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Sunday, August 3, 2008 

RSS and Your Business

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Commonly known as web feeds or RSS feeds, RSS is like a newspaper delivery man who delivers your papers every morning. It is the format used when you want to spread news and other content on the web.

When content is created from a single source and distributed to many places, it is called syndication. Example: An author writes an article, and this article is printed in several newspapers. The benefit of syndication is that you get a wide audience for your content. In the World Wide Web, you create content for your website; with an RSS feed, you can distribute it to other websites that publish similar content.

RSS feeds are fast replacing email in content delivery in that it is anonymous. Email inboxes are flooded with spam on a daily basis, and spam filters are getting more stringent. The percentage of actual, useful email being delivered is going down rapidly. People no longer give out their email addresses as they are tired of receiving junk mail. Subscriptions to RSS feeds do not require any email addresses and have a 100% delivery rate. If the feed content is no longer useful to the user they can, with a single click, unsubscribe.

RSS Feeds are excellent ways of syndicating news content. However, web feeds can be used to distribute almost any content on your website (or blog). E.g. Press releases, new articles, new updates on your site, etc. etc.

For businesses, feeds keep an audience constantly updated. There are so many websites offering information that users might not visit your website every day. If your website has regular updates, having an RSS feed of your news will ensure that your audience receives it as it goes right into their feed reader. Your feeds, when distributed to multiple sites, could come to the attention of people who are looking for specific topics or items. If they use a feed reader, your feed could be delivered right to their desktop.

For example, free classifieds sites like Ablewise.com, which is a highly popular advertising site, has its own ad-feeds that users can place on their websites. The ad-feeds can be placed easily on any site via a beautiful RSS widget interface. Placing the widget on your site will not only give more value to your visitors (like placing some pet ads on your pet site), it will also earn you an attractive income since you will be getting commissions from Ablewise for every sale you make. It is akin to killing two birds with one stone.

However, do take note that if your website is rather complex, with additional security features like firewalls, adding a feed may take some technical knowledge.

Dean currently works in an IT firm, and writes short articles when the bug bites him.


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