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It seems like everyone is talking about RSS Feeds. They've been around for years but the buzz is up about them as the technology continues to go mainstream. Some people are reportedly abandoning their browsers and viewing the web through their readers - but they hardly represent the general public yet.
So does your site need one?
This question is somewhat like asking if your site needs a newsletter. Sure, the sky won't fall tomorrow if you don't get one today, but once you realize the benefits of having a news feed for your site, and try it for yourself, you may become an addict like the rest of us.
Reason #1: More free traffic to your site
I'm not exaggerating when I say that a frequently updated feed can bring you massive amounts of traffic in a short time period. This won't be true forever.
Here's a snapshot in PDF format, of just the feed-originating traffic to a new page of my site for the first 24 hours it opened.
Not exactly a stampede, but here's the good part.
On the fourth day, the feed traffic doubled, and all other traffic continued to rise at the same rate.
That's my fifth active feed of the twenty I have spread out over four sites, and I get similar results each time. In thirty days, that would be at least 5,000 new targeted visitors - again, this is not counting my present traffic, or those who try my feed and stay subscribed, nor does it factor in what happens when the traffic doubles again..
I can't promise you the exact same results, no one can. But you should know that my feed is targeted towards a crowed market - if you know how to set up your feed properly and correctly apply your keyword research, you could have better results..
Those visitors, from the first hour of traffic to today, resulted just from submitting my feed to the list of directories I compiled from many sources and studied. Some bring great free traffic to new feeds, some are better for once your feed has matured.
You can often get better placement in feed directories and in Yahoo's RSS Directory than you could from your results in a regular search engine, and often, inclusion is instant.
Reason #2: It's a hands-off way to update your audience
What if you could run your newsletter without the hassles of maintaining your list, removing bounced addresses, finding new subscribers, formatting the content you find, altering your content to keep from being blacklisted, and after all that, wondering if all the various blockers mistakenly kept your message from getting through?
If that sounds like heaven, you can be one of the angels as soon as an hour from now.
When you supplement your current newsletter with more frequent updates via feed, you will be able to push out updates to subscribers to your news channel or feed more frequently and more efficiently.
With all the new free tools available, even if you're all thumbs when it comes to making a web page, if you can fill out a form, you can create a feed.
Reason #3: Get visitors to click through to your site whenever you update
If you haven't used a feed reader before, you might be confused about the connection between the feed and your site and why it can result in an increase in traffic. I'll attempt to explain this to you in words, but I suggest downloading a news aggregator (also known as a feed reader), and looking at the results of your favorite site's feed through a reader after you read this for the full effect..
You can use my main feed here if you don't have one to view:
If you don't want to have another application up while you're surfing, you can try Pluck , a free application you can use for more than just feeds that integrates with Internet Explorer - get it at http://freetrafficdirectory.com/pluck - it will take you right to the downloads page.
You can also do this from My Yahoo!, by changing your page to include their RSS Headlines console, still in Beta testing at http://my.yahoo.com.
To summarize, a visitor sees the headlines they want to read, view the summary, and click through to your site to read the rest of the news, either in a new window, or without having to leave the application they are in.
And when you update again, the reader will notify them that you have new headlines, and/or populate the list of items you have available. This can keep your audience coming back.
If you had trouble following that, come to this page for a one minute tutorial: http://www.freetrafficdirectory.com/members/postt95.html
Reason #4: Recycle old content.
If you have a list of your older articles, some older product reviews, site suggestions, or archived newsletters, you can use those to build content to populate your feed with information. As long as this news is still relevant, you can recycle this content to attract new visitors
Reason #5: Its so easy it's crazy not to do it.
Before the last few months, there weren't as many free tools online that made the process of starting and publicizing a feed so effective and user-friendly.
The bottom line is, now that you can get all those benefits from filling out a form, saving the file, uploading to your server, promoting it once, and updating it from time to time, it's insane not to do so.
You already have to update your site from time to time. You might as well get all the benefits of having a news feed too.
Copyright © 2004 Tinu AbayomiPaul
About The Author
Tinu currently wanted by Secret Hoarders of America for spilling free traffic tips: http://www.freetrafficdirectory.com/blog