Does your website provide an RSS feed?
Do you know what RSS is?
Do you care
If you’ve never been interested in RSS, you won’t have a choice very soon. The impending arrival of Internet Explorer 7 could change the way information is searched, distributed and read.
IE7 will make promoting your newsfeed to visitors easier than ever, and subscribing will be as easy as adding a new tab. IE7 will push RSS from a web savvy domain into the mainstream. Hold on tight because RSS is about to explode and your business better prepare for it.
Few people will buy your product or service the first time they visit your website. If you have an RSS feed, you have the opportunity to build trust and confidence over time (see my previous RSS feeds and blogs for more information on how you can use RSS to promote your business).
The use of RSS is expected to explode in use and become such an important content delivery tool as email. The obstacles to understanding how RSS works and knowing what a news aggregator is will be overcome in one big leap.
IE7 is currently in its third stage of beta testing, with the official release expected to be launched before the end of the year. In addition to closing various security vulnerabilities and a bit of paint, the new web browser will include an RSS button bolted to the toolbar. Megan Kidd, Microsoft Windows Product Manager, exclaimed: “We believe RSS is the key to how people will use the Internet in the future.”
The RSS button in the new IE7 browser will light up to visually show if your site is providing a news feed. It is then simply clicking a button and subscribing. This can replace bookmarks as a way for people to register sites of interest to them.
With full RSS support in the new Outlook and Windows Vista, your feeds will soon be delivered directly to your desktop. Why waste your time checking all your bookmarks when you can get updates automatically?
So what does this mean for your business?
The impending spread of RSS could change the way the Internet is used for information. People will increasingly rely on their RSS feeds to receive the latest industry and product news. You don’t waste time walking to the kiosk when you can get the newspaper straight to your door.
The importance of regularly updated content goes beyond just being part of an “organic” SEO strategy. Web users will be much more likely to subscribe to newsfeeds, and this will determine which sites will get the most attention. It will be companies delivering the latest news and articles that will thrive in the new content-driven online world.
As RSS reaches mass market penetration, you may even find it starting to replace email. Since your inboxes are clogged with spam and messages blocked by overzealous junk filters, RSS offers a new way to contact your subscribers.
Mass delivery of content such as newsletters, product updates and industry news can be handled via RSS. This way, it guarantees reaching subscribers and is much more likely to be read.
If you are serious about online marketing and developing relationships with your prospects, you need to start building your RSS strategy. IE7 will be released before the end of the year. At this point, you’ll want to make sure the RSS button lights up every time people come to your page.