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RSS is totally hot. We have seen it everywhere, from John-Doe blogsites to major news websites. If you haven't heard of RSS before, that's okay, because I hadn't either until a couple of months ago!
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, or whatever you want it to stand for. (I have seen it also stand for RDF Site Summary, but it really doesn't matter.) What's important is what it does.
Here's how RSS works:
Every site that has constantly changing content has one big problem: How do you notify your visitors when you've posted new content without them having to scour your entire site every 30 mins? You could send them an email, but that has several drawbacks.
First, you might not get your messages through the spam filters. Filters are snatching more and more messages, and just to keep up anymore you have to run all your content through rating systems just to find the likelyhood of it getting blocked. What a pain in the neck!
Second, people are so hesitant to give out their closely guarded email address. I know I guard my email address with my life. How can your visitors trust you if they just clicked to your site? You could be an underground spam operation for all they care.
This is where RSS is awesome!
Instead of sending an email, you can have your website generate what's called an RSS Feed. An RSS Feed is nothing more than a webpage with a bunch of summaries of the new content on it. Next time you see that little orange icon with XML or RSS, click on it and you'll see what I mean. The summaries are formatted in such a way that an RSS Reader can sort them out and display them neatly.
There are tons of free RSS Readers now, so if you don't have one, do a simple Google search for RSS Reader and you should have no trouble finding one.
All the visitor has to do is copy the little orange RSS icon link and paste it into their RSS Reader program. The RSS program will periodically download the RSS webpage and will display the new headlines much like your email program will display your subject lines. If you like one of the headlines, you can click on it and it will display a short description and a link to the entire article. If you want to read more, click the link and it will display the actual full article on the website.
Here's why this is killer:
You can now be notified of the new content or headlines posted to all your favorite websites without having to do very much work! Imagine putting twenty RSS Feeds into your reader and having it download all the content in a matter of seconds instead of having to surf to each site individually!
If you ask me, RSS is here to stay. All the major sites support it like CNN, ESPN, Yahoo and Google, so that surely is a good sign! So go on and fire up Google and get yourself an RSS Reader. You will be glad you did...I sure was!
Feel free to reprint this article so long as you include the resource box listed with the article.
Kent Thompson is the creator of FeedMagic, a full-featured sequential autoresponder program that allows your subscribers to choose between Email or a personalized RSS Feed for delivery. To find out how you can use the power of RSS for your website, click here: http://FeedMagic.com
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