RSS Defined and Demystified!
|by Patricia Brusha
A Humorous look at RSS (Real Simple
Syndication) as A Couple of Chicks tackle the how to and
the why bother of RSS!
A friend of mine called me the other day to tell me that
he thought our site wasn't optimized very well. I said,
"What do you mean? You know it takes awhile for
natural optimization to kick in!" (I mean he is an IT
guy and knows the site hasn't been up that long).
"Well it was really embarrassing," he continued,
"I wanted to show my wife your site and so I searched
for 'two blonde chicks' and all I can say she was not
impressed with what came up!
It made me laugh and I did correct him that we were
"a couple of chicks" that happen to be blonde,
but that blonde was not one of our keywords. The comment
did get me thinking...what do you do while you are waiting
for your site to get optimized and ranked?
Now we all know there is the short term fix of Pay per
Click, which I mentioned before in "So you want to
manage a Pay per Click Campaign," is not as easy as
it sounds. However whether you embark down that road or
not, my partner and I decided it was time to take the leap
and become involved in RSS. Real Simple Syndication or
Rich Site Summary sounds like it should be relatively
simple to understand, I mean simple is the way they
So for the "Chicks" I thought I would take a two
step approach. First we should set our own site set up
with an RSS Feed, and then sign up for RSS on topics of
interest to experience it from a consumer point of view.
My goal was to understand RSS, be able to explain it so
anyone could understand it, become an expert on how it
works to assist our clients in getting their RSS set up,
and to use our Web Analytic tracking tool to measure the
effectiveness and ROI.
First Step: When researching how to set up an RSS feed and
how to assist our clients, my research stated that adding
useful and relevant content to your website is one of the
best ways to increase your search engine visibility and
keep visitors coming back to the site. You need to create
a flow of useful information to keep people coming back to
your site and an RSS Feed is a great way to continually
inform everyone of new content.
My research also told me that having an RSS Feed would
increase my rankings in the search engines because of the
increased visibility would be created through the feeds.
Truthfully I still couldn't figure out quite what and RSS
Being the search specialist that I am, (even though I know
that search results are weighted by numerous factors) I
figured Google would know it was me and help me out. So I
put RSS into the search bar. What I found was so
technically complex, I was beginning to think I had
ventured into an area that was way above this
I uncovered sentences like..." RSS defines an XML
grammar (a set of HTML-like tags) for sharing news. Each
RSS text file contains both static information about your
site, plus dynamic information about your new stories, all
surrounded by matching start and end tags." I had no
idea, and still don't know what that means!
So true to form of any searcher when I did not find a
relevant result, I didn't go past the first page; I
changed my search to... RSS Definition. I was immediately
drawn to a site about a third of the page down that said,
The Coolest RSS Definition: Bill Flitter's a Genius. This
had to be it; excited I clicked through to what I was
confident would clear up any confusion I was having
regarding the meaning of RSS. I closed my eyes as I hit
the mouse to see the answer and this is what appeared...
"RSS is Santa Claus content, delivered to you by the
postal carrier, via your own personal remote control
Okay, am I losing it or what? Does this make sense to
anyone out there? When in doubt, and I can't find what I
am looking for, I surrender to my sure fire search method
of adding "for dummies" to my search. "Rss
for Dummies" turned out to be a breakthrough. I found
a great article by a gentleman named Scoot Hendison who
finally could explain RSS to me in a language I could
When you realize what it is, and how simple it is, you
will be amazed at how unnecessarily complicated an acronym
can make things! In fact, before I reveal the secret, I
can almost bet you have set up an RSS feed and didn't even
know it. I discovered I had personally set up over 6 feeds
and hadn't realized it.
Basically, if you go to whatever home page you have on
your browser like www.yahoo.com
they give you the option of creating "my yahoo".
This is where you can personalize content so that each day
when you log in you can view the latest headlines on any
topic that interests you. It could be travel or marketing
or sports scores or stock information, anything you can
imagine. When you customized your home page there is a tab
that says "add content." It is here that you can
add a URL or a topic and daily, without the stress of
logging into a bunch of sites or having a ton of email
newsletters, the information you want is right there
updated in real time, talking directly to you!
As mentioned I had set up numerous personalized content
feeds on my home page without knowing that I was using RSS.
The content comes from websites that set themselves up
with an RSS feed. Real Simple Syndication can be formatted
to your desktop among other areas, but the easiest source
is your home page, and it is free!
If you enjoy articles like these, and the day to day
discoveries of internet marketing are as entertaining as
they are to me, enter our "Chicks" RSS feed into
your own RSS reader http://rss.coupleofchicks.com/rss.xml.
To read more about how to use RSS from A Couple of Chicks
and if you want to find out and need assistance in setting
up an RSS feed on your site, drop us a line or give us a
call - we now have it all figured out! Now that I feel my
head has cleared and I can finally see what everyone is
talking about....I think I'll look into blogging!
the Author: Patricia Brusha is the co-founder of
"A Couple of Chicks," an Internet Marketing,
Distribution & Revenue Measurement Company. The
"Chicks" specialize in using Creative,
Distribution and Technology to bring clarity to marketing
To find out more about A Couple of Chicks Marketing and
the tools and services available, visit http://www.acoupleofchicks.com
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