Good RSS Policies For Your Site
As RSS feeds become more popular, everybody has the opportunity of providing dynamic, quality content on their sites. Almost any topic can be presented through an RSS feed. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind in order to optimize your feeds.
Due to the fact that the feeds are automated, you do not have control over the content itself, but over how you present it and the topics that you select for your feeds. The main objective is to present updated news, without having to manually update it all the time.
Remember that although this is content from another site presented on your site, it does not mean that it will take away your originality. You are selecting feeds from different sites on a related topic to present it to your visitors in a summarized and perhaps more organized fashion, related to the main topic of your site.
Some ideas that will help you improve the RSS experience on your site:
1. Make sure your feeds comply with your user’s needs – Remember that you are using feeds to keep your site updated with content automatically. Therefore, make sure that you comply with this objective. If, for example, you are showing the table of contents of a weekly published online Journal, whenever the content changes, so will your feed. Make sure this is what your users expect. If they need access to all the issues, then what you need is a search engine or browser, not an RSS feed. Do not add a new RSS feed for each issue, this defeats the purpose of the automation of the feeds, because you’ll have to manually add feeds each time a new issue is displayed on the original site. RSS feeds are intended to keep our visitors aware whenever something changes on the original content, not of the whole content itself, with all the back issues.
2. Find the appropriate balance in amount of content – Your visitors want a quick idea of what news there is related to a topic, maybe not the whole topic itself. If they want to read about the whole content, the feed will provide them with a link to the site that has the whole article published. Be brief in the amount of information you show, but not exceedingly brief so that the visitor understands what the news is about. On the other hand, if you want to use feeds to populate your site with content, then you will probably lengthen the amount of information to be shown. In both cases, make sure the length of the content complies with your objective.
3. Keep the feed’s topics updated – Although the feeds can update automatically with new content from the original site, you must make sure that the topic itself is updated. For example, if there was an important subject on the news that you wanted to keep your visitors informed about whenever visiting your site, make sure to change the topic when that subject becomes old news.
4. Have a clear objective for the feeds – It’s very important to think about the objective of your feeds before including them on your site. As stated, if you just want to alert your visitors about changes on a certain topic, then perhaps providing just, for example, a table of contents may be enough. On the other hand, if you want to inform them about certain news, the amount of information shown will vary. Knowing exactly what you want to use the feeds for will also help you decide about the styles you will use and the frequency with which you want the feed updated.
In all, RSS feeds have arrived as a perfect solution for many webmasters and website owners. It is a growing tendency that we will probably see a lot for some time to come. If you have already jumped on the RSS bandwagon, keep in mind these simple tips and improve your visitors experience at your site.