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RSS Feeds May Be The Ultimate Growth Hormone For Cash Cows

Aug 17, 2007
RSS, also known as rich site summary or real simply syndication, arrived on the scene a number of years ago, but was only recently embraced by webmasters as a means to effectively syndicate content. RSS Feeds provide webmasters and content providers an opportunity to present concise content summaries to prospective readers. Thousands of commercial web sites and blogs now publish content summaries in an RSS feed. Each item in the feed typically contains a headline, article summary and link back to the online article.

So, how does the Webmaster benefit? As the web has become more crowded webmasters have been striving to provide fresh, up-to-the-minute content for their website visitors. Many webmasters have discovered that they can easily exploit the information in RSS feeds to provide fresh web content.

RSS feeds are composed in XML, which is a very simple markup language. Similar to HTML, XML uses tags to identify fields. Webmasters can easily parse the RSS feed and dynamically create web pages that contain headlines and summaries. The feeds will constantly update, supplying a steady stream of automatically generated fresh content.

RSS allows webmasters to:

1. Provide new and pertinent content on their website, which encourages users to return.
2. Continually changing content means that search engine spiders will visit more frequently.
3. Automate content delivery.

The benefits of RSS feeds are not limited to webmasters, though. Surfers also benefit from the technology as well.

And how do the web surfers benefit? The beauty of RSS is that readers can quickly scan headlines (titles) and read articles of interest. Since the information is condensed and presented in a single location, users can normally review more information in a shorter period of time. Additional information is only a click away. Better still, readers choose the feeds they wish to see. There is no spam with RSS. If you are not absolutely thrilled with the content appearing in a feed, simply remove it from the newsreader. The technology is known as pull technology rather than push technology, meaning the content is not forced on the consumers, who pull the content they want to see.

RSS allows for users to:

1. Easily locate information.
2. Read condensed information or 'snippets' with clearly marked and dated subject matter.
3. Catalog and classify information in an easy to navigate manner.
4. Make best use of their time without having to deal with spam.

RSS feeds can be viewed in a news aggregator or reader, which constantly updates and shows unread feeds. I found the functionality of the newsreaders to be comparable to a simple email client. Consumers generally enter the URL of any RSS feeds that interest them. Topics with a universal theme can be segregated into associated groups.

How do you find topic specific, relevant feeds? In order to find feeds that provide niche information you can use any one of the many news search engines that index information contained within RSS feeds. Searches for topic specific feeds can be conducted and feeds can be retrieved for syndication.

What is the benefit to the content developer? While the benefits to users and webmasters are clear, the distribution opportunities made available to content developers should not be ignored. Information contained in the RSS feed can be easily syndicated, increasing content distribution and reach.

RSS allows for content developers to:

1. Augment exposure in niche markets.
2. Communicate with user bases and contact potential customers via an alternate communication technique.
3. Distribute relevant information.
4. Define themselves as an industry expert.
5. Automate content delivery.

RSS has effectively standardized the format for content delivery and has effectively defined the accepted standard for content distribution and syndication. RSS will likely rival email as a means of content distribution in another few years. The shear simplicity makes the technology very alluring.

The distribution potential, while admittedly difficult to determine, is still attractive to all parties making it probable that RSS popularity will only continue to grow.
About the Author
Don Resh is CEO of WebForce, Inc. A more detailed bio is available at:

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