There is little argument from webmasters and publishers that RSS brings in traffic. So once you’ve made the leap and created a feed, how do you tell your visitors about the feed?
1. Submit Your RSS Feed to RSS Directories.
This will not only increase the number of sites linking to your website and increasing your link popularity, it will also increase the RSS feeds profile. A number of RSS search engines and RSS directories exist that allow you to freely submit RSS feeds. Feeds are generally categorized and grouped together by subject. Web surfers looking for RSS feeds about a specific subject will often search the RSS directories, to locate a feed that matches their specific criteria. Topic specific RSS feed and podcasting directories are also emerging. Choose a
web feed’s category carefully and only submit relevant feeds to topic specific directories.
A large list of directories is located at http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm
2. Explain RSS
While you have finally figured RSS out, some of your visitors may not have. The concept while brilliant, can be a bit confusing for the beginner. The concept of RSS feeds might be completely new to some of your website visitors. Hence it is generally good practice to walk website visitors through the steps of locating, subscribing and reading an RSS feed. It is generally a good practice to include a page on your website that contains a general explanation on RSS and details how website visitors can subscribe to an RSS feed.
Sample explanation page that can be used to on your website: http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-subscriptions.htm . RSS specifications has authorized the replication of this webpage. It can be republished, simply insert your RSS feeds or otherwise customize the material to explain RSS to your website visitors.
3. Graphic on Website
Since the conception of RSS, bright graphic flags have been used to denote the location of an RSS feed. Now instinctively, website visitors frequently look for a colorful flag on websites. The looks of the flags have changed but a variety of options exists. When you add the image, be sure to link to the location of the RSS feed. Some webmasters use chicklets to indicate the presence of feeds, web surfers click on the chicklet that relates to their RSS feed reader or news aggregator and the feed is added to their list of feeds. Others feel that the volume of chicklets simply add confusion, and opt for a single relevant RSS graphic.
As with any important addition to your company, it is completely appropriate to send a press release to let the media know you have RSS feeds available for specific content. This will often garner a little attention. Additionally, key news editors may opt to subscribe to your RSS feed in order to stay abreast of your latest corporate news. Considering the possibility of these subscriptions, makes a press release to signal the availability of an RSS feed simple common corporate sense.
Include a mention in your e-mail newsletter that content is now available via an RSS feed. Many newsletters subscribers appreciate an alternative subscription method and will subscribe to a web feed as well.
6. Auto Discovery
Some of your website visitors might be web savvy. Be sure to include an auto-discovery tag in the HTML header of each web page. Many RSS Readers will automatically discover that an RSS feed is available for specific content and notify the website visitor and ask them if they wish to subscribe.
7. Brand a Newsreader
Distribute pre-loaded RSS readers branded to your company name. The big benefit to brandable newsreaders is that you can include all of your RSS feeds in it. Any downloaders will have immediate access to your RSS feeds in the branded news reader.
If you have a blog or know bloggers, be sure to share with them that you have added an RSS feed for specific content. Blogs are a great vehicle to spread the word. Marketers instantly understood the power of word of mouth, but few marketers understand the movement of blog to mouth. This growing phenomenon has added credibility to online blog endorsements.
In order to reap the benefits of an RSS feed, it is important the feed be properly publicized. Taking simple steps to promote an RSS feed will go a long way in ensuring a feeds adoption.
Written by S. Housley.