If you’re spending a lot of time online, you may be noticing a lot of websites with links to RSS feeds, and you may not be certain what these are. If you’re looking for current information or if you want to provide information, you may be missing out on a great tool.
There are a couple opinions as to what RSS stands for, but basically what you need to know is that it allows the content from a website to be syndicated. For visitors, this makes it easier to keep up with what is happening on a website; for webmasters it provides one more way to keep in contact with your visitors.
Even if you are not familiar with RSS you might have used it already. Yahoo, MSN and Google all have pages you can personalize to include information that is of interest to you. RSS is how this is generally done. With each of these services there are items they have listed that you can easily add as well as a way for you to select an RSS feed so that exactly the things you are interested in appear on your page.
One of the most common uses is in blogs. The feed is a very popular way to encourage people to come back and visit regularly, as they are automatically notified of new content.
Some websites are also using RSS as a supplement to email newsletters. RSS has the advantage for the user that it is easy to subscribe or unsubscribe to, and there is no spam. For the website owner, RSS ensures that their messages do not fall prey to spam filters or spam complaints.
Subscribing to an RSS feed is very easy if you have a My Yahoo, My MSN or a personalized Google homepage. Some sites have buttons you just click; other times you need to get the URL of the RSS feed, then find where you add content to your pages and put in the URL.
You might also choose to use a feed reader on your computer. There are free and paid versions; a quick search on your favorite search engine should find one that is suitable to your needs.
If you have a website and want to take advantage of RSS, there are several possibilities. One is, of course, the aforementioned blog. Content management systems such as Joomla also provide you with an RSS feed for people to subscribe to. You can also create an RSS feed on your own, although that requires more effort.
RSS is tremendously helpful in making content more accessible. A well planned RSS feed benefits both webmasters and visitors. Choose a way that is easy for you to subscribe to RSS feeds and let the information come to you.
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