7 Dec, 2008 in RSS, SEO Tools by

Using RSS to Promote Your Website

You have the website, the product, and compelling content to attract readers to purchase your book, your CD, or whatever items you choose to sell

You may notice a surge in traffic as you build your site and employ various search engine optimization tactics, but are not wholly satisfied.

You know you can attract more visitors if you could just reach them

You have a weblog attached to your site, and you write wonderful articles which receive much praise

What else is there to do?

Have you considered syndicating your content and products to users with an RSS feed? Do you even know what RSS is?

Simply defined, RSS is an XML-based format

XML, for the novice, stands for Xtreme Markup Language, a special coding language that represents information for resources in the World Wide Web

Using the XML, one can permit the distribution, or syndication, of content to users who collect such data through specialized aggregators, or readers

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and once you get used to the idea it really can be simple

By creating an RSS “feed” (think of a news ticker on a cable network, providing up-to-date information in real time), one can distribute product content, articles, pictures, and even embedded video, audio, and links

This information is used to entice users to click through to the host site

RSS allows a person’s computer to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists that person is interested in can be tracked and personalized for them

RSS differs from a traditional website in that the information is usually presented elsewhere

Say for example an Internet user has a personalize start page with My Yahoo! On this start page is information on various sports teams so the user can keep track of the playoffs

Yahoo allows the user to edit what information is displayed so only the information the user wants is visible

The user may aggregate information from various sports websites that offer RSS data, and place it on the Yahoo page

When the user visits his start up page, he will see headlines from the many sports websites fed into the page

If there is a headline that appeals to the user, a click on the link will direct him to the site

Think of RSS feeds as puzzle pieces, brought together to create custom designs for Web users all over the world

Sites that allow for the opportunity to generate updated, fresh content can benefit from offering an RSS feed

Whether you sell products or services, want to promote a new book or film, an RSS feed attached to your site can extend your site’s reach and increase traffic

Having an RSS feed attached to a site also allows for the opportunity to submit to RSS specific search engines, thereby increasing awareness of the site

As you research RSS, you may find there are feeds for just about every subject of conversation, from sports to movies, multi-cultural issues to religion

Shopping sites use RSS to advertise sales, while travel site promote discount airfares for frequent flyers

There is no limit to what you can promote with RSS

Creating an RSS Feed

Now that you have decided to promote yourself and your products with RSS, it is time to create a feed and attract the traffic you want

Creating a feed is different from creating website

Though there is content involved, you do not need to worry much about presentation and design, as different RSS readers tend to presently only the text and links associated with the feed content

If you are unfamiliar with hand-coding XML, it would be best to create your RSS through either special software or through a third-party website that creates and hosts feeds

A quick Internet search on “RSS builders” and “RSS host sites” will lead you in the right direction

If you have a weblog with a third-party host, you may note that this content is already being syndicated

If so, you may want to consider changing the focus of your blog to better sell your products, or create a second feed for better sale emphasis

Once you have decided on the method of production, it’s time to produce!

Writing RSS content can be likened to ad copy

You want to use attention-getting headlines that will entice readers to click through to your site

As some RSS readers display only the headline rather than an abstract of the content, you want to be concise and compelling

“Save now on special purchase,” “Buy one, get one free!” Make the reader want to click to read more

Depending upon the RSS aggregator, the reader will immediately click-through to your site, or be taken to your RSS content

Either way, it is important that all clicks eventually lead to the point of sale

Keep RSS posts short and direct

Tempt the reader to click through to your site to learn more about buying your book, CD, or product

Link to the sale page rather than the home page so a reader won’t become frustrated with having to navigate your entire site

Hot link a photo of the item using the IMG tag to give your feed an attractive look

If you use an RSS software or third party site, you may be able to use such coding, be sure to check

Promoting with an RSS Feed

As search engines become more adept at collecting information, they are devising new ways to get this data

Some engines, like Google, have special spiders that mine the Internet solely for RSS-based information

If you want your RSS feed to be found, whether you host it on your site as an RSS or XML file, or host through a third party website, you will need to have the URL of the feed on your front page so people can subscribe to it

Clicking on the link will not open the feed like a website, but depending upon the browser being used to view the feed it may take the user to an option that allows him to save your feed’s information

A quick Internet search on RSS tutorials will give you a special code you can put on your site to alert spiders to your feed, too

Also, there do exist RSS search engine where you can submit your feed for inclusion

The one advantage to having an RSS feed is that what content you provide remains available to users who find it during search

To improve the likelihood of traffic increases, add to your RSS feed regularly, advertising all news and specials related to your books, music, or services

Your ability to prove Internet savvy can attract a new audience to your site, and in turn improve your sales

– Ciniva Web Agency

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