When I first published my series of 13 articles on RSS feeds, and finally finished them I thought that was it. Enough is enough. RSS is great and can be mastered by the newbie. I did my bit and finished.
Lately, in a few moments of rare freedom, I have been seeing more and more articles (not only in article submission sites) about the great revolution of RSS and how you MUST have RSS in order to succeed in a web business. I am not going to argue, disagree or agree with any of these points or suppositions. However, there are some critical issues and really misunderstood conceptions about RSS and its value.
- False – Plug In Advertisements to your RSS feed will triple your business. Maybe. On a good, sunny day when the people reading your feed are really in a GREAT mood. Serious RSS users will be looking for CONTENT. After all the whole purpose of the RSS feed is to give out a headline and then get the reader to click back to your website perhaps to purchase or see or be interested. But plugging in advertisements (another affiliate marketing approach) is an idea which is GOOD, but do not think it is going to “triple” your business. Google allows plug in Google adverts. All these are legitimate. BUT like any affiliate marketing plan, JUST BECAUSE IT IS RSS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS GOING TO BE MAGIC.
- False – You MUST have an RSS feed because it will gain you many more hits to your website. This one I love. It is the same as saying You MUST have a web site because it will increase your business. Well RSS feeds will increase your business. IF and again I say IF they are picked up and IF they are READ. And just like Web sites and blogs, you are competing against tens of thousands if not millions of RSS feeds. In order for your RSS feed to work in the way you want, people have to first find it, then put it in their aggregator and finally READ it and then read it tomorrow as well!
- False – RSS feeds are all the rage and therefore the most important tool in your arsenal. Careful on this one – BE REAL CAREFUL. If you study the market, it is the Podcasts and looming Videocasts that are the “rage”. A consumer market wants sounds and visuals. Not just text. And yes you can get a picture into an RSS feed. But putting in a song or a video clip is oh so much more attractive. And OH SO MUCH MORE BANDWIDTH ON YOUR SITE. Actually RSS is not a rage anymore. It is just another technology very much like Blogs which has found a niche and become one of the available tools you should use for your promotion. But it is certainly not the ONLY tool, or even the most important tool.
- False – RSS is simplicity itself. Yes it if for the technologically minded. It is not as easy as Blogging. Getting up maintaining an RSS feed is work. Lots of it. Lots of gritty work. You can purchase automatic parsers, or build one yourself. It is still work. Just take a look on any RSS directory site how many RSS feeds fail to “validate” or how many were updated 5 months ago the last time. Like Blogging the work is in keeping it up.
Now to one other CRITICAL point.
Have you noticed how many articles and maybe emails and certainly professional magazines are devoting themselves to getting the message across: “Content is important. But Original Content is critical!” The same holds true for your RSS feed. If you own a newspaper then original content is not a problem. But if you are showing the same RSS feed that 10,000 others are showing on their web sites for the purpose of increasing your search engine rating..forget it. If you are doing it to provide your customers with a service, then go for it. That does work as a marketing tool. But do not fool yourself in thinking that content from an RSS feed made available at CNN.com will get you listed on page one of Google or MSN or Yahoo when someone searches for “current news events”.
All in all RSS is great. But like Blogging when it began, so many superlatives are being issued that it is hard not to get carried away. Keep RSS in perspective. If you have a Podcast or Videocast then you are way ahead of the game and that is where you should be headed. The best you could do today to beat the market is to combine text and voice with your products and issue it as a Podcast. That will get you noticed.
Now you will excuse me as I have to go figure out just why my RSS feed is not validating!!
Copyright © 2006 Ted W. Gross. All rights reserved. (You may publish this article in its entirety with the following author’s information with live links only.)
Ted Gross runs Virgin Earth Article Submissions which is designed to accept articles about travel, countries, places, historical events or current events in the world. Virgin Earth Article Submissions gladly accept articles about travel and places and countries – and of course places of interest. Ted Gross is also a published author and maintains a web site for his works and some of his published short stories are available at http://www.thedeepening.com – a fiction short story Webzine.