11/13/2007

All That You Need to Know about RSS

All That You Need to Know about RSS

By Jo Han Mok (c) 2007

You probably have seen this three-letter acronym called RSS in the course of your internet surfing. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary; syndicating means republishing an article that comes from another source such as a website.

An RSS is a means of publicizing updates about websites. It may or may not include a summary and photos of the latest posting. But those that provide summaries (thus Rich Site Summary) allow users to skim through the article so that they can decide later on if they want to access the website source. The RSS feed usually contains the title of the update originating from the website. It is also usually the link to the website source.

What are the benefits of RSS? RSS has benefits for both readers (users) and web publishers.

1. It gives you the latest updates.
Whether it is about the weather, new music, software upgrade, local news, or a new posting from a rarely-updated site you learn about the latest as soon as it comes out.

2. It saves on surfing time.
Since a RSS feed provides a summary of the related article, it saves the user's time by helping s/he decide on which items to prioritize when reading or browsing the net.

3. It gives the power of subscription to the user.
Users are given a free-hand on which websites to subscribe in their RSS aggregators which they can change at any time they decide differently.

4. It lessens the clutter in your inbox.
Although your email address will be required to enjoy the services of online RSS aggregators, RSS does not use your email address to send the updates.

5. It is sp@m free.
Unlike email subscriptions, RSS does not make use of your email address to send updates, thus your privacy is kept safe from sp@m mails.

6. Unsubscribing is hassle-free.
Unlike email subscriptions where the user is asked questíons on why s/he is unsubscribing and then the user is asked to confirm unsubscribing, all you have to do is to delete the RSS feed from your aggregator.

7. It can be used as an advertising or marketing tool.
Users who subscribe or syndicate product websites receive the latest news on products and services without the website sending sp@m mail. This is advantageous to both the web user and the website owner since advertising becomes targeted; those who are actually interested in their products are kept posted.

What are the drawbacks of RSS? The disadvantages of RSS use are brought about by its being a new technology and some user-preference concerns.

1. Some users prefer receiving email updates over an RSS feed.

2. Graphics and photos do not appear in all RSS feeds. For conciseness and ease of publication, RSS feeds do not display the photos from the original site in announcing the update except for some web-based aggregators.

3. The identity of the source website can be confusing. Since RSS feeds do not display the actual URL or name of the website, it can sometimes get confusing on what feed a user is actually reading.

4. Publishers cannot determine how many users are subscribed to their feed and the frequency of their visits. Moreover, they would not know the reasons why users unsubscribe which could be important in improving their advertising.

5. RSS feeds create higher traffíc and demands on a server. Most readers still prefer the whole update over a brief summary of the entry, thus they still access the site.

6. Since it is a new technology, many sites still do not support RSS.

How do I start using RSS?

There are two things needed: an RSS feed and an RSS aggregator or reader. The RSS feed comes from an RSS-supported website. There are also websites that provide a líst of RSS feeds of different websites. An RSS aggregator is used to read the RSS feed from the source website. It scans and collects data on the latest RSS feeds from the worldwide web.

An aggregator comes in two forms: a downloadable program also known as desktop aggregator and an online or web-based aggregator. Downloadable aggregators may require payment before they can be acquired, while internet-based aggregators are usually free of charge. All you need to do is to register an account then you are ready to use their services. Both versions allow you to customize or choose which RSS feeds to enter. Paid aggregators are usually chosen by more experienced users and they usually allow more freedom in customizing feeds.

1. Choose an RSS aggregator to use. For beginners, web-based aggregators are recommended since they are usually user-friendly.

Editor's Note: A good directory of both web-based and desktop aggregators for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms can be found at NewsOnFeeds.com .

2. Scan the homepage of your target website for the RSS or XML button. It contains the RSS code you need to enter in the aggregator. Copy this code. Syndic8 provides a directory of websites that support RSS.

3. Paste the code (which contains the URL of the website) in your aggregator. There is a space provided for pasting the code.

After you have done these three easy steps, you can start reading the RSS feeds coming from the website. New postings appear as they are published real time at the source website.

RSS and Internet Marketing

The original idea of RSS came from Netscape, where their intention was to provide a means for users to customize their personal homepage to contain links to websites that interest them, similar to bookmarking websites.

The application of RSS to internet marketing was an unforeseen development to RSS technology developers. Since users are given the freedom to add RSS feeds to their aggregators, those who are interested in particular products and services available on the internet can now be notified real time. Marketing becomes more specific to interested people and not a hit-and-miss operation.

Medium to big-scale companies who intend to use RSS for marketing their products and services should consider linking up with email account providers, (e.g. Yahoo, MSN, Google mail); networking websites (e.g. Friendster, Multiply, My Space, Hi5); and newspaper and television network websites (e.g. New York Times, CNN). Smaller businesses can also look at networking websites as well as personal blog websites (e.g. Blogspot) and websites of clubs and organizations that would probably make use of their products or services e.g. - a fishing supplies store could look for the website of their local fishing club for possible RSS marketing.

Clearly, RSS is an innovation in information management on the worldwide web as well as online marketing. We can expect better RSS technology in the not-so-distant future as its popularity increases among users and website owners alike.

About The Author

Jo Han Mok is the author of the Number 1 international business bestseller, The E-Code. He shares his amazing blueprint for creating million dollar internet businesses at: InternetMillionaireBlueprints

10/29/2007

You Need RSS, Atom, ROR codes and Google Sitemaps!

You Need XML Codes to Promote Your Website

By Karen Cole
Word Count: 1,300


Do you have a website? If so, you need an ROR XMLNS code button which leads to a full ROR/RDF code page for your website. This code tells search engines all about the special details you input into the code about your website. For example, it tells them special details about each particular product (or certain special ones) that you sell on your site or sites, it tells the search engine bots your contact information such as your business address and phone number (without informing the entire universe, as the code is invisible to all but you and the search engine bots examining your website), it gives info on special other links you want the search engine bots to associate with your website, and it gives any other such major info that you want the big search engines to explore and know all about from your website.

That's why you need this latest and greatest in Internet code technology: the ROR/RDF XMLNS code. It's a form of XML that doesn't validate like an RSS or Atom feed does; it validates through the RDF Validation Service. You can look that up on the Net, and you'll see what I mean. Meanwhile, there's the matter of the Really Simple Syndication and the Atom XML codes. These codes DO validate through RSS Validation sites as regular feed codes. These codes, also known as feeds, can be taken by people visiting your website and input into their own RSS and Atom feed readers, such as RSS Reader (which you can download for free off of their website) and other news aggregators and feed readers.

These codes are great for spreading news on your website around. Basically, they each introduce important parts of your website -- or even your whole site in its entirety -- if you choose that you want to spread every page around to the general public through what's normally known as news and blog aggregation readers and services. You can find these services on websites all over the Web, and they're rapidly gaining in use and popularity. A good example of such a service is the NewsIsFree website, a news aggregator. These services usually take news feeds of all kinds and some blogs, plus they're starting to take advertisement feeds. This latter portion is a bit of a worry due to the fact that spyware and adware can thus be passed in a widespread manner all around the WWW.

This is being looked into very seriously by the experts. Most people are concerned that RSS will be used like a tool for this, so please be careful about copying RSS advertisement feeds into your news or blog feeds aggregator. The news and the normal daily or weekly expression blog feeds should be perfectly safe, for now. You should be able to scan RSS and Atom feeds for all types of malware someday in the not too distant future.

The RSS and Atom feeds are attached generally to little tiny orange buttons labeled "XML" and nothing more. Sometimes Atom feeds are attached to little blue buttons labeled "ATOM". The buttons are less than half an inch long and only a few centimeters wide, and would be very hard to see if it weren't for their bright coloration. The type they sport is a bright white, too. Some services are starting to use slightly larger and more visible but similar buttons for their particular XML-related services. The ROR/RDF XMLNS buttons are a little bigger, being an inch long, but are the same thickness as the RSS/Atom buttons and are half orange and half grey. They say "ROR" in the orange portion and "INFO" on the grey side, off-center. They also have a light yellow line around each portion and the margin of the button, plus the type is a light yellow, making them a bit easier to see without being so brightly colored. They're mostly placed visibly on your site in order to boast that you now sport ROR/RDF code on your website.

You can go ahead and even input the code directly into your site without ever bothering to use one of the colorful but dull ROR buttons. Just upload the code in an ror.xml text file into the root directory of the site. You will have to do this whether you show the button or not, anyway, and you also have to do this in the case of the RSS and Atom codes. They upload as feed.xml and atom.xml or something very similar to that in most cases. There is some leeway when assigning the filenames to these special XML codes, but they have to be uploaded as text files into your website's root directory. You might, however, want to display one or more of the ROR buttons on your website, preferably on your site map or home page, as this button is solely there so that search engines can pick up valuable information you want to share with them about your website.

The more such links you have, the more often major search engine bots will pick up on them, you see. So we advise you to proudly display that you have ROR/RDF code on your website. If you would like to know more about these fascinating codes, please contact Rainbow Writing, Inc. at karencole@rainbowriting.com for more information. Also, we can readily build you any or each of these codes for a small fee. We hereby suggest you definitely get at least an ROR code for your website to raise your rankings in the search engines, or to keep them high, and an RSS code for a website feed for your valuable website or websites. Remember that you can hook up more than one website in a single feed or one ROR/RDF file code. This is one thing that makes these special codes so popular and valuable to users.

Rainbow Writing, Inc. (RWI at http://www.rainbowriting.com/ ) charges $25 per hour per code, which usually translates to $25 per each code we generate for you. If you bought one of each code we mentioned from us, that would thus total only $75. If you bought only the two we suggested and left the Atom code alone (it will be awhile before it's widely popular, but it is rapidly gaining in usage lately) that would only cost you $50. For an extremely large website with a lot of information, such as the many hundreds of pages of the JC Penney catalogue website, we would charge you by the hour and it would be somewhat more. We think it's well worth the cost to promote your website in such a cutting-edge and innovative manner, especially as it becomes less so and more popular over time.

You will see these little buttons on several of the websites you are visiting nowadays, especially the major company ones. Probably, you've already seen them, and now you know what they are! Pretty soon nobody will be able to do without these little "pill" buttons to advertise all of the services they have to offer their commercial or even their personal public. Sound like a fair deal?

Write us ASAP at karencole@rainbowriting.com and we'll get cracking on generating perfect, simple, streamlined and fully validatable (that means it completely functions) code for you.

We believe we should do this for you, but if you have the time, there are website tutorials on the Net that show you how to slowly or swiftly learn, depending on your speed, how to write validatable XML code. This can be quite complicated, so we are highly recommending that you use our services. Please write to us today and see exactly what we can do for you in the realm of authoring these somewhat complicated yet streamlined and enormously useful XML codes.

THE END


Executive Director and President of Rainbow Writing, Inc., Karen Cole writes. RWI at http://www.rainbowriting.com is an affordable online professional freelance writing agency working for everyone from low end to celebrity clients, and specializing in the ghost writing, editing, promotions and marketing of books and screenplays.

SEO - Reindexing

Search Engine Optimization: Reindexing

By Karen Cole Peralta
Word count: 1,800


Reindexing is almost a lost art form. But what you can do is keep doing it, because the spiders see and understand the changes. They go for it, keeping it up on a regular basis, and cause people to see your website.

What can you do to get your website up to the top of the URL (Universal Resource Locator) lists, so that when people type a search term into a search engine, such as “cheap ghost writer,” they will get to see your business name somewhere on the first page results? Well, mainly it’s a problem related to the search engine “bots” (robots) and “spiders” or “crawlers” going over your site repeatedly, noticing changes in it, and reindexing your website.

To reindex your site means that the search engines are sending out their little machines to go over your site and notice any changes in it. They are generally looking for major changes, such as fresh content, major rearrangements to your site, and brand new pages.

If you add new pages to your website, Google Sitemaps may be a program which could provide you with some help when it comes to reindexing at least the sitemap for your site. Currently only a beta program being tested by Google, it could start a new trend in site reindexing. When you make a Google sitemap, you lay out several details about the content of your web pages, and you can get Google to download the changes as reflected by your sitemap on a regular basis; constantly, if the pages are continuously changing, daily, weekly, or even monthly. Please look into this potentially worthwhile program for all of the details on how to properly make a sitemap for your site.

If you submit your site to many search engines, preferably the greatest amount possible, you will get massive exposure for your site when it climbs up to the higher rankings as listed on each of these engines. It’s not enough to only submit your site to search engines, but it’s the only way to start when it comes to your site eventually climbing its way up each of the search engine’s rankings for your site. And if you submit your site to as many search engines as possible at least twice per month, you will get maximum results from this. It is only the first major step, but it is the only way you will be seen by visitors who use search engines to find your site. Then as you resubmit your site twice per month, it will most likely be reindexed, or recrawled by the search engines, and each change you make will be updated by the major search engines and probably also by many of the minor ones as well.

To really maximize exposure, blog about your site’s contents with links pointing to your site, then submit your blog or blogs to search engines twice monthly. Also submit your site to directories, which you often only need to do once. You can also submit your blogs to the hundreds of blog directories available on the Internet. This will increase the number of inbound links coming in to your site, which is still helpful when it comes to your site making it up to the first page level of SERPs (search engine results pages).

Increasing the amount of incoming links pointing to your site is always helpful. Use every method you can find to cause sites relevant to the services and products offered on your business site to place a link to your site on their sites. This can be through directly offering to trade reciprocal links with relevant sites, joining link exchange services and using them to help you find sites which are willing to trade links with your site, and starting your own links exchange program, which generally involves free exchange of links. You will want to only trade relevant links, because Google, the major search engine presently on the face of the planet, now punishes sites for trading links which are not relevant, i.e., “any old link” will not do. You must make sure the links are organic and relevant, which means they must relate to the topics of your own site. Make sure your keywords are arranged so that when you send out your links, the links contain your most important keywords in the title text and the description of the site as well. The title text is the one that links directly to your site, and the description immediately follows it.

Also, make sure that you have proper title tags, keyword tags and meta tags for your site. You can go to Submit Express for help with this and for help with submitting your site to multiple search engines, both through their free and paid programs. You will also want several other types of tags or codes in your website that will help you optimize your pages for search engines and get your site onto the first page of search engine results.

You will need to make your site HTML (hyper text markup language) compliant, that is, it will have to pass the various kinds of “checkers” on the Web today that make sure your site’s HTML coding is correct and compliant with modern standards. Some WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and other site editors and programs do not run code that is compliant with some of the stricter standards for HTML compliance. Microsoft Front Page is especially non-compliant when it comes to a complicated, not text-only website, as it rewrites its own code and is often found to be not compliant with modern standards.

There are all of these steps, and many more that you will discover by looking around and by subscribing to free newsletters such as Web Pro News and Site Pro News. These will help you put together a website that will gradually climb to the top of the charts. You will find that by adding fresh, keyword-rich content to your site every day, by writing your own articles involving the keywords in each page of your site, by varying the keywords so that each page has content containing the keywords for that page, and by constantly updating your Google sitemap – not to mention many other such “tricks” and daily “trendy” activities – you will find yourself slowly but surely search engine optimizing your website. And your site will be reindexed on a regular basis by the search engines.

Don’t worry too much about fancy Google “algorhythms” and whether or not you can keep up with all of the Joneses, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Work, work, work on your website. Set aside an amount of time every day to thoroughly find and employ methods for optimization that will cause the indexing of your site on a regular basis. Resubmit twice a month, change your site’s content daily, make sure you have plenty of incoming links from sites relevant to yours pointing to your site, subscribe to Internet newsletters so that you can get the most recent information about how to optimize your site for search engines – do everything you can make the time to do.

And use the latest in xml code technologies, such as making pages for your site in rss, atom and ror rdf information code. It is easy to find the formats for these codes and information on how to employ them by researching this on the Web. Submit information about content relevant to your business and website to Wikipedia, the Web’s new major encyclopedia. Post to blogs, wikis and message boards, using your website’s URL as often as you can. This creates more incoming links pointing to your website, which you need. Submitting to thousands of FFA (free for all) pages may help increase your incoming link count, which does matter to search engines. However, Google is frowning lately on irrelevant links coming in to websites, and it may count FFA links as being “irrelevant,” so you will want to consider that. Also, one-way links count for more than links exchanges, apparently, so you will want to consider that carefully as well.

Remember: the most important things are fresh daily content and getting the search engines to reindex your site, as often as humanly possible, more often than daily if needed. Some search engines will only reindex your site on a weekly or monthly basis. Some will do it on a daily basis. But we are fast moving toward an era where the search engines will be continuously crawling your website, looking for any changes, for the bad or for the good, at all whatsoever. So the more often you make major changes, especially to the keyword-related content of your site, the more often your site will be reindexed.

Pay the price to list your site with Yahoo. It’s worthwhile. Pay the price to list with multiple directories, if need be. And set up with as many beta testing programs through Google, Yahoo and MSN as your site qualifies for. This will get your site reindexed and crawled repeatedly by these three major search engines. And look into programs being set up by the other major and minor search engines as well.

Whatever you do, don’t despair. On your way in the climb up the SERPs, you will probably find many other advertising methods, such as simply being listed for free with services related to your site, visitors coming in from your relevant links, and organizations such as WebRing, where you can list your site by joining webrings for free and advertise your site for a low amount of money. There are also PPC (pay per click) services where you can avoid the entire organic optimization process by simply getting listed above the general search engine results -- by paying for it directly. The two major PPC services are Google’s AdWords program and Overture’s PPC program, which covers Yahoo and almost all of the other major search engines.

But remember: whatever methods you use, you will want to see your site get reindexed on a regular basis by the search engines. This is if you offer a business or service where you want to be included under you own niche keyword search terms on the first page of results under such keywords. And you will want to see your business name displayed in a forthright manner so that you can attract visitors who type your carefully chosen search terms into the major and minor search engines. So get ready, get started: optimize!