What is RSS? Did you know that according to Marketing Sherpa, there were are at least 75 million consumers and business personnel in the USA and UK who use RSS on a regular basis? It is growing every day.
But, depending on which study’s stats you believe, only 17%-32% of RSS users actually know they’re using RSS! That means that roughly 50 million regular RSS users would say, “Huh?” if asked “what does RSS mean?”
After reading these stats, I decided it was time to at least educate my readers and… I suggest you educate the readers on your blog also to get them to sign up. It will help improve the SEO on your site.
What does the acronym RSS stand for?
RSS (sometimes called RSS Feeds, XML, Atom Feeds or Channels) stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary”. The easiest way to grab the concept on how RSS works is to consider what happens when you subscribe to either a magazine or newspaper. If you subscribe to a magazine or newspaper either online or via your local newsagents, you don’t need to physically go and collect your copy each week – they will deliver it to your door.
In the same way when you subscribe to a blog or a website, you’ll receive automatic updates so you don’t have to remember to visit the site or spend time going back to the site to check whether they have published any new content. This means you can easily stay informed about what is going on online by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are most interested in.
How do you sign up to a website or blog via RSS?
You may recognize the icon below from sites you’ve visited and probably wondered what on earth it was. This icon indicate that the site owner is offering you the option of receiving their syndicated content in a format that can be read using what is called an RSS reader also known as an aggregator, that displays RSS or syndicated feed content from web sites you are subscribed to.
This is the RSS icon that most people recognize:
If you want to be able to read syndicated content from websites or blogs, you’ll need a RSS reader or aggregator which will allow you to read the syndicated content from the sites that you have subscribed to.
Here are a few Feed Reader icons that you may recognise:
I personally use the Google reader since it’s free and easy to use. There are also paid services, but I would suggest to start out you check out the Google reader first. It works great!
Whichever RSS Feed Reader you use, it will automatically notify you when new posts are published on sites you subscribed to. To read the content of the RSS feed, all you have to do is click the link – which is usually limited to the headline and a brief description of the newly published blog post. It will take you to a new page on the site where you can read the full story.
Sometimes the website publisher will only publish part of the feed content to force you to visit their site, but I’ve personally noticed that my subscriptions increase when I opt for publishing the full feed.
Understanding what RSS is all about will help you understand why RSS is so important to you if you are an online blogger looking to increase readers and optimize your site.