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RSS for Dummies and How it Can Work for You

RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication. When you think of the word ‘syndication’ you probably think about a syndicated newspaper column, meaning the column appears in a variety of newspapers around the country or the world. There’s also syndicated television. A program that goes ‘into syndication’ is picked up by a large number of television stations for rebroadcast.

So how does this syndication apply to you? You make use of RSS when you make your blog entries available for syndication. RSS is really what sets a blog apart from a regular old website.

You may know that a blog is really just a simple content management system. You enter your text and it creates pages for you and sets up navigation to the page. When you post to a blog, it also adds information about your post to a special RSS file that becomes your ‘feed’.

The location of this feed file becomes your ‘feed address’ otherwise known as your ‘RSS feed’. This is all done automatically so you don’t really have to know a lot about how it happens, just that it does happen. What is important is that you take advantage of the RSS feed and use it to promote your blog.

There are many popular Blog and RSS directories on the web that you can submit your feed to. When someone visits that directory and searches for keyword phrases, if you have blogged about it, it will turn up in their search and they will be connected to your blog via your feed.

In addition to the directories, individuals can subscribe directly to your RSS feed if you provide the address to them. It’s common to use a small ‘chicklet’ image on the side bar of your blog to advertise that your RSS feed is there to grab. When someone subscribes to your feed, they take your RSS feed address and plug it into a special RSS feed reader or they take it to a web based RSS reader like a My Yahoo page. Once they plug that in, they will get alerts whenever you post to your blog.

RSS really is simple, isn’t it?