RSS – What Is It?

Posted on Sep 18, 2007

Some of you might have noticed a new icon on the footer of your Doteasy Hosted Blog, something that looks like this: RSS

Before you send us an email asking how to have it removed from your Doteasy Hosted Blog, let’s learn what it means and what it does to your blog.

What is RSS?

RSS is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. It’s basically a “What’s New” report for your blog.

The RSS on your blog creates a way for your visitors to detect changes on your website, fetch the new content from your blog, and present them in a condensed way.

So a visitor clicks on the RSS, what happens then?

The first thing they need is a RSS news reader, also called an aggregator. There are all kinds of news readers available. Some are web-based, meaning you access it through your web browser, some you can download and use it on your desktop or mobile device.

If you are on the Doteasy Smartmail system, you will have noticed that you can use your Doteasy Smartmail to receive RSS feeds. My YahooGoogle Reader and the Subscribe to this page in your Mozilla FireFox are other examples of an RSS news reader.

When your visitor clicks on the RSS on your blog, your blog sends the feed URL to their RSS feed reader. This basically tells their news reader where they need to go to for your blog’s updates, and to stay on-alert for updates. When you post a new blog entry, the news reader will notify your visitor by sending him/her a summary of the new content with a link to the actual entry on your blog.

How does having the RSS on my blog benefit me?

In many ways, RSS is similar to subscription newsletters, but better.

  1. You don’t need to send out newsletters. No need for mass mailing or emailing. All you do is post your new entry.
  2. The RSS news reader does all the update ‘pulling’ for your visitor.
  3. Your client has complete control of their news feeder, they can add and remove any RSS subscription anytime they want (unlike email newsletters, which I like to refer to them as “a spam complaint” waiting to be served).

In addition, because the news feeder sends your visitor a condensed summary of your updates, in a way, it’s like serving sending them a menu of your “today’s special”. They can access information on your blog easier and faster, in a way they have total control.