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You hear so much talk about RSS these days on the Internet and in the media. Everyone is acknowledging it's importance in boosting your site's presence on the web. Not to mention how it can increase your site's traffic and ranking. But what exactly is RSS and how can I actually use it on my site? Try these Five Easy Ways...
First, just what is RSS?
RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication'. Basically, RSS allows you to directly deliver your content to all interested parties... don't come to us; we will deliver the information to you or your website.
It syndicates your content. It lets you send updated headlines and brief summaries to your subscribers. In a nutshell; it's simply a more efficient way to get your content 'out there'.
Many people associate RSS with Blogs or Blogging because Blogs are usually written in XML or RSS format (code like html) so that these headlines and postings can be easily read and accessed.
RSS has been around for awhile but it really didn't catch on when users had to use RSS readers or aggregators but with the increasing popularity of MyYahoo, the Firefox Browser and Blogging...RSS is becoming: more popular, more accessible and more mainstream.
That's great --you say-- but just how do I put the stuff on my site!
If you're wondering how to actually use RSS and Benefit from it -- Try these Five Easy Ways...
1. How do I Get My OWN RSS Feed?
First, you need to get an RSS Feed for your site. There are several ways to do this. Let's just stick with the easiest. You can use a site like www.blogger.com and start a Blog on your site's topic or any topic that interests you.
Creating a blog with sites like Blogger (owned by Google) or Bloglines (recently acquired by Ask Jeeves) is quick, fast, and painless. Within minutes you can have your own blog up and running.
This Blog will also supply you with an RSS Feed that you can place on your site. Get a XML or RSS orange button and place it on your site. Link it to your RSS Feed url - this is your atom.xml link if you're using Blogger.
You can also use a MyYahoo button so visitors can add your feed to their MyYahoo. Each time a subscriber opens their MyYahoo site; your RSS Feed will be updated.
You can also add 'MyMsn' and 'Bloglines' buttons on your site. Plus others, give your visitors every opportunity to subscribe to your RSS Feed or Blog, and you will see a marked increase in visitors to your site.
Of course, you can also get your own blogging software and install it on your site. For those who want to choose this route, it might be helpful to check out this comprehensive comparison of the different blogging software here: http://www.asymptomatic.net/blogbreakdown.htm
2. How Do I Place Other RSS Feeds On My Site?
Have a cool RSS Feed from your favorite site and you want to place that Feed's content on your own site. How is it done?
It's a lot easier than you think!
There are several ways, but we'll again stick with the easiest way. If you just want to place headlines on your site - try a free service like www.feedburner.com and you will get a headline animator. This will display the RSS feed's headlines with links to the content.
If you want to place other content from a feed on your site - one of the easiest ways I found is to use this free site: www.bigbold.com/rssdigest/
Just take this code and add it your webpages where you want this content to go.
3. How do I place MSN Search Results Directly on My Site?
MSN has come out with their Beta Program using RSS in their search. You can now place RSS search results directly onto your website. It can enrich your site with daily updated content.
And it's quite simple to use; just add "&format=rss" at the end of the URL in your MSN search engine query. For example, to get an RSS Feed for 'tsunami relief' you would use this url: http://beta.search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=tsunami+relief&format=rss
4. How do I place Yahoo Results on my site?
In Yahoo the URL would be slightly different:
Of course, in both cases you can change 'tsunami+relief' with the keyword or phrase of your choice to suit your website's content.
Yahoo also has an RSS Search Directory here: http://news.yahoo.com/rss
5. What are Tags? How can I use them on my site?
Tags are more or less keywords for blogs and you should take advantage of them to bring targeted traffic to your site or blog.
Tags have hit the radar lately because Technorati, which indexes 4.5 million blogs, started sorting blog posts by using tags.
They have created a folksonomy, drawing tags from different sources, mainly Flickr.com which sorts or groups pictures and from del.icio.us -- where you create a tag when you bookmark a page.
Or if your blogging software supports categories; this will be recognized by Technorati as a tag.
If you want to create a 'tag' it's very simple; just place this code in your blog:
Computers (remove asterisks in actual code)
and you will have created a tag for computers.
You have just discovered five easy ways to put RSS on your website, but you have to implement this newly acquired information in order to see any results. You don't have to try all five --- just pick a few and put them on your site. Just take action and do it.
It's fairly easy, and you will see the benefits of RSS almost immediately. You will also see what all the fuss is about!
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