RSS And Our Friend, Feedburner

Are you ready to get your RSS stuff figured out (or understand better what it is and why you want to use it)? I’m writing this post just for you (well actually my client Rebecca Morehead who got her tech savvy on with me and created a niche website for her upcoming Law of Attraction book).

She sent me an email asking about RSS and basically wanting to get her head around it so she can do better with it on her web presence.

What It Is

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

It takes lots of information (such a blog articles or news content) and gets it published easily in a common format that requires a reader. Lots of readers are available. I use Google Reader because it’s free and Google’s products are usually pretty easy to use.

What’s Important About It?

It’s an option for your visitors (or readers, sometimes called prospective clients). It helps more visitors of your website or blog get access to regular updates without requiring them to take the time to come visit your website first. Instead, this visitor logs on to their Feed Reader account (like Google Reader) and all the updates for blogs or websites they’ve chosen to receive are automatically fed to their reader. Time savings!

After a while, you start to see other creative ways to use an RSS feed. For instance, you can populate a widget and feed content to your website based on certain keywords (like sports, astrology, cooking). I have even burned a feed just for posting a mobile picture to my Flickr account.

Burning A Feed With FeedBurner

Did you just say “burn a feed?”

Yes. You can make a feed for just about anything as long as it’s submitted in the right format. Feedburner makes it super easy to do and manage multiple feeds if you need them. Most blogs have an RSS feature built in, so you will get to figure out what your original RSS feed is and then turn it into a Feedburner feed. This way you can also leverage Feedburner’s cool tools for analyzing and managing your feeds and subscribers.

So I got my blog feed burned, now what?

The other cool feature about Feedburner is it has an option that allows you to offer your web visitors a method to subscribe using email (you can see mine in action in the far-right hand column at the top just under the big picture). This is a great option for your less techie visitors but still takes advantage of the same great idea. And that is, instead of relying on your visitors to check for updates and new info on your blog, they can sign up to receive automatic updates in their Inbox using a Feedburner gadget you install on your blog.

So RSS is basically a way to reach your web visitors in a more efficient way… and that is after you post something new on your blog. RSS updates your visitor’s feed reader (where multiple feeds are gathered) or issues an email that is the content of your latest post directly to your visitor’s Inbox.

It’s an essential component for your blog once you’re up and running, especially if you plan on building relationships using your blog. Each time you post on your blog, you are reaching out to your visitors and reminding them of your products or services. It’s a much more proactive way to use the web as opposed to putting up a static website and waiting for your phone to ring.

Special Video Tutorial Bonus

Hey! Guest what? So I’ve talked a lot about the cool technology I use that helps me help you get your tech savvy on. And to show you just how awesome it is, and how possible it is for you to do it too, I’ve created a short 5 minute video explaining how to install that Feedburner email capture form to your Blogger blog (and in case you have WordPress, it’s basically the same process and I did include a few tips in video.)

http://content.screencast.com/users/CStars4U/folders/Jing/media/27881e37-67cc-4180-81af-e42ddb21aa5f/jingswfplayer.swf

Need more video help like this?
Check out the Video Library!

For a fullscreen version of the tutorial, visit http://screencast.com/t/T4klXYjI. And for more info on Feeds, Google does a great job at explaining the nitty gritty.

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