January 20, 2009

What is an RSS Feed and Why Syndicate Your Blog?

Blog_Format Blog feeds or RSS feeds allow for feed readers to access a site that automatically looks for new content from all of their favorite blogs. By syndicating your blog through an RSS feed you can allow your readership to access all of your new blog posts without requiring them to actually visit your blog. They can still click through to visit your blog, especially for the purpose of leaving comments or participating in the conversation, but not having to visit your site every day in search of new content is a great way to improve your readership. Most people who are reading blogs online in this day and age are using RSS feed readers to allow them to keep up with syndicated content from all of their favorite websites and blogs, so if you are not already syndicating your blog through an RSS feed, then you are probably depriving yourself of a large proportion of readers that you were completely unaware of.

So what is an RSS Feed?

Simply put, an RSS feed allows for easy online content distribution. RSS feeds can be read as plain text files, but they are actually designed to be read through RSS feed readers, and there are a wide variety of different RSS feed readers to choose from. Readers can vary from being standalone applications, to being completely online based web applications.

How can you publish a blog feed?

If you are using a blogging platform like Wordpress, then you are actually in luck because Wordpress has a built in RSS feed functionality that allows you to syndicate your blog posts without even knowing it in certain circumstances. If you are using any other blogging platform, however, you are going to have to look into whether or not the RSS syndicating is being done for you or not. You may have to look for an appropriate plugin to make sure that you can automatically syndicate your blog posts to an RSS feed. To view your Wordpress blog RSS feed, you simply need to navigate to http://www.yourdomainname.com/blog/feed or http://www.yourdomainname.com/feed depending on how you have your blog location set up.

Okay, but what is a feedburner?

Feedburner provide services allowing RSS publishers to expand on the features that are already being provided by their basic feed by burning their feed, which allows for the following benefits:

- Feed burning allows you to view detailed stats about your blog feed readership,
- Feed burning allows your readers to subscribe to your RSS feed easily no matter what feed reader they happen to be using,
- Feed burning allows you to better format your RSS feeds for different directories and readers,
- Feed burning allows you to display your feed burner stats easily.

There are numerous different types of feed burners that you can find and utilize online, as long as you are willing to do a little bit of internet research to find the best feed burner for your needs.

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