Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Using RSS To Explode Website Traffic

by John S

What's better: to get your readers to keep coming back because they remember you, or to have a little automated reminder there, telling them you're here, you've got new stuff, and they should come out and check it out? The answer's obvious.

Website traffic comes when you let your interested readers know that you have something new, interesting, and exciting for them to check out. And one of the easiest ways to do this is through RSS feeds.

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and RSS feeds are nothing more or less than a super-easy way of sharing your content with the owners of other websites, or your own website or mashup, even a fan's own site or desktop via an RSS reader. Adding an RSS is as simple as adding a line or two of code into your HTML. It updates by itself every time the page is accessed.

Does it build traffic? It can - if you use it properly. An RSS feed ideally brings you website traffic of two types: first, it ensures your faithful readers and customers return to your site whenever you have something new.

And second, it brings you new readers from other websites who have picked up your syndication. If you're not careful, though, RSS feeds you supply can backfire, helping others to KEEP your traffic instead of feeding it to you, and drastically dropping your own Google ranking and overall income.

However, it can also take your traffic and feed it to other sites. Why come all the way out to the country to buy your milk when it's for sale at the grocery store? Never make more than a teaser line from your content available via RSS; instead, create excellent content with fantastic titling and make those readers come to your site to read it.

Using RSS Feeds From Other Sites

RSS can help you build real, serious website traffic if you use it in the other direction: to aggregate content from others on your own website. Done well, it can turn your website from a handy information portal to a hub for information of all sites in your niche market. You can experiment with this model by using Squidoo, a free online service that makes it very easy to add RSS feeds, or you can go ahead and throw your RSS on your own site.

When you're using RSS in either direction, keep careful tabs on your website traffic during the transitional period, and go slowly with it. Make sure you track who is using your RSS, and add feeds slowly to your own site so you can see which ones are beneficial and which ones are either redundant or detrimental to your traffic.

If you're using an affiliate model or selling your own product, keep an even closer eye on conversions, and avoid RSS from sites that sell the same product you're selling. Most of all, try to get helpful feedback from your users; what they think about your new RSS models will make the difference between success and failure.

About the Author

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