Using RSS Feeds to promote your website

Posted 12 April 2009 under Promoting Your Website

What is an RSS Feed

An RSS feed is a file that lists items (eg. news articles) in a standard format.

RSS means "Really Simple Syndication" (but is also referred to as "Rich Site Summary").
Websites "Feed" off RSS files to display content automatically - multiple websites can be updated with the new content simultaneously.

Who Uses RSS Feeds?

Internet users like you! People subscribe to RSS feeds, which display news or latest content from the feed in their RSS Reader of choice. If you use Firefox, click on the orange icon in the address bar. If you use Internet Explorer 7 or later, click on the orange icon next to the Homepage icon. The latest version of Windows also allows you to subscribe to feeds and have them displayed on your desktop. Other examples are listed at the end of this article.

Websites looking for fresh content use RSS feeds to 'parse' new content on their own web pages. The website benefits by giving its visitors fresh content, and the owner of the RSS feed benefits by getting extra exposure on the website, as well as by getting valuable links to his own website which can, over time, count towards improving his rankings in search engines.

What are the Benefits of offering an RSS Feed?

For some, offering an RSS feed may be a good alternative to setting up a newsletter and mailing list. The visitor / reader does not need to share their email address with you, and you get to save time by not having to spend time on a newsletter or mailing list. 
If you share useful, quality content that people enjoy reading, other websites may decide to "feed off" your content so that they can offer their visitors useful content. 
You can also submit your RSS feed to websites such as Syndic8 and 2RSS. Visitors can search and browse these websites similar to a search engine. The content is derived from RSS feeds that have been submitted by website and blog owners.

Ideas for your website's RSS feed

The most popular use for an RSS feed is syndicating content from a blog or news section, there are many other types of content that can be shared, here are just a few ideas: 

  • Latest products
  • Newsletter
  • Specials
  • Listings from a business directory 
  • Latest projects or items from a portfolio
  • Careers or job listings
  • Video & photo galleries
  • Events or Workshops
  •  Downloads
  • Propert Listings
  • Tour packages

How to start your own RSS Feed

  1. First of all, your website should be dynamic and database-driven, meaning that you use a content management system to add, update and manage content on your website.
  2.  Decide what content you want to provide. You can offer more than one RSS feed, so if you were a tour operator, for example, you could offer one feed for your latest travel specials, and another for travel blog.
  3. Make the feed available by integrating it into your website and linking to the feed from various sources such as RSS directories or even your email signature.

Will my website have an RSS Feed?

If you opt for a dynamic, database driven website, and you have decided that you have content you would like to offer in an RSS feed, Eiledon Solutions will integrate the feed into the front end of your website and use it as tool for promoting the website after going live.

Related Links:

RSSReader: An example Desktop RSS Reader 
Syndic8: A directory of RSS feeds

Example RSS Feeds in action:
Latest news from SAEP
SA Kids On The Go! Newsletters
Latest listings on Cape Place 2 Stay

blog comments powered by Disqus

Let's get started.

Enter your details below or call us on 079 881 7804 to discuss your needs.