What is RSS Good For?
Pretty much any content syndicated on the web can be broken down in to an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed. Once content is in this format, it can be fed into a software program such as an aggregator that can recognize changes as they happen and react to give updates directly to the reader. Why use RSS feeds you ask? Just to start… see a few reasons below.
The concept of the RSS feed is basically to provide a code that will allow potential customers to view your site without actually having to visit it. This is most commonly used for blogs and news feeds. RSS feeds enable a person to log on and in one place check all the major headlines, blog feeds, and even which of their favorite wineries have released a new wine online! Is this a good idea you ask? Won’t this encourage people to NOT visit my website? NOT AT ALL. In fact, this will do the opposite. As soon as you update your content, it can be fed via RSS feed to other websites online as well as to any aggregators that are constantly being updated with your product information or news. This will in turn drive customers back to your site if they see a product or event they may be interested in. The idea is that if you constantly provide RSS readers updates from your site, they will see that your site is regularly being refreshed with new content. If browsers see a new wine that they are interested in, they will link back to your site to view, and hopefully purchase this product.
Another way that RSS feeds can be beneficial is for links to news and events. Just as in the case of a news website or a blog, if your winery website has a lot of updated information an RSS feed can stream all of this in to other sites. In the wine business these are websites such as localwineevents.com or winebusiness.com. The idea is that by enabling an RSS feed you can save a lot of time because you don’t have to manually update all of these sites yourself. RSS feeds can also send updated recipes to pair with your wines to your favorite food websites or vice versa. You can learn a lot by learning how to use these feeds to keep sending out updated information about your own winery as well as bringing in information about other wines. All of this will eventually help spread your online content across many sites without even having to bring people to your own website, yet.
Remember, the most important thing is to make sure that the RSS feed you are syndicating is an extension of your site. Make sure it contains all pertinent information about your winery. Having a variety of information will guarantee that your content stays fresh and people will continue to link back to your website and online wine store based on this RSS content.
There is so much information on the web (too much?) that some kind of filtering tool is needed. RSS is a huge success because it is such a tool, helping users condense information. Think of an RSS feed as the executive summary of what’s new on a website.
If this may all sound a bit overwhelming, just take it slowly. Before starting to use RSS as a method to share your information – as a ‘publisher’ - you should try using RSS as a reader to discover its full benefits and better understand how you can later use it as a marketing tool. One easy method to learn how to use an RSS aggregator is by setting up all of your favorite blogs and news websites to feed in to your Google account so that when you log in you can see all the top relevant articles of the day. This will help your understand why these feeds can be beneficial to syndicate content in to one place.