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As RSS news syndication gains popularity among users, new ways for publishing RSS are emerging. In this article, I examine the three most popular methods, and help you decide which one works best for you.
Weblogs, or blogs, as they are commonly called, are the primary reason RSS gained popularity. In fact, one of the earliest uses for RSS was for bloggers to monitor other blogs for updates.
Most blogging systems will produce RSS newsfeeds automatically. All you need to do is enter content, and the blogging software will build a newsfeed based on the information you enter. No extra work is needed. Just add content to your blog, and you have a newsfeed.
But there is one major disadvantage to using a blog for publishing RSS: you do not have complete control of the RSS output. Most blogging software will simply take an excerpt of your blog entry (eg, the first 15 words), and use that to create your RSS item. As you can imagine, this can lead to problems. The first 15 words of a blog entry don't always capture the essence of that article.
2. RSS Publishing Software
Because of the inadequacy of blogs as a reliable and accurate RSS tool, new stand- alone software was developed. This software has one purpose: to provide the user with an easy way to create and publish RSS newsfeeds from their desktops. No longer do you have to write a long article in your blog to produce RSS feeds. All you have to do is enter a title for your news item, and (optionally) a couple sentences to describe that headline - and your feed is better than the blog-produced feed.
Examples of RSS publishing software for Windows include FeedforAll (http:// www.feedforall.com) and Newzalert Composer (http://www.castlesoftware.biz/ NewzAlertComposer.htm). Mac users have their own tool in Orangebox for Macintosh (http://www.globalsyndication.com/orangebox-for-macintosh).
3. Online RSS Publishing Systems
While subscribers to feeds generated by RSS software enjoyed the simplicity and clarity of the new feeds, some publishers began to run into problems that came with the publishing software. They missed the convenience of blogging's online publishing that allowed them to add news -- regardless of whether they were at their home computer.
News publishers wanted the accessibility of online blogging with the accuracy of RSS publishing software. The new demand lead to the emergence of online RSS publishing systems such as FeedServer RSS Hosting (http:// www.globalsyndication.com/rss-hosting). This new format of RSS publishing allows webmasters to login to an online control panel and publish their news - without having to worry about restrictive software licenses. Since most online RSS publishing systems run on a subscription basis, you can make use of the free trial or subscribe for one month and evaluate if the service meets your needs.
So which system should you use to publish RSS? It depends on your needs. If most of your readers manually visit your site to get new information, a blogging system may be sufficient. However, if you plan to take advantage of the full capabilities of RSS news syndication, you would do well to use a stand-alone RSS publishing system. RSS publishing software will satisfy your needs if you plan to use one computer only. But if you're looking for flexibility and a lower startup costs, look into the new online RSS publishing systems.
Josiah Mackenzie is an entrepreneur and small business owner. His website (http://www.josiahmackenzie.com) contains fresh tips and advice for business and internet marketing.
Josiah also manages marketing for Global Syndication (http://www.globalsyndication.com), an RSS solutions company.
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