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Are Your RSS Feeds Auto Discovery Friendly?

Don't know what is auto discovery? To understand auto discovery you first need to understand how it works. If your weblog or web page is auto discovery enabled when someone lands on your page, the browser will notify the reader you have an RSS feed available. If the visitor is interested in subscribing, they will simply click subscribe - much like bookmarking a page. Here's a quick 1 minute video how it works in Firefox.

Now you know how it works, why is it so important? For one, many feed readers and browsers already auto discover RSS feeds. But perhaps what's more important, Microsoft is incorporating this starting with Internet Explorer 7. Internet Explorer still commands a good chunk of browser share out there, especially those who are new to the Internet or non technical Internet users. If your RSS feeds cannot be auto discovered, it's a good chance you'll lose out on a bunch of subscribers.

As it is today, browsers like Firefox, Opera and Safari can auto discover feeds. Many use this to subscribe because it's just so much easier. While this group may not be that large but why should you not take advantage? If just making your feeds auto discovery friendly you get an extra subscriber, even if it's only one it would be worth it because it costs nothing but maybe 2 minutes of your time.

So how do you find out if your feeds are auto discovery friendly? The good news is, if you're using a weblog to manage your content, many have this feature built in. But it doesn't hurt to just check it anyway. If you don't use a weblog , chances are, your feed is not auto discovery enabled. So here's how you'd add or check it.

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Open up your web site or weblog template, at the top between the <head> tags, look to see if you have one or all of the following code: <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="http://www.yourrss2feedurl.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" type="text/xml" title="RSS .92" href="http://www.yourfeedurl.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom 0.3" href="http://www.youratomfeedurl.com/" />

If it's not there then just add them. You don't need all of them. As you probably already figured it out, each one of them refer to the feed type you have but since most readers support all of them these days, it really isn't that important anymore. Now, save your template and upload it to your web site and that's it. You're all set. Get someone who has Firefox, Opera or Safari browsers to check it.

Before I go, here are two little tips that would help your RSS distribution and subscription using auto discovery. 1. Put the auto discovery tag in other web pages too. Just because it's not a weblog doesn't mean you can't have an RSS feed on it. Take advantage of that, put your feed in your main web site's template. Now you have two opportunities to get in touch with people. When you update your web site and when you update your weblog . 2. If you use a service like FeedBurner to track your subscriptions, remember to update the feed URL in your weblog or web site template. This way, you're capturing all your feed traffic statistics.

Was this helpful? Then pick up your very own copy of the Tech Based Marketing newsletter. You'll learn how to leverage technology and technological trends like RSS. As a matter of fact, you'll get two free originally written reports about RSS (mentioned at the beginning of this article) and Blogging technology when you sign up.

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Lynette Chandler helps entreprenuers just like you implement technology and technology trends in their marketing. She'll put one and one together and spell it out in plain English for you at http://www.TechBasedMarketing.com

Using RSS feeds to increase sales

RSS feeds are reshaping how we access information online. In the past, when you wanted to know when your favorite information site had some new information on it, you had to go visit the web site, wait for it to load, get distracted, etc. With the growing popularity of RSS feeds however, this is no longer necessary.

One ingenious use of RSS feeds is to get your customers to subscribe to an RSS feed on the latest products you offer. The latest sales for the month, news related to the products and services you offer and more. Using an RSS feed, a customer can know exactly when you post new information online without wasting time or having to wade through information that they aren't interested in. Keeping yourself in front of your customer will result in more sales.

An RSS feed for your coupons

FindSavings.com for instance offers their visitors the ability to subscribe to RSS Feeds for coupon deals being offered by the favorite brand name stores. Whenever a new sale or rebate is posted, the customer is notified via their RSS news aggregator, their browser or their online reader. Getting the sale into the hands of the customer right away increases the chance that a sale is made.

RSS feeds bypass nasty spam filters

Every day it seems that email spam is growing. It has gotten so bad that the usefulness of email as a communication medium has been greatly compromised. Because of this volume of spam, as much as 85% of your email messages may not get through to your customers. Using RSS feeds, you can achieve 100% delivery effectively bypassing traditional spam filters.

RSS gives your customers exactly what they want

RSS feeds can be created on very specific topics. Like a laser beam, they can be aimed to give information on very specific niches. Narrowing the focus of a feed will generally increase the usefulness of the feed to the customer. It also increases the customers interest and trust in what the feed offers to them. All of this will result in more sales.

Want to us RSS feeds to increase your sales? Give your customers the information that they want and crave and your bottom line will thank them.

Joe Duchesne is the webmaster for http://www.sreamerfeeds.com. Screamerfeeds specializes in offering news and opinion on RSS Feeds and related technologies. Reprint freely as long as you keep the keyword rich link live.

Content Syndication Through RSS Feeds

Delivering regularly updated content to web site visitors is easier through RSS resources.

RSS, also known as Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, has been used for years by online visitors. However, it has only recently begun to gain popularity among webmasters as a means of providing visitors with constantly refreshed content. These feeds were originally developed to deliver updated news more quickly, but they have since evolved to allow for nearly instantaneous updates of many types of information.

Growing web sites can benefit from RSS feeds since they allow for fresh copy to be updated regularly online. Once the RSS feeds are inserted into the web pages, they provide a steady stream of syndicated content updated continuously. Most RSS feeds consist of a headline, content summary, and a link to the actual online article. They are typically composed in XML, a markup language similar to HTML, to allow webmasters to manipulate and integrate new copy into their existing site pages.

The increased popularity of these RSS feeds have benefited online sites as they the have helped to drive increased traffic and search engine ranking results. The fact that the syndicated content is changing constantly in RSS feeds means that search engine spiders are likely to visit and index your web site pages more often. RSS feeds also keep webmasters from having to worry about updating their content, and visitors can rely on fresh articles being available to read whenever they want. Articles are also easy to locate on RSS feeds, as they can be categorized for easy navigation. This increases the chances of receiving visitors from other sites.

While modern technology has made integrating RSS feeds into one's web site easier, contributing content to RSS feeds remains a bit more complex. To effectively post copy onto RSS feeds, you first need an RSS program that will allow you to format your content for syndication. If you are a professional web developer, for example, you might be interested in creating your own XML files to display content. This option will allow for more flexibility in the way content is displayed. If you lack the online knowledge to understand how to use XML, you might want to invest in one of the many RSS software programs that allow users to create and publish syndicated content without having to use any XML language at all.

One of the most popular software programs is FeedForAll, which is an inexpensive yet effective tool for developing and maintaining an RSS feed. This program, and others like it, allows users to utilize their own syndicated content, or to download existing feeds from the internet. It also provides users with the ability to manually edit their site to include pictures and colors which may create a more exciting online experience for customers.

As the need for the internet to provide instantaneous access to a wide variety of information continues to grow, RSS feeds have become a critical component of information distribution. It is likely that RSS feeds will serve as an important tool for sharing information on the web for years to come and could, in the not too distant future, even begin to rival e-mails as the preferred method of knowledge sharing. Therefore, understanding how best to utilize RSS feeds into your web site may have lasting, positive effects on your business' growth.

Online reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including links and resource box. © John Doetsch 2005.

John Doetsch is founder of Websition.com where you will find additional articles and free web content written by the Internet's most gifted authors.

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RSS feeds and how to use them

RSS feeds are the most important technology to arrive on the internet since blogging, yet take up of RSS feeds among webmasters and web visitors is still very low. The Sunday Times recent ran a survey to see how home users use the internet , RSS did not appear in it at all.

It's true that RSS is nowhere near as ubiquitous as email, but email have been around since the beginning of the internet. RSS and RSS feeds are relatively new to internet users. If you are a webmaster you can benefit from this new technology that will allow you to speak directly to your visitors and keep them updated with what you are up to. You can get up to speed with RSS feeds at http://www.newsniche.com/.

According to Feedster, one of the largest RSS feed search engines, there are over 9 million feeds in its index. RSS feeds are a technology to be taken seriously, you can ignore it now but you will find yourself way behind other webmasters when it comes to the benefits of having your own feed.

To put RSS in context take a look at Bloglines, probably the largest feed aggregator on the internet. When you subscribe to a feed using Bloglines they tell you how many other of their readers are subscribed to the same feed. Slashdot there more subscribed to feed besides their own has about 35,000 subscribers to their RSS feed. Remember that's just other Bloglines users so it only reflects a small percentage of their total readers.

Let me take you through some of the benefits of having your own RSS feed. If you take the example I just used for readers of the Slashdot feed. Every time a new item is published to the RSS feed it is available to every single subscriber immediately. You are guaranteed that every reader will get the message whether they choose to read it or not. If you done this with email you would be lucky if a majority of your readers even received the message due to spam filters and other obstacles.

Unlike email an RSS feed is zero maintenance. There is no list of addresses to maintain, no server needed to send out your messages, all you are doing is updating a file on your server. There is no need to worry about being accused of spamming, double opt in or adding to the spam problem.

I have left the best till last. You can even have detailed statistics about your RSS feed by using a third party such as Feedburner, all free. Feedburner will monitor the requests made for your feed so you know how many readers you have and even tell you which items have been clicked on. Plus Feedburner saves you your valuable bandwidth and takes away any worries about the compatibility of your RSS feed.

I have been publishing an RSS feed for several months, it has worked so well that I have decided that I do not need the hassle of an email newsletter. The only time I use email now is if I want a personal conversation with someone, that's what email is great at.

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