RSS, or Real Time Syndication Service is the means by which your blog software informs the rest of the world that you have updated you blog with a new post or page. Its a little like a mini “News Flash” to get the word out. If you have a favourite blog then no doubt you have seen the little RSS icon that usually sits up in the right hand side of the side bar or somewhere prominent on the blog above the fold. That Icon is asking you the reader to Syndicate this site, but what does that really mean?
Well in days before computers, newspapers and magazines were the best means of staying up to date on news and world affairs, News Editors realised that if they could use articles and stories from other newspapers in their paper, they could get more readers because they could cover more newsworthy stories covering a wider area than they could by using just their own resources and reporters. This is an example of how RSS syndication can work in the print world.
Reuters is a world wide company whose entire business was created because of the need for news syndication. This 160 year old company began its business life advising the world of news stories by sending out what was known as a news Wire. This service used the relatively new technology (1860) of the Telegraph to send out its “Posts” to all its subscribers. Today Reuters is the single biggest news wire service in the world serving over 200 countries around the globe. That’s the power of Syndication.
With the invention and mass production of today’s desktop PC’s and laptops took off the web needed a means of using Syndication methods to basically do what Reuters does in the print and Television media world. Thats were RSS was born.
To find out more about the history of RSS and how it developed into the blog syndication powerhouse of today check out This Wikipedia Article on the history of RSS
Why use RSS
Put simply this is the most effective blog syndication software available for FREE as part of your blog set up. The file is automatically created everytime you publish a post or page. So even if you did nothing to promote your blog there is a way for others to follow what you are doing and over time they will get the word out. However a little blog promotion never hurt anyone and i recommend that you do as much as humanly possible to spread the word about your blog using RSS syndication.
How to promote your RSS feed
There are numerous ways to promote your RSS and I recommend that you use everyone. What I do to promote my blog is I use a set of tools that automates the process to a great extent so I use my time more effectively.
I have a FeedBurner account which associates my RSS feed with a set of aggregators.
I promote those feeds using a tool called RSS Submit
I have a plugin called tweet this that automatically tweets the post as soon as i publish that post
I also use a ping service called ping.fm that sends a ping to a set of RSS aggregators.
What all this activity does is have the spiders from the search engines come and crawl my site more often looking for new content. It also gets me social media backlinks from the ping servers, twitter, face book etc.
So using RSS is a quick and simple way of advertising your blog to both the search engines and the aggregators that are looking for new content. People use aggregators to find information on specific subjects.
RSS just works and I recommend you use it.
Also, to create your own custom RSS feed (or also to import posts from other external RSS feeds), please check this plugin: Echo RSS Feed Post Generator Plugin for WordPress.