RSS – What is it? How Do I Use It?

RSS Feeds  What are they? How can I use them in my business?

In this day and age, internet and mobile technology play a big role in everyday life. This is especially true for those of us who constantly search for new and efficient ways to disseminate information to our network of friends, customers and clients. Aside from the usual web tactics, RSS feeds make this possible.

What are RSS Feeds?

RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”) is a group of standardised data formats for news and headlines, blogs, audio and video. It is identified by name or symbols like this: rss

These formats, also known as “feeds,” allow publishers to publish content automatically via web, desktop and mobile RSS readers. Once published then content can be easily and automatically accessed by groups or individuals.

RSS also allows those who are interested to subscribe to the feeds that they like. These feeds are then delivered automatically to your RSS reader. There are stand alone RSS Readers but they are now built into the main email programs like Outlook, Netscape and Apple Mail.

The main benefit of using RSS to access the content that you like is that it is aggregated for you in one place – you do not need to visit a heap of websites to view the content that you like.

How can I use RSS in my business?

RSS is usually integrated as one of the basic functions of a website. It helps fuel traffic. And although it isn’t the only function that can generate traffic for your site, reaching as many people and getting them to subscribe to your feeds is one of the top ways to produce buzz and increase your site’s ranking and authority on the web. At the same time, you can connect and gather related info from people who think the same as you.

RSS feeds help spread the word about anything – for free. And it is for this reason, that a business owner—especially one who has taken his business online—should take advantage of it. Compared to sending emails or regular newsletters to clients or customers, RSS feeds are more effective as they are customized and specific. RSS subscription ensures that people get a hold of feeds that are only of their interest.

For businesses, RSS feeds are efficient forms of promotion and marketing that works in two ways. Aside from being a quick-share tool by supplying credible content to your subscribers on their computers and mobile phones in seconds, it also helps when business owners subscribe to or exchange feeds and gather info from related sites.
How do I subscribe to RSS feeds?

To subscribe to an RSS feed, you should have two things—an RSS reader and the URL of the feed’s website you wish to subscribe to.

RSS readers also known as “news aggregators” are free to download and easy to use. Almost all sites with RSS feeds offer links to where you can get one. But you can also choose to use a free web-based reader like Google Reader, My Yahoo or My MSN that features feeds that you’ve subscribed to in your browser’s homepage.

As mentioned above, most mail programs also include RSS Reader capabilities. There are plenty of RSS Reader apps for your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry or Android smartphone as well.

After downloading an RSS Reader, click on “Add RSS Feed” and copy the URL of the RSS then paste and add it into your reader. RSS readers allow users to customize the frequency of updates for feeds—daily, weekly or monthly.

Alternatively you can just click on the RSS icon on the blog or website that you would like to follow.

In summary, RSS feeds are truly effective info-sharing tools for businesses that will thrive and continue to find opportunities in the Internet era. They are also great tools for keeping up to date with blogs and websites that you are interested in.

The RSS Feed URL for this blog is

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