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Sunday, 19 August 2018

What's RSS and How Can It Help You

RSS
RSS is a very important tool that lets you easily syndicate the content on your website to readers all over the world. It can help you drive visitors to your website, increase ad revenue, expand your website's reach, and move to the top of the search engines.

First of all, what is RSS? RSS was developed in 1997, and originally stood as an acronym for Rich Site Summary, although it is now known as Really Simple Syndication. It is coded in XML format, and allows you to publish the information on your website in a format that usually includes a headline, a short description of the article, and then a link to the article on your website.

There are a few formats in which your RSS feed can be published. People who use an RSS reader can subscribe to your feed through a software program on their computer. They will be notified when there is a new article, and they can read the headline and a short description, and then they can click the link to your site to read the rest. This can also be done online, and is supported on websites such as My Yahoo, Google, MSN, and AOL, just to name a few. Anybody with a website can also publish your content, by using a RSS feed aggregator. An aggregator can be in the format of PHP, or Javascript, which are just two of the most popular. Then the headline and short description will be display on the website, and then their visitors will click through onto your website.

RSS is coded in XML format. This is the type of coding that it is done in. But do not worry, you do not need to be familiar with XML in order to publish an RSS feed. You simply need to look at a template, and then base your own off of it. On XML.com there is a sample RSS feed which you can use: http://www.xml.com/pub/a/2002/12/18/dive-into-xml.html.

So now once you have your RSS feed created, you will need to promote it. The easiest way is through your website. You've probably seen little orange buttons that say RSS or XML on them, and then if you click on them you get a page filled with code. The code that you see is the XML of an RSS feed. You can use these buttons on your website to link to your RSS feed. There are also other buttons that can be used to automatically add your RSS feed to websites such as My Yahoo, Google, etc. You can find most of these buttons at this website: http://www.twistermc.com/shake/RSS-index.php. You can search the web to find out how to properly link these graphics to sites such as My Yahoo.

While linking to your feed off of your website will get your regular visitors to subscribe to your feed, you will not be able to reach out to a larger audience and help people find your website that otherwise wouldn't have. A great way to reach out to larger audiences is by submitting your feed to RSS directories. There are many RSS directories on the web where people can add their feed for free, and then people looking for them can find them quickly and easily. You can search for "RSS directory" on Google, and manually submit to each individual directory, which will work but can be very tedious. There is a program that I use, however, called RSS Feeds Submit. It will automatically submit your feed to over 80 directories and RSS search engines. It costs $29.95, but if you feel that you can afford it, I'd recommend it to you. Click here to go to their website.

RSS is great, but how can it help you in the search engines? While it would usually take weeks and weeks to get indexed and crawled by Yahoo, there is a secret using RSS that can get you indexed in under 48 hours. It is actually quite simple to do. You must have a Yahoo account, which you probably already have. Sign in, and go to my.yahoo.com. Once you see the My Yahoo page, find and click on "Add Content" right under the search box. Once you are on the next page, find and click on "Add RSS by URL." Then type in the URL directly to your RSS feed, so it should probably end in .xml. A page should come up confirming that it was added, and previewing what it looks like. This will add your site to the top of Yahoo's spider's queue. Every time that you update your RSS feed, you should ping Yahoo to let them know that is has been updated, and then they will recrawl it. You can ping Yahoo by typing the following address into your address bar, replacing URL-TO-YOUR-FEED to the URL you used to add the feed originally: http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping?u=URL-TO-YOUR-FEED. From my own experience, I have learned that frequently updating your feed and pinging Yahoo will result in your site moving up in the rankings.

Now you know the wonderful ways that RSS can benefit your website. I wish you the best of luck in implementing RSS into your website, and hope that you are successful.