January 21, 2007
RSS Feeds. Why you need em’
What is an RSS feed?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Do you ever watch the news and see headlines ticker by along the bottom of the screen. Those news headlines are being “fed” into the station’s master control…well, RSS are actual feeds.
Now a better explanation from Wikipedia:
RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts.
Users of RSS content use programs called feed ‘readers’ or ‘aggregators‘: the user ‘subscribes’ to a feed by supplying to their reader a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user’s subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user.
Why you should be using feeds:
I use Google Reader to be automatically fed headlines from news, employment, trades, and just about any sites that are frequently updated. It saves having to fill your Favorites or Bookmarks…and the time to scroll through them to find a site to visit, just to find that nothing has been added since your last visit. If you visit or host a blog then feeds are a must too.
On that point, if you do host a blog, you better be sure to provide a feed service so that your visitors can be updated when you have posted something new. It just makes sense.
If you have a podcast you HAVE to have feeds set up, or nobody will ever know you have produced a new episode (aside from the chance they may visit your web site).
Questions about feeds? Still scratching your head? Let me know.
Now don’t forget to subscribe to this blog :-)
Eddie had a great point (see comments). To set up your own feed go to www.feedburner.com
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.