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 Blogging, Blogs & RSS Resources > How and Why to Create an RSS Feed?

How and Why to Create an RSS Feed?

By Alice Seba
December, 2004

This week a subscriber wrote to me and asked: “What does RSS mean? I am a total newbie in webs and sites.”

It seems everyone is talking about RSS and I thought maybe the topic had been discussed enough already, but obviously not. A lot of my subscribers and message board members keep asking what RSS is, so I think it's really worth a second, third or fourth look. And if you think you know what RSS, but don't really so how it benefits you or think it's just for blogs -- please stay and read this. It is very important to you. So let's start with the basics.

By now, you may know that I am not a techy, by any stretch of the word. And for a long time, I tried to ignore things like RSS -- but I realized that I could NOT ignore this powerful tool any longer. I certainly don't claim to know it all -- my non-techy brain still shuts down when things get a bit too complicated -- but this means that if I can understand enough to use RSS, so can you. Let's get some definitions out of the way:

RSS Stands for: "Really Simple Syndication". You have probably seen websites and blogs with RSS feeds before. Typically, you’ll see an orange box with “XML” or something like that. This is an RSS feed.

What RSS means to you, as a website owner: There are a whole host of benefits of gaining a basic understanding of RSS. And really, to use it, you only need the right tools and to understand it a little. You don't have to be a programmer to use RSS. Trust me! Here's what it can do:

1. Other website owners can easily display your content. As your content updates, it will update on the websites displaying your RSS feed. This means its easy for other people to show your content on their websites AND they promote you FOR F R E E at the same time.

Let's be serious, people come to the Internet to first and foremost get information. Content, in the form of articles or other useful information, is and always will be queen. Sure you want to sell products, but if you just have your shopping cart up and hope to sell....you have a lot of hard work ahead of you. Content is what establishes you as an expert; makes your website sticky (people will come back over and over again -- and they'll tell their friends all about you); can bring you tremendous traffic through search engines and serves as a pre-selling point for your products.

And to make it perfectly plain, content is THE reason this website receives in excess of 80,000 visitors each and every month. Never underestimate the power of content.

You can use this free RSS Scraper Tool to make an RSS feed from your HTML pages. The instructions are pretty straightforward and I was able to create a feed in minutes.

2. Search engines are able to read RSS feeds, so if you want search engines to be able to follow the links to your website and this can be very beneficial to you in getting your pages indexed and in terms of link reputation.

3. Individuals can also subscribe to your feeds and read them from their desktop feed reader --- and you'll see this becoming even more popular in the future. It's actually how I follow along with other people's blogs, new stories and my personal stuff like trashy entertainment news and gossip. :)

You can get a free reader at FeedReader or try a f r e e trial of Feed Demon. Feed Demon is the reader I use and it's got tons of great features that I use every single day to keep up to date.

4. And just as someone can display your content on their website, you can easily display the content from other websites to provide even more fresh information to your visitors.

You can use this RSS Syndicator to easily add other people's RSS feeds to your website. Just scroll down the page a bit to "RSS Syndicator".

I've just scratched the surface and I hope it's a good introduction to why RSS is important and how you can get started using it. If you look at my blog at aliceseba.com or on the message boards at http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/bb/, you'll see I've created RSS feeds here. These feeds are a huge source of extra and "effortless" traffic every single day.

As I write this article, I've just finished reading Paul Short's RSS Exposed course and I tell you, I'm ready to take it to the next level. Paul's guide really shows you how to laser-target your feeds for maximum exposure; getting people to read your feeds...all the time and getting great search engine traffic. But don't worry -- it's totally beginner-friendly. He takes you step-by-step through setting up your feeds and shows you how to distribute your feeds effectively.

So, here my RSS journey continues and I hope you'll join me. I'll be working on feeds of my email newsletter; new articles and I'll be adding tons of search engine friendly content from other people's feeds. 80,000 visitors per month is just not enough. ;)

____________________

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