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An Introduction to RSS


RSS is an information management technology that is used all over the Internet these days for keeping track of website updates, news feeds and marketing purposes. It stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. An RSS feed is a way of keeping track of updates on various websites and provides brief summaries of these updates or articles so the user can quickly decide if they want to read more without having to browse through an entire web page. An RSS feed is also typically a link to the page concerned.

RSS helps to give you the latest updates straight to a customizable home page or the Windows Vista Sidebar amongst a variety of other locations. It also helps to save a great deal of time for the web viewer since they will be able to read a brief summary. An example is the news gadget in the Windows Vista sidebar which gives a number of links containing brief news summaries that when clicked on, direct the user to the full news article on the Internet.

There are many advantages of RSS. Another is that it helps to minimize the amount of emails you get if you want to keep in touch with news sites and keep track of updates on your favourite websites. Instead of subscribing to email newsletters, for example, you can have an RSS feed for the website concerned (if that website supports RSS) on your homepage or elsewhere. Additionally, the risk of spam is lower since RSS has no connection to your email and does not require it, so you can be sure that your email address won’t be sent to numerous other sites so that they can send you unwanted emails. There is also no commitment on the part of the web user with regards to RSS.

RSS also functions as an effective marketing tool since it can be used to display the latest updates about products that your website might be selling. This way, advertising becomes more specifically targeted to the right people. There are, however, some disadvantages of using RSS feeds. They cannot contain any images or other data, only plain text. Also, RSS feeds to not display the address that they redirect to which can be confusing for some users. There is also no way for the publisher to track how many people are viewing their RSS feeds. Lastly, there are still a majority of sites that do not yet support RSS since it is quite a new technology.

To start using RSS, you will need an RSS feed and an RSS reader. The latter can be a downloadable programme or, more commonly, a web based application such as those used on Google’s personalised homepage. For most casual Internet users, these web-based RSS readers are perfectly sufficient, but there are far more complex and customizable options out there, such as downloadable software that may even require payment to use.

To begin with, you need to copy and past the code from an RSS-supporting website and paste it into the RSS reader you have. Once you have done this, you will be able to see all the RSS feeds coming from that website.

RSS originated from Netscape and was originally designed to allow for a fully customizable homepage which caters to the specific needs of the individual. The technology eventually evolved into a powerful online marketing tool which is both easy to use and costs nothing for the online marketer. Because of RSS feeds, marketing is more specifically targeted rather than many other methods which have a hit-and-hope type nature.

As the Internet is constantly evolving and growing, so are its numerous technologies. RSS is currently a highly recommended and sought after marketing method as well as a helpful resource for obtaining information quickly. Without doubt, RSS technology will improve in the coming years as its popularity rises considerably.

5 Responses to “An Introduction to RSS”
  1. Pearl

    It’s certainly one of the most helpful tools out there.

  2. Dianne

    RSS makes life so much easier. You’ll get exactly what you need and it’s all there in one place.

  3. Outtelevision

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  4. crazytrain

    There’s really a lot to learn about RSS. It’s pretty convenient for you and for your guests. It’s one way for you to really found a solid base of loyal followers.

  5. Pink Dead Nail

    Exactly Dianne! I’m beginning to appreciate the usefulness of RSS. I’m really new to web development and designing and I’m learning a lot about RSS and how to maximize it.

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