketingablog/Marketing_Your_Blog_to_Increase_Traffic_and_Your_Earning_Potential.htm

You want to set yourself up so that you can get the greatest syndication with the littlest effort. Save your writing time for your novels.









1 comment:

Heather Hiestand said...

Very helpful. Thank you!