RSS is totally hot. We have seen it
everywhere, from John-Doe blog-sites to major news
websites. If you haven't heard of RSS before, that's okay,
because I hadn't either until a couple of months ago!
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, or whatever you
want it to stand for. I have seen it also stand for RDF
Site Summary, but it really doesn't matter. What's
important is what it does.
Here's how RSS works:
Every site that has constantly changing content has one
big problem: How do you notify your visitors when you've
posted new content without them having to scour your
entire site every 30 minutes? You could send them an
email, but that has several drawbacks.
First, you might not get your messages through the spam
filters. Filters are snatching more and more messages, and
just to keep up anymore you have to run all your content
through rating systems just to find the likelihood of it
getting blocked. What a pain in the neck!
Second, people are so hesitant to give out their closely
guarded email address. I know I guard my email address
with my life. How can your visitors trust you if they just
clicked to your site? You could be an underground spam
operation for all they care.
This is where RSS is awesome!
Instead of sending an email, you can have your website
generate what's called an RSS Feed. An RSS Feed is nothing
more than a web page with a bunch of summaries of the new
content on it. Next time you see that little orange icon
with XML or RSS, click on it and you'll see what I mean.
The summaries are formatted in such a way that an RSS
Reader can sort them out and display them neatly.
There are tons of free RSS Readers now, so if you don't
have one, do a simple Google search for RSS Reader and you
should have no trouble finding one.
All the visitor has to do is copy the little orange RSS
icon link and paste it into their RSS Reader program. The
RSS program will periodically download the RSS web page
and will display the new headlines much like your email
program will display your subject lines. If you like one
of the headlines, you can click on it and it will display
a short description and a link to the entire article. If
you want to read more, click the link and it will display
the actual full article on the website.
Here's why this is killer:
You can now be notified of the new content or headlines
posted to all your favorite websites without having to do
very much work! Imagine putting twenty RSS Feeds into your
reader and having it download all the content in a matter
of seconds instead of having to surf to each site
If you ask me, RSS is here to stay. All the major sites
support it like CNN, ESPN, Yahoo and Google, so that
surely is a good sign! So go on and fire up Google and get
yourself an RSS Reader. You will be glad you did...I sure