The Importance of RSS

First off, adding RSS feed to websites such as blogs is a great idea. Your readers get your content faster, you can link to other bloggers (and vice versa), and your search rankings get a kick in the pants too, since so many people are spending time on your site. But adding the kind of RSS feed websites need to be competitive and successful in the blogging world is not as easy as people would have you think. There are a lot of decisions to make.

Putting the little orange button on your site is easy, sure. But what about the feeds YOU display on your site?How do you want those feeds to look? If you display RSS feed on the website sidebars, how many items do you list? How much of the headline or body content do you include? Does the sidebar stay in view when the reader scrolls (i.e. does the sidebar “float”)?

What about functionality? Are all your links clean? Periodic testing of your RSS links is always a good way to make sure everything is working as it should. Are all your links current? To display RSS feeds on websites that no longer exist is a surefire way to lose the confidence of your readers. Is the right language supported? Some of your links could very well be from international bloggers. Is their blog readable to your readers?

And finally, how flexible are your RSS feed websites, both incoming and outgoing? Do you support all formats to stay in touch with your readers, like email, browser, desktop, and mobile readers? How easy is it to change your settings if you discover a problem? Is your software provider looking ahead to new technologies, like the upcoming Google Glass revolution?

If you display RSS feed on websites you maintain, be aware that the manner in which you display it can say a lot more about you than what the you say in your writing. Keep your RSS feeds smooth, flexible, and beautiful, and you will keep the readers you have, gain new ones when they tell their friends, and start creeping up those search rankings.