Keep Your Site Current, Your Visitors Up to Date and
Your Name Before Prospects Looking To Hire You
Feeds come in several formats – RSS (remote site syndication), XML, Atom and other links to news relevant to your viewership – the people who visit your site in search of the latest news.
And there are plenty of great reasons to post and broadcast feeds:
- The software to collect feeds (aggregator), reader and broadcaster are free and free is always good.
- You’re the editor. You choose which feeds to gather, which feeds to display on your web site and which features you’ll broadcast, spreading the attraction of your site far across the web.
- Feeds can be delivered by way of a web portal site, via an RSS reader (free, and built into newer browsers so users don’t have to download a separate feed reader) and email. This means that your latest news feed can be accessed by anyone with a pulse.
- If your feeds are brilliantly constructed and professionally designed, you can create a subscriber list. Some feeds charge a small subscription fee. Others only want the visitor to opt in. Cool. You get the email address and the opt-in gets your daily thoughts on…on whatever.
- You can package your feeds to display on any digital communications device including cell phones, PDAs, laptops, desk tops – you can broadcast your words and podcast your podcasts any time, anywhere. That puts you in control.
Whether you’re a site owner or web surfer, RSS feeds enable you to
gather information of interest one time for display on your site, or
for your own education. These icons indicate a site, a section
of a site, a blog, podcast or other digitally-formatted data that can be
broadcast by you (just add the icon to the piece so other RSS
gatherers know its useable).
Who Benefits from Feeds?
Everyone, once you have the software set up and configured. Here’s how the site players all gain from your feeds.
You gain by eliminating the need for a publisher – an entity willing to put your words out there. The traditional publishing model, popular since Johan Guttenburg created moveable type, is dead. You don’t have to submit your article to 20 periodicals and suffer through those rejection notices.
You don’t have to truck your treatise on hyperspace travel from one publisher to another and you certainly don’t need an agent. (Talk about a dying profession!). You decide what gets published and what doesn’t. Writers will quickly start coming to you to see if you’ll carry their latest blog post and syndicate through your feed.
You gain again. Once you start broadcasting your own content, you start to build a following. Readers like what you write. Podders like what you say. Broadcasting your own RSS feeds makes you an instant authority – especially if what your writing is accurate and on topic.
Your visitors gain. They gain time, they become more productive and best of all, they come back everyday to see what’s new in your site’s newsroom. This kind of site stickiness is invaluable. Instead of searching 10 or 12 sites for the latest in stock analysis, a trader can simply log on to your financial news section and discover dozens of feeds from around the world.
Yes, this cuts down on web ambling, but when you need it fast, RSS delivers it like yesterday. Your visitors can amble about when there’s time. Speed and conveneince – that’s what RSS feeders want.
Advertisers gain. Advertising your message via feed simplifies distribution of the message and eleiminates many of the challenegs of traditional online marketing channels. Advertisers that use feeds don’t have to sneak past spam filters (everyone’s got one), they don’t have to worry about delayed distribution, especially critical when the item or sevice is time-sensitive.
Search engine page rank is no longer a concern. Used to be the higher the PR, the more the site owner could charge for advertising space on his or her website. With advertising delivered via feed, you get the same exposure to the same demographic – free.
So Who Uses RSS Feeds?
The better question is who doesn’t? Virtually every 24-hour news channel – CNN, MSNBC and Fox all broadcast by way of a feed. This allows viewers to get the latest news while riding home on the bus.
Other feed broadcasters include USATODAY.com, CNET.com, Yahoo and Google. Visit Google News for everything from the latest American Idol losers to the weather out where the folks live. And what’s great is you pick the news you want to read or hear in whatever order you choose.
How Do I Broadcast My Feeds?
First, it helps to have something to say or see. Otherwise, no one is going to pick you up except your mom – and chances are she won’t understand what you’ve done!
It doesn’t matter the format – HTML web site, audio and/or video content (pod and webcasts), a blog and even pictures of the newest member of the family. Whatever the format, you can create a feed and send it to the world or just the family.
There are lots of free blogging software available. Basic feedware is free. If you want to soup up the looks of your feeds, you can purchase feed software at reasonable prices – especially when compared to your ROI on the software.
Some of the more popular publishing tools include Blogger, TypePad and Wordpress. These software packs publish your feed automatically. Simply type in your words of wisdom, click the “SEND” button and you’ve just gone global.
Another way to get your ideas out there for the world to share is through non-blogging social sites like Flickr and FaceBook. These social sharing sites are adding RSS technology to enable their members to broadcast anything – from their latest tune, rant, screed, picture or lesson. There are also tools to convert older, traditional content to make it feed-worthy. That’s good if you have a substantial site archive loaded with good information that just happens to be in a .wps format.
Does This Mean the End of Search Engines?
The fact is, feeds won’t eliminate the need for search engines but it will change the purpose of Google, Yahoo and Inktomi. Right now, in the early stages of RSS aggregation and broadcast, most web users still rely on search engines to find what they’re looking for. But that’s going to change thanks to RSS feeds.
Here’s why. RSS is totally interdependent of search engine rankings. Many RSS users are setting aside their browsers to use feed readers to deliver all the news of interest to that site visitor. So, instead of the web surfer searching high and low for the latest in hobby news, in 30 minutes that same, one-time Google-user can collect RSS feeds on topics of interest and skip using a browser altogether.
This may explain why Google is doing double-time to, not only be the web’s address book, but a major content provider, as well. It could also explain the $1.8 billion price tag for YouTube. Google is a cash machine but now it needs content to keep up with RSS technology.
So, if you don’t bring the news to your site visitors, they may or may not be back. And, if you don’t broadcast your own feeds, you’re missing the best marketing opportunity since AdWords.
Go RSS. Become your own publisher, make your site convenient for repeat visitors and stop worrying about your site’s PR. With RSS, page rank has no value any longer. Simply broadcast your advert and your done.
So, no matter how you use this interactive technology – as a reader or broadcaster, RSS is changing the face of the web. And, if your site isn’t in the RSS race, that site will out of business before you reach the finish line.