Andy Wendt – Fun Technology

It's Not About Paris Hilton

RSS FTW

RSS Feeds For The WinIn case you are Paris Hilton, or one of her close friends, and have been out partying non stop for the last ten years you may be confused by the above subject line. However to be fair there is a possibility that you have been in the Artic Cirlce studying the effects of global warming and  not had much spare time to stay up on your web technology.

So if you fall into the second category above then thanks very much for your hard work. If you fall into the first category then you may want to consider a career in Artic research. But either way to play it safe we will start at the beginning.

And from the beginning this article is about a little web gadget called an RSS feed. Also before I forget “FTW” is a common chat abbreviation meaning “For The Win”.

So anyway, earlier this year something really good happened. Something that has the potential to change the way Small and Medium Business (SMB’s) communicate with their customer base. For the rumored price of $100 million dollars Google bought a little known company called FeedBurner.
 
This little thing called an RSS feed has been around since 1999 but with the Google acquisition of FeedBuner it’s oh so much better. Although there are several valid meanings for the RSS acronym the most common, and useful for this discussion, is Really Simple Syndication.
 
The purpose of an RSS feed is to summarize the content of a web publication or web feed. In some cases the RSS feed could actually contain the entire content of the original story depending on how it is set up. Just so we don’t get lost on terminology a web feed could be anything that gets published on the web, be it in a blog, a website, a podcast, etc. Or in other words an RSS feed is another way to share and announce data on the web. In an earlier post I referred to the RSS feed as the new “Newscast for the SMB”

SMB’s can take advantage of this new way to share data in several ways:

An RSS feed allows even the smallest SMB to have the largest of audiences if they have good content to publish.

The basic RSS service is free, and aside from the time and effort to write marketing material which has to be done regardless of the medium of distribution, the potential cost savings over the traditional printed materials marketing approach is astronomical.

RSS information is disseminated around the world almost immediately. Once “out there” your material will reside on the web almost indefinitely.

RSS feeds if based on well written content and distributed properly can bring increased traffic to your website.

RSS feed reader can more easily stay on top of current market trends. This could give the RSS user an edge over a competitor who waits for the market news from the slower traditional media outlets.

So if this sounds good to you so far, and you are telling yourself you will give this a try once it becomes more common, then hold on because you will not believe how common it already is.

RSS readers are now built in to Windows Vista and many RSS goodies can be found in Windows Live.

RSS headline animators, such as this RSS Animator for a Nationwide Rental Company, that summarize and link to your latest content can easily be placed on your website for no charge.

RSS feeds are indexed and distributed automatically by Google every day to thousands of e-mail accounts eager to read news about a particular industry.

RSS feeds are monitored and displayed in search results on Google News.

RSS feeds from your Blog or Web site can be generated automatically with free software from FeedBurner.

So if you have been putting off implementing an RSS feed for your SMB I would say you should be running out of excuses by now. If you are still looking for excuses there is always some research to do in the Artic Circle.

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November 7, 2007 Posted by | Technology News | , , | Leave a comment