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What is RSS and How it Works with WordPress

RSS, often referred to as “Really Simple Syndication,” is a technology which connects readers to content. Although it’s not as popular as it once was, RSS is still often used to share content among a vast number of readers.

Many unique platforms allow users to access these syndicated feeds, which in turn alerts those individuals to new content. Applications such as Netvibes facilitate these connections as an RSS reader. It’s like getting all of your news in one single location from sites you choose to follow.

A good way to think about RSS is having your own content channel. It’s similar to how YouTube displays video content to subscribers. But instead of video, it’s website content.

Exploring the Role of RSS

When you publish new content on a website, the RSS feed pushes notifications across the Internet to those who are subscribed to your “channel.” This is often done in the form of readers as in the one I mentioned earlier. However, some RSS systems are set up to use browser notifications or even email.

This means content is shared almost the instant it is published in WordPress. Readers are constantly kept in the loop each time a new article is created. For many, this results in an influx of traffic shortly after hitting the “Publish” button.

If you’re a blogger or have a blog accompanying a business website, this influx of traffic may result in greater income. Because there are many ways to make money from a website, any boost of traffic can help put money in the bank.

How to Use RSS for Syndication

One of the biggest benefits regarding RSS is how easy it is to set up. For instance, you can quickly add a custom RSS feed to your WordPress website and start syndication today.

WordPress isn’t the only platform that can promote your feed, either. In fact, a lot of blog submission sites use RSS to share your content with other readers on their system. For instance, you can connect your site to something like Blogarama.com and drive a bit of traffic. Just keep in mind some of these submission sites require payments for business use.

Another popular use for RSS on WordPress is through something like OneSignal. This platform sends browser-based push notifications based on the RSS feed of your website. So when you publish a new piece of content, followers will see a message on their screen as well as the post’s featured image thumbnail.

OneSignal

Syndication is possible whether someone is on a desktop computer or using a hand-held device. In fact, you can find a variety of RSS readers for Android and iOS devices. This means your marketing efforts can engage people no matter what device they use to access the Internet.

Examining the Benefits of RSS

The primary benefit of RSS is to reach an audience who is not currently accessing your website. Before RSS, web creators had to wait for visitors to come to them. Now, you can reach those individuals even if they are currently accessing a completely different website.

It’s this engagement that is the greatest strength for RSS. It promotes loyalty among visitors, further connects people with content and has great potential for increasing visits to the website. Because individuals are already subscribed and interested in your content, the quality of the visit also increases.

Why do people subscribe to magazines both digital and in print? Most of them do so because they want to read the content. The RSS feed works in the same way. Instead of advertising to people who may or may not use your site, the RSS feed centers on those who are more likely to interact with your content because they are the ones who “subscribed.”

Once the initial setup in WordPress is done, the entire process is automated. This means it’s far easier to maintain than many other forms of advertising. It’s perhaps one of the more cost-effective solutions for content marketing.

Promoting an RSS Feed

While an RSS feed can be self-sustaining, there’s nothing wrong with promoting it to engage an even wider audience. After all, you want as many people to read your content as possible.

What can you do to promote your feed?

  • Add the RSS icon to WordPress.
    A lot of developers will promote RSS by adding an icon and link to the feed. Users can then access it directly or instruct feed readers to pull the data from the link.
  • Add the site to directories.
    I mentioned using sites like Blogarama. However, there are many others that will distribute your content to people interested in your niche. It’s worth the effort to submit them especially since many sites are free to use.
  • Use social media.
    Social media plays a major role in life today. There’s nothing wrong with periodically reminding people on sites like Facebook and Twitter that your RSS feed is live.
  • Install push notifications.
    Many push notification platforms operate using RSS feeds. Essentially, the RSS feed of your website tells the push system there is a new piece of content. It then distributes the post to anyone who is subscribed to your content.

This is only a handful of ways to promote your RSS feed. Be creative and discover other ways you can use your syndication to your advantage. A lot of developers will use a plugin to add the RSS icon to the sidebar or footer.

RSS Icon

Get More Out of the RSS Feed

Out of all the ways you can market content, the RSS feed is perhaps one of the easiest and cost-efficient ways. This is especially true if you install plugins like OneSignal. WordPress is an incredibly flexible and versatile system. Get everything you can out of it to promote success.

How do you engage your readers after publishing new content? What are your favorite forms of content marketing?

Author: Kaumil Patel

Kaumil Patel is the Chief Operating Officer of GreenGeeks and has over 13 years of experience in the web hosting industry working for and owning web hosting companies. Kaumil’s expertise is in marketing, business development, operations, acquisitions and mergers.

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