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What Is An RSS Feed and Why Should You Even Care?

What Is An RSS Feed and Why Should You Even Care?

A reader asked: What exactly is an RSS feed?And how does it work? Seriously computer un-skilled! Be kind… – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – First, here is a definition from www.whatisrss.com: RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it. Since you no exactly SQUAT more than you knew before you read that sentence, here’s a little more explanation from the same site: Why RSS? RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site’s email newsletter. The number of sites offering RSS feeds is growing rapidly and includes big names like Yahoo News. What do I need to do to read an RSS Feed? Feed Reader or News Aggregator software allow you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to read and use. Once you have your Feed Reader, it is a matter of finding sites that syndicate content and adding their RSS feed to the list of feeds your Feed Reader checks. Many sites display a small icon with the acronyms RSS, XML, or RDF to let you know a feed is available. Still lost? I thought so. Let me see if I can put it into terms anyone can understand. You have blogs. Blogs have content. That content comes in a predictable form that is repeated over and over each time you put up a blog post: Headline (or title), date, content. That’s an oversimplification, but you get the picture. An RSS feed takes that content and puts it out there in a stripped down, basic, organized and predictable format. An “RSS FEED READER” can then take that content, and display it because it knows what is a “title”, and what is the “date”, and what part is the “content” (the body of the blog post). Those same RSS Feed Readers will then check for new content periodically and let you know if something new is available, or if you have an RSS feed being pulled on to your blog, it will display that new content.  Here are some common uses of RSS feeds: People use feed readers to make a list of blogs they want to read. The RSS reader checks for new content and grabs it...

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What Are Some Of the Biggest Mistakes People Make With Their Blog?

What Are Some Of the Biggest Mistakes People Make With Their Blog?

This was the first question asked when I put out a request for questions about SIX WEEKS AGO. So let me state clearly what Mistake #1 is: not writing regularly and putting up fresh content. GUILTY! I will say in my defense, it’s not simple laziness or neglect or not caring. However, I’ve put myself on a strict “once a week” posting schedule for each of my blogs and have made it a priority. Not posting regularly isn’t a “blog killer” but it does significantly kill any momentum you have, and you lose tons of opportunity for growth. Most people aren’t going to tell a friend “hey, check out this great blog. The content is really good but they only post once every three months.” Out of sight, out of mind. There are a million other bloggers out there competing for your readers time. So your content better be interesting and it better come fairly regularly. Other mistakes: Uninteresting content or content just for contents sake: people won’t spend much time HOPING your blog will get better. They can forgive a yawner occasionally but consistently irrelevant or boring content will run them off faster than Paris Hilton gets out of jail. Clutter: too much junk, widgets, gadgets, links, social this and that, advertisements. Most blogs, especially personal blogs look like Widget God vomited all up and down the sidebars. Only put up the sidebar content you ACTUALLY hope people will look at and find useful.  Toss the myth that the more junk you have on your page, the more cool, connected or knowledgeable you appear about blogging. Blog posts disguised as advertisements: you can do this occasionally but people aren’t stupid. If you are constantly pitching them, they will tire of it. Hard to read designs: if your blog is hard to read because of harsh colors, poor layout, ridiculous amounts or types of fonts, etc then don’t be surprised when you’re blog doesn’t grow. You have to make your blog COMFORTABLE for people to read and navigate. Sitting back waiting for traffic: in blogging “if you build it, they will come” does not apply. You have to go out and market your blog through interaction with other bloggers, commenting on other blogs, advertising, etc. Unless you have remarkable content, word of mouth will only result in slow, if any growth. Superficial content: depending on who you are trying to reach, you can’t just toss up a bunch of superficial content and hope for the best. Superficiality can come from trivial topics or from regurgitating other ideas that have already been put on countless other blogs.  Be fresh, be relevant, be original, be interesting…...

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