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RSS…explained “Really Simply So” you can understand its benefits for your site and your life

If you’re tired of hitting the refresh button to see if anything has changed on your favorite news or blog sites…this may be for you. RSS is like being on the mailing list of your favorite sites (as you may be already) but for every update they make in the areas you deem important not just the ones they think are important to you, and without getting any actual emails.

Whereas most sites have mailing lists for their important updates, news and newly added information, RSS is a constant stream of information…essentially…think of it this way, if you never slept and never left the computer and kept a browser window open for every site you favor and just kept hitting the refresh button every second to see if anything had changed. Well, that would be RSS.

RSS is also much like a Shopping Chart or a Wish List for information. You select your sites, blogs, news sources, etcetera, and which sections of those sites you wish to monitor, and they filter the appropriate information into the web feed page you have set up through Yahoo or AOL or similar services. Then, whenever the mood strikes you, check into your web feed page, and voilà, there you will find all the content that has been sent to you through the magic of RSS. You can start reading the news or blogs, viewing the videos, or listening to the audio files of the sites you have added to your web feed page. However, if there is nothing new that appeals to you, then sign off and check back another time.

The best part about RSS is, as mentioned earlier, that these updates are not being emailed to you. You don’t have to worry about taking up server space or the way that subscription emails get in the way of the important work and personal emails that you must read immediately, not at leisure. RSS allows pleasure reading to be just that – pleasurable.

As for what it means…according to www.wikipedia.org, RSS primarily stands for Really Simple Syndication. Other popular phrases that RSS is used to refer to include Rich Site Summary and RDF Site Summary (RDF = Resource Description Framework). More sites than ever are employing web feed technology to provide users with constant content updates by including an RSS, XML, or Atom link or an orange button to allow users to connect their site to the user’s personalized web feed page. Furthermore, not only are news sites like CNN, The New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, The Guardian providing these links, but also community sites like Meetup.com and Craigslist.

If you have a website and you want to generate user-interest and brand loyalty, RSS is the way to go. First, create a content-driven section on your site. For instance, a daily or weekly column, helpful tips section, or a blog will get and keep readers interested in the community and/or trends that surround your product. Let’s say you sell dental equipment. Well, write weekly articles about the latest advances in dental techniques and equipment. Start a blog about dental health or how a dentist can increase his practice and patient base. Include helpful tips for finding and retaining new patients. Then, provide visitors to your site with an RSS link rather than trying to send them subscription emails, which will clutter up their inbox and ultimately causes them to delete them upon receipt and worst of all, to remember you as the person or company who wastes their email-checking time everyday, not as the company who provides added value to their business. With an RSS feature, they can read the valuable information you have created when they have the time to devote to it and are in the frame of mind to appreciate your precious insights.

As of today, with consumers being as over-marketed to as they are, RSS may very well be the future of electronic-based client relations and though it is passive, when compared to its predecessors, such as direct mailing/emailing, cold calling, or guerilla marketing, it may be more effective than anything else out there.

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