What do we mean by RSS and what are its Benefits?

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Do we actually know what the meaning of RSS is? No, most of don’t know. The three letter acronym “RSS” actually means Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. Here, syndicating means republishing an article that has already been published in another website.RSS is used for making the internet surfers know about the updates of a websites. Often it may also include a summary and image of the latest post. Those which provide summaries (Rich Site Summary) also allow the users to glance through the article so that they can decide whether the materials are useful to them and if they should visit or access the website. RSS feeds also contain the title of the update that has originated from the website with a link back to the source.

RSS feeds provide many benefits and are quite useful both to the readers or users and also to the web publishers. Its benefits are detailed below:

  • RSS provides the latest updates about everything right from the latest music tunes, software’s, local news or a new posting is provided through its feeds.
  • There is a savings in the time spent on surfing the internet for information. This is because the RSS provides a summary of the related articles and the user gets to know about the materials available without having to read the full article or news item.
  • The users are free to decide on which websites to subscribe in their RSS aggregators. They can also change it any time they want.
  • Though your Email address is required for using the services of RSS aggregators, no updates are sent to your Email address.
  • RSS is also spam free. You can also easily unsubscribe without having to answer unnecessary questions and sending confirmation.
  • Another great advantage of the RSS is that it can be used as a means of advertisement or marketing tool. Generally users who subscribe receive the latest news on products and services from the syndicate product websites. This is really advantageous both to the user and the website owner since the advertising becomes targeted and only those who are actually interested in the products are kept regularly posted.

If there are advantages of the RSS, it must have its disadvantages and drawbacks also.  These disadvantages and drawbacks are usually due to the preferences of the user.

  • There are some users who prefer receiving updates through email. Also graphics and photos do not appear in all RSS feeds. This is because RSS feeds are concise in nature so that it can be published easily.
  • Another disadvantage is that since RSS feeds do not display the actual URL or the name of the website, it can become confusing to the user for finding out what feed he is reading.
  • Publishers also face disadvantages as they cannot determine the number of users who are subscribed to their feed and the frequency of their visit. Since a subscriber can easily unsubscribe without giving any reason, the publisher cannot improve their advertising, which is quite important in internet business.
  • There are many readers who prefer to read the whole update instead of a brief summary and thus the benefits of RSS feeds is lost.
  • Since the entry of RSS is quite recent, many websites, especially small or new do not support RSS.

For using RSS we must have two basic things namely, the RSS feed and the RSS aggregator or reader. The RSS feed is derived from the website which supports RSS. Some websites also provide a list of RSS feeds of different websites.

There are two forms of the aggregator, i.e., a downloadable program which is also known as the desktop aggregator and an online or web based aggregator. For downloading the aggregators, some payment may be required. The internet or online based aggregators are often free. You have to register your account with them before they let you use their services. You can customize or choose which RSS feeds to enter in both the versions. Those who are more experienced users generally choose the paid aggregators as they have more freedom in customizing their feeds.

If you are a beginner, you should choose the web based aggregators as they are easy to use and offer user friendly services. For this you should scan the homepage of your target website for the RSS or XML button. This button contains the RSS code. You should copy this code and paste it (this contains the URL of the website) in your aggregator. Space is provided for pasting the code.

By following these three steps you can start reading the RSS feeds originating from the website. You can read the new postings as and when they are published in the source website.

Today the RSS has become an innovation in the information technology and management in the World Wide Web and also in internet marketing. With the increase of its popularity, better RSS technology is just round the corner, which will greatly benefit both the user and the website owners also.

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