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What is RSS?

RSS is a syndication standard supported by an XML file type.

  • RSS Stands for Really Simple Syndication.
  • RSS feed is a type of XML file that resides on an internet server.
  • RSS is used for the specific purpose or conveying information that a website or blog has been updated.
  • RSS is a standard for publishing regular updates to web-based content.


Where did RSS come from you ask? Netscape invented the RSS format for "channels" on Netscape Netcenter ( http://my.netscape.com ). It was released to the public in March of 1999. The first non-Netscape Web site to incorporate the new format was Scripting News , a popular technology news site run by Dave Winer, president of Userland Software (think Frontier). Interestingly enough, Scripting News had been using its own XML format, scriptingNews, since December of 1997.

In May of 1999, Dave Winer released a new version of the scriptingNews XML format, which added new content-rich elements. Netscape followed suit by adopting most of the new scriptingNews elements into RSS 0.91, which was released in July of 1999.

Userland Software also rolled out their own flavor of my.netscape.com. If you haven't already guessed, it's available at http://my.userland.com .

As far as I know, RSS is the most widely used XML format on the Web today. RSS headlines are available for lots of popular news sites like Slashdot , Forbes , and CNET News.com , and the list is growing daily.

In a time when "stickiness" is a good, displaying news headlines on your Web site can really help give it the extra "umph" that will encourage users to return. After all, users can only read your president's biography but so many times.

What can Rss do?

1.RSS can deliver current information from the Internet in our areas of expertise or interest.

RSS comes close to fulfilling the promise of a custom newspaper or magazine that is delivered to our desktop.

My RSS reader delivers to my desktop a custom mix of articles on news, technology, call centers, cellular technology, gourmet coffee, personal growth, web 2.0, website development, information technology... and of course, RSS. I continually refine this daily flow of information, dropping those that get stale, and picking up new ones like I did for additional news on Katrina and the Olympics.

Some RSS feeds are updated hourly (Associated Press and BBC news), some RSS feeds are updated daily, and others are updated weekly or irregularly. RSS reduces my web surfing time and gives me more reading time.

2.RSS can provide content for websites and blogs.

RSS feeds can be used to provide content for websites and blogs. Tools are available that can capture RSS feeds and put the information onto a website or blog. Most of the tools are point-and-click tools that require no programming.

For example, I created a webpage on my website with all the content from an RSS feed. The webpage is ranked in the top 10 on Google for its keyword.

3.RSS can bring additional traffic to a website or blog.

An RSS feed is another tool to bring more traffic to your website or more readers to your blog. RSS feeds can have links back to your website, and headlines and short clips that entice a visitor to visit your website. RSS feeds can provide a convenient way to read blog posts.

Those of us who are using RSS readers to get information, want to subscribe to information that we can read as RSS feeds. I do not want to check and see if a blog or website has been updated. I want updated blogs and websites to show up on my desktop as RSS feeds.

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