What is RSS & why should I use it ?

Yesterday I mentioned in my post about FeedBurner that I would put together something to explain RSS, so here is my take on things. Once you have read it I hope you will know that little bit more about RSS.

What is RSS

RSS is an acronym that stands for Really Simple Syndication. Yes it’s that simple and straight forward. RSS is a means that you can publish a feed from your blog or website. A feed is a fancy list of the latest pages, it can be posts or comments or images, from your site. This feed can be then processed by the likes of FeedBurner to deliver more statistics about your readers.

What can I do with RSS

RSS lends itself well to being read regularly, seeing as it has a list of the latest pages from your website. Visitors are able to to add your feed to a feed reader service, and will be automagically informed when you have new pages for them to read. So RSS is a great tool for getting return readers. These reader services like Google Reader (www.google.com/reader) or NetVibes (www.netVibes.com) make it easy for users to track all their favourite websites on one simple page.

Advantages of RSS

RSS is pretty much a standard out there, and it offers your readers a added service. It gives them an easy way to hear about new articles & images on your website. If you use FeedBurner, you can also show off the number of people you have reading your feed. Here is an image of my FeedBurner box for this site:feedburner stats . As you can see it only has three readers right now. 🙁

Reasons to use RSS

  1. RSS encourages return visitors, and returning users means happy users
  2. Most blogging software comes with the facility to publish an RSS feed, so it’s more than likely already there for you
  3. With the number of blogs increasing every day, a feed service allows readers to stay up to speed with your blog
  4. Bragging rights, when your feed reaches 100 subscribers, you’ll feel you have created quite a community of regular readers.

RSS Icons

The standard icon is square shaped, with a dot in the bottom left corner and two extending arc stemming from that corner. It’s normally orange, but it can be any colour you like. Here is my favourite version.

Feed Icon

To get your hands on the pack to make your own version, you should swing by www.feedicons.com by Matt Brett.

Further Reading

Yesterday I got a nice mention from John Cow in his post about RSS, so I think it would only be fair that I give him a link to his post about “What the Heck is RSS“. John has some more details about RSS.

Don’t forget our Feed

So now you know what a feed is, why not subscribe to the best feed on the net (i.e. our one), just click on that link and you will be give the option to add it to your favourite feed reader.

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