RSS - Really Simple Syndication

RSS- What is it?

First, let’s discuss syndication. In the off line world, I always thought of the comic strips or a particular feature writer in the newspaper such as Ann Landers. The comic or article was developed and for a fee was syndicated to any newspaper that wanted to carry it. It would appear simultaneously in many newspapers across the country.

On the Net, most of the syndication that I know of does not cost anything. Most sites or companies that supply “feed” for syndication do so for free because they are looking for the exposure from the information and advertising that is carried in the feed.

When you go to the home page on Yahoo, Google, or MSN, you will see news, weather, sports, etc. displayed on the page. This information is coming from a feed from other websites and will automatically update on the home page without the owner of that page having to do anything.

What do you need to read RSS? Simple answer …… You need an RSS reader. The easiest way to get one is to subscribe to “My Yahoo”. Sign in on your “My Yahoo” page and it contains a reader for you to use. There are many other free RSS readers available.

If you look at the top left of the Retirement Jobs Online (“RJO”) home page, you will see several icons. One is orange with XML RSS on it, one says “Add to Yahoo”, one says “My MSN”, and the last one (right now) says “Add to Google”. These are all links to establish an RSS feed to the RJO website. When a change is made to the RJO site, anyone who has established a feed to RJO will see the notice of the change appear in their reader.

OK you say. What is all the big fuss about really simple syndication? Just stop and think about what this can do for you as a surfer on the Net. If you have particular sites that you check regularly for information, you have to spend time looking through the sites to see if new info has been posted.

If you set up an RSS feed from that site to your “My Yahoo” or any other reader that you choose (and there are hundreds of them) you do not waste time having to look for changes, you are notified when a change takes place by the feed and you can click right to it. As we say in Texas, “That is slicker than cow slobber”. I challenge you to find anything that is slicker than the slobber of a cow.

RSS is used extensively by bloggers to monitor blogs for new posts.

Now, on the flip side, if you have a website or a blog and you publish information like Linda and I do on this website, establishing a feed will put your publication on the feeds on the Net so it can be picked up by additional people and these contacts will possibly become subscribers. This is a way to build additional traffic and it is free. Anyone who has a website or a blog or publishes a newsletter should establish an RSS feed.

Establishing a feed is not difficult if you are maintaining your own site or blog. If you use Blogger (www.blogger.com), it has automatic feed. If you use Site Build It, it creates the RSS feed for you automatically when you make changes to your website.

In conclusion, really simple syndication should be an important consideration in your Internet publishing plans.

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