Do you own a blog on your website, but are sick and tired of seeing the posts get no traffic? Are you wondering if all of the content you’ve created is even being read or leading to sales?

There is a way to help ensure your website has an audience. Aside from using social media to notify your readers of any updates, there is technology available called RSS, an XML-based communication system short for “real simple syndication”. This was first created back in March 1999 by Dan Libby and Ramanathan V. Guha from Netscape as a means to automatically inform readers of the newest content and information available within the industries they want to keep track of.

That alone sounds handy and, as the name suggests, real simple, but how do you use it? And is it absolutely necessary for use on your website? Let’s go over the basics together.

What is it?

According to Wikipedia, RSS is “a family of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information: blog entries, news headlines, audio, video.” In other words, it’s a way to bookmark your favourite websites so that the latest information from them is sent to you automatically.

Rather than trying to keep track of every bookmark manually to check and see if something new has happened, RSS informs you when such a thing happens without you having to lift a finger using special readers. You save time while getting the information you need from your favourite websites, and you get to choose when to find out more about the latest findings from industries you’re most interested in at your own leisure.

Think of it as hosting and producing your own news feed, similar to how Facebook’s news feed feature works. By “Liking” a page, for instance, you get to see the most immediate updates from your favourite pages or Friends on Facebook the minute you log in. RSS works exactly like this.

How to Use It

For those who think this is a great idea to use already, you can download Feedly or look into other web-based applications that will help you get started on using it.

You can also use your browser to subscribe to websites you want to see in your feed; Firefox and Safari each contain their own special icons in the right-hand side of the browser when you enter a website’s address that will tell you if it has an RSS feed.

E-mail is another means of subscribing to feeds. It’s worth noting that having RSS makes for a handy tool in your e-mail marketing campaign.

Is this Really Necessary?

In terms of your regular everyday life, not really. If you’re too comfortable with finding bookmarks and don’t have that many to worry about, RSS may not be for you. It’s just a handy way to keep informed of website updates from other companies, but it’s not something you need absolutely.

If, however, you do want your own clientele to know that you’ve published a new blog post without having to filter through tens upon tons of other content, or have a new discount available but have little time to post about it on Twitter, then RSS is the way to go. If you still have questions, our professionals at V3 Media are more than happy to discuss it in greater detail. Ask away!