» Hook Visitors with an RSS Hook-Up
Are you getting the number of return visits to your site that you’d expected? Is your conversion rate increasing as more visitors return daily to read the latest updates you’ve added overnight? If you’re asking yourself “What updates?” you are ‘sooo yesterday’s news’ and your site may just wither on the cyber-vine if you don’t take steps to get caught up with what’s happening in on-line content distribution.
Introducing RSS Technology
Web users want something new – all of the time. If it isn’t fresh, it’s not worth the time to visit. In fact, the web is a giant maw that constantly gobbles up content, and what was fresh last week is DOA today. But who’s got the time or talent to write new features, to update the FAQ section and to keep product descriptions current? That takes a lot of time – or at least it used to before the days of RSS technology.
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is the latest technology to hit the I-net and it’s been a real boon to small site owners eager to keep up appearances with new, relevant content. In fact, RSS is spreading so quickly, it’s tough to keep track of who owns what intellectual property – more a problem for the creators of that IP than site owners taking advantage of RSS technology.
RSS started as a means of disseminating current information quickly and easily across the Net. It was immediately embraced by the blogger community as a way to swap news, headlines, content summaries and other ‘hot off the press’ information. However, the mainstream media quickly picked up on the idea and RSS feeds are now available from CNN.com, MSN.com, a wide variety of weekly and monthly periodicals and a ton of blogs seeking broader exposure. And the list of those sites providing FREE RSS feeds is growing exponentially. Oh, and did we mention – it’s FREE!
The Benefits of RSS to Visitors
You can provide visitors to your site with the latest news headlines, local weather reports, the latest from the worlds of arts and crafts, fitness and nutrition, family issues, finances – you name it, and somebody’s got a free RSS feed just waiting for you. What’s more, you can develop content related to your site and syndicate it to others through your own RSS feed, providing increased exposure for your site and for subjects and topics of interest to your site’s regular visitors.
The benefits to I-net users are significant, even in the infancy of RSS. In the past, web surfers would bookmark their favorite sites and visit them occasionally to see if there were new articles or other useful content. Now, with RSS technology, users no longer have to visit each bookmarked site – the latest information is delivered to them via RSS. It saves users time, it saves site owners time and money and the technology is becoming increasingly advanced.
How Does RSS Work?
To utilize RSS feeds on their computers, web users must install an RSS reader. There are lots to choose from: Feed Demon ($29.95), Awasu ($25), Active Refresh ($29.95), Newz Crawler ($24.95) and Active Web Reader (free) which is our favorite because you can’t beat that price. Active Web Reader is available as a free download from DeskShare.com. and contains all of the features commonly found on RSS readers.
With an RSS reader installed, users simply browse their favorite sites and when they find a site that has a feed worth adding, all it takes is a few screen-driven clicks to hook up and get hooked. No more wasted time browsing for the latest from the quilting sector or the numismatic community. It’s all there waiting to be accessed by the avid quilter or coin collector.
RSS and You
RSS feeds help you (the site owner seeking more traffic and an improved conversion rate) in two critical areas. First, it keeps your site and your content fresh. Search engines view new content quite favorably, improving a site’s PR accordingly. You can develop a long list of RSS feeds into your site from syndicators of content of interest to your target market. Let’s say you’re selling small appliances on line, working out of your garage. You can collect feeds from food manufacturers, nutrition sites, recipe sites, consumer tips sites — all useful to your potential buyers. And the list of on-line businesses offering free, relevant content via RSS is growing rapidly.
The second way RSS feeds help you is by keeping your site’s name in front of potential buyers – daily! You’re providing a valuable, time-saving service while simultaneously building good will and brand recognition within your target demographic. Not bad for something that costs you absolutely nothing.
Even better, you can offer your visitors a FREE RSS reader download if you choose Active Web Reader. There’s no licensing fees, no lengthy, fine-print contracts — you don’t even have to ask the owners for permission. They want you to distribute their software with your feeds (and theirs) included in the RSS reader visitors download from your site.
Unlike in- and outbound links that appear passively on your home page, RSS feeds take a proactive approach to getting your site noticed. They’re better than opt-ins because the user isn’t required to take any action other than to download your free RSS reader. After that, you can actively communicate with your potential buyers, providing price updates, descriptions of new product offerings and the latest happenings in your particular area of commerce.
You can customize the feeds you provide, personalize the information you deliver and increase its usefulness to your target audience and its relevance to your site — and you don’t need a web master to do the heavy lifting. You can update feeds – adding and deleting them – with a couple of mouse clicks, saving you money and putting you in control of your marketing campaigns.
Why RSS Now?
Still not convinced? Google ‘RSS’ and see what pops up. Hundreds of SERPs with articles, software downloads, how-to’s and whys concerning this aggressively proactive, simple XML technology. If you don’t have RSS feeds available on your site, stop what you’re doing, call your site designer and find out why not. And if you’re one of the growing army of site owners who recognize the intrinsic value of RSS, you’re delivering useful, new content, you’re promoting good will, you’re keeping your site at eyeball level and you are seeing increased traffic and a higher conversion rate.
Get current, stay current, be profitable, remain profitable — that’s the promise of RSS feeds to the Internet community. The time to add RSS is now.