How to Use RSS Effectively
How Small Businesses Can Use RSS Effectively
What is RSS?
RSS means "Really Simple Syndication" and was created to make easy access to NEWS that is posted on the internet.
If you intent to publish and advertise an RSS feed from your site, we strongly recommend that you start by making a firm commitment to post new content to your website at least 1 time each week. Schedule it. If you do not provide frequently updtated content for your users, then your RSS feed is useless.
To read RSS, users must have an RSS Reader, which can be installed on their PC or Mac, or operated from the web. There are a number of RSS readers that are distributed free (with upgrade options) and work as plugins to browsers, eliminating the need for someone to download and install them on their local devices.
The functionality of RSS Readers enables a user to get quick access to content that is of particular interst to them without having to navigate the web to get it. Websites that are of special interest to them that provide an RSS Feed to which they can subscribe will automatically be "fed" to their RSS Reader, in a form that is easy for them to access while saving them LOTS of time.
The Blog Connection
RSS has been closely connected and automatically integrated into blogging programs because of the intended nature of a blog. A blog or "web log" as it was often intially referred to, is an interface used to quickly and easily post information (which is typically topical news) for an interested audience of subscribers. RSS is a natural fit for blogs.
Blogs are a Waste of Time for Most Small Businesses
Most small business owners will not realize a reciprocal benefit from the time the commit to creating and maintaing a blog. The nature of their business and geographic reach of their products and services simply don't warrant the use of a blog.
However, while blogs are a waste of time, writing and publishing articles and making news updates are not.
Articles and News Updates
Every business will benefit if they will write and publish articles about their products and services and post them to their websites.
Our website editor or content management system makes it super-easy to write and publish articles. Just create a new basic page, give it a title (rich with keywords spefic to the article) and then add it. Complete the contents for the page, adding an appropriate image or two. Update the page and then drag and drop it into its appropriate home in your website's navigational hierarchy.
Publish It and the Genie Does His Magic!
When you click the publish button, four things happen:
1) Your new page is published to the world wide web.
2) Your other pages are all updated with the links to the new page.
3) Your internal sitemap (usually named sitemap.php) is automatically updated and republished.
4) Your .xml sitemap (sitemap.xlm) is automatically7 updated and republished.
Add a "What's New" Section to Your Home Page
Adding a "What's New" section to your home page in the proper place and updating it frequently is worth the effort. It will help you with search engines because they want to see fresh content. Your most important page on your website is your home page. Updating it frequently with relevant content to your website visitors will help you with search engines.
It will help you with your human visitors, too. Seeing fresh content - something that is new is an tip-off to them that yours is a progressively managed business.
"Kill Three Birds with One Stone!
If you are making very regular updates to your website, you could make a "New's Page" on which to publish this content. That would be acceptable as well. However, if you take the time to do this on your website home page, it will provide a greater return for your time investment.
Creating a News Page to archive your news elements is worth the time, and it is also a brilliant idea to do the same for articles.
Keep intros and links to your most recent 5 or so news items or articles on your home page and add a final link to your News Archives and Aritcles Archives.
The 3 Birds
1) Fresh Food for Search Engines
2) Interesting, Current Content for Human Visitors
3) Automatic Resource for an XML Feed
How to Do it: Step by Step
Step 1: Create the Article or the News Item by adding a new page. Name the page using good keywords. The page title is best when it has 4 or more good, descriptive words - use up to ten if necessary.
Shorten the navigation title to 2-3 words.
Keywords: list your real keywords for the page and separate each keyword or keyword phrase with a comma (,). For the word(s) to be a keyword, it must show up on the page at least 1 time, and it is better if it is used on the page 2 - 3 times per 100 words on the page.
Description: Edit the description tag to make a great description. Be sure that your keywords are in this description. The description tag should be in the form of a grammatically correct sentence. Make sure it is. If you need to, use two to three short sentences.
Remember that you have two places where you use a description: 1) Your Universal Description, and 2) Your Page Description. Try to keep the total of both under 155 characters. So, if you are using the full 55 characters (letters AND spaces) that we suggest you allow for your Universal Description, you've got 100 characters left for your Page Descriptions. However, if 25 characters is all you are using for your Universal Description, you may use 130 characters for your Page Descriptions.
Write the article or news item, sort it for navigation, and publish it.
Step 2: Your home page will have a Page Heading that you gave it when you created the page. That page heading was automatically generated. It will have an "H1" header tag. If this page Title does NOT utilize your most generic keyword phrases for your company, change it now!
Step 3: The first paragraph on your home page should use your universal website title and the individual home page title once. It should be no more than 5-6 sentences long.
Step 4: Follow this initial paragraph with your "What's New" Section, like this:
What's New at My Business Name?
We recommend that you use an "H2" tag for the heading above.
Step 5: Beneath this heading, add a Sub Heading for your newest article:
How to Do Something Wonderful Article
We recommend the use of a "H3" tag for these sub headings.
Step 6: Beneath this heading, write a single, clear sentence describing the new article or news item. Then, follow with a bulleted link to the page where the article is posted. (You should have created the news item or article already in step 1)
Step 7: Add links to your News Archives and Articles Archives below your final News Item or Article!