Home » Uncategorized » Clueless Series: What is RSS and Why Do I Need It?

Clueless Series: What is RSS and Why Do I Need It?

This icon, known as the "feed icon" ...

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Technology is a strange creature indeed.

Remember when email first reared its innocent head? Those of us who were Luddites became horrified by the idea that someone could shoot a message through tiny wires to us. Annoyance came. We denied.  We even shunned it.

Fast forward to now, how many people have email? Billions, perhaps. Then the internet came and blogging followed. The next wave of technology. Again, we opposed to this. We stormed the gates of Castle Al Gore demanding him to stop with all of this nonsense.

Fast forward, almost everyone is on the Internet and even your dog has a blog name (he is just keeping it under wraps until you are sleeping). Now with blogging, there is a little technology that I need to share with you that you have seen and may or may not know what this is. Plus, this can help your readers as well.

What the Chicklet?!

Whenever you go to a blog, you may have seen that itty bitty orange button with a white dot followed by waves which is called a Chicklet. Have you seen those (psst…I placed this at the beginning of the post…don’t tell anybody)?

Now, if you press that, you will be given a Wal-mart gift card and a car-wash coupon! Kidding…actually the little button connects to the technology called RSS.

RSS stands for Reuben Sandwich Supreme…sigh, hunger again. RSS actually stands for stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. Now don’t get nervous, I promise this will be easy to understand more than trying to understand canning squirrels underwater while wearing a tutu. Don’t ask.

RSS Is Like a Magazine Subscription Only Better

When I use to get magazine subscriptions, I would wait and wait until the next sizzling issue would come with anticipation (never mind if the magazine was Sesame Street…that’s not the point). While the magazine subscriptions may or may not be going the way of 8-track cassettes, you can compare RSS to a magazine subscription

Here is the defintion the next part of RSS which is RSS Feeds:

What are feeds? I see “RSS”, “XML”, and “Atom” out there, but I don’t know how I might use these links when I find them.

Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

How to help your readers subscribe more

Every major blog platform has RSS Feeds and you would need to find out how to place a RSS chicklet on your site. This will allow your readers to easily subscribe to your blog feeds and they can read your blog via a feed reader.

Easy is the word of the day.

By offering a RSS Feed button, this will prevent your busy readers from having to come to your site to find out if you have new posts. They can use their browsers (Firefox has an automatic feed reader) to subscribe to your feed and they will notify you when you post new material.

In a nutcase, RSS Feeds can help you as a blogger to get more subscribers because you are providing them more ways to subscribe to your blog’s content without them having to go to your site to check for updates.

The next step is to remember K.I.S.S. system – Keep It Simple Silly.

Make your RSS feed button big and the first part of your blog to invite subscription and a note such as “Subscribe here.” Darren Rowse of Problogger suggests: Link an article on RSS Feeds and why to use them to help your readers in the process. You could even link this one if you like (cough, cough, hint, hint).

I hope this explain the puzzling technology of RSS and the technology is actually easier than line dancing in K-Mart (yes, I did witness this at where I live).

If you want more info, I have included links on RSS below including a video for all of you who are visual learners like me.

How about you?

Do you have RSS Feed Subscriptions set up for your blog? Are you giving subscribing love to your readers and making the process easy for them?



14 thoughts on “Clueless Series: What is RSS and Why Do I Need It?

  1. Good tip. I’m always frustrated if a blog doesn’t have a RSS feed. I’m lazy. I like having all that good new content delivered into one place (my feed reader) instead of typing in a URL every time (which I’ll never remember). Plus, this way I always get notified if there’s something new.

    I’m now a RSS convert. I didn’t get what feeds were for for a long while. 🙂

  2. I luv RSS feeds. They make life easier. I feel like I was living under a rock until I discovered them through a tech-savvy friend. *sighs*

    Mine is a black chicklet; I have no control over this at the moment. But that’s okay because black is classy, slick, and sophisticated, which is kind of what I was going for.

    Oh wait, I take that back: it’s a dark grey. Meh, close enough.

  3. RSS is really a great way to aggregate all of your content into one place.

    The chicklets thing is so funny. Back in 2005, blogs would have literally dozens and dozens of tiny chicklets in its sidebar. It was like collecting medals.

    I’m glad technology has simplified things.

    • Hey Jay…yes, instead of wasting time by typing in web addys (addresses), you can just pop over to your feed reader and press the ‘easy’ button and you’re done.

      LOL @ your chicklet comment…they are catchy little buggers, aren’t they?

  4. Yeah, I don’t really use a feed reader… though maybe I should give it a shot. Nothing against technology (I generally love technology)… but I guess I don’t have much trouble clicking links just to check a site, and I like reading in the original greek, so to speak.

    That’s why I’ve got a list of links a mile long on my blog (which, if I had time, I’d pare that down and shunt it to a separate page). Basically, I use my own blog as a place to store links to all the blogs that I read regularly.

    • I know…I had to get rid of my Luddite ways and embrace RSS readers too. I am leaning more towards Good Noows.com. Google has too many privacy issues that concern me. 🙂

  5. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

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