RSS or 'Really Simple Syndication' is not just for Blogs and News sites. Every website can benefit from this newly popular technology. The term 'syndication' is what throws a lot of people off the track. Syndication is like news articles, isn't it?
Well it can be. But think of it like this. If you had a bricks-and-mortar store and decided to carry a new product line, how would you let people know? You could advertise of course, but a better and free alternative is to send a news release to the local paper. Their business section may carry your announcement free of charge.
Now back to our cyber-store in virtual space. If you add a new web page, or make substantial changes to existing pages, how do you let your customers (both former and future) know? You can email your former customers, but spam blocking software will prevent half of them from getting your message. And keeping track of mailing lists, unsubscribe requests and address changes is nothing short of a nightmare.
Instead, post a news release using RSS. Interested customers will have their newsreader programs watching for your announcements, and will get the news as soon as you send it out. The announcement will include a link to the new or changed page, and your customer can click on it if they are interested. True, fewer will click through than might read an email from you -- but those who do will arrive at your site in a much more receptive frame of mind. And those email readers still need to click through to your site to see your new page anyhow.
If you make frequent additions or changes to your site you should have your own RSS feed. Check out these sites to learn how to make your own feed:
Making An RSS Feed
How To Get Your Web Site Content Syndicated
Or you might want to try these programs to format your information, so you can post it to your website:
ListGarden RSS Feed Generator Program
Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux, open source
Create RSS Feed file on-line to copy and post to your site.
But what if you don't often make changes or additions to your site? There is a new site that offers a solution to that problem. Shared RSS provides feed by TOPIC rather than publisher. So you simply post your message in the appropriate topic category (there are thousands to choose from) and share your feed with others publishing on the same topic. It is a free service that you certainly should use if you do not publish your own feed.
Wouldn't that mean (I can hear someone object) that I would be sharing a feed with my competition? Well yes, but that isn't a bad thing. It's like all those antique stores that congregate in the same part of town -- shoppers flock there and wander store to store, to the benefit of all.
Don't kid yourself, customers already know about your competition. For every customer of yours who visits their sites because they found an RSS link on your site, you will receive one, two or three visits from potential customers who found your information on an RSS link they discovered on your competitors site, or in a catalog of RSS feeds. The benefit far outweighs the risk.
And RSS feeds are not just for business. If other sites submit to the shared feed they will bring with them more people interested in that topic, who may become your future customers.
No, RSS is not just for Blogs anymore! Start your own or submit to a shared feed, either way you can only benefit.
The following article may be freely reprinted in digital formats or print, so long as the 'about the author' box is left intact. If placed online or in a medium supporting live links, the links should be activated.
About The Author
Andrew J. Morris is the owner and creator of SharedRSS -- a website that allows all website owners to syndicate their newly added material for FREE. http://www.sharedrss.com/