Friday, 14 February 2014

Making Sense of this Blog Writing Thing Part Two - News Feeds

                   Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, what are news feeds and why on earth would you want to use them? Good question. Let's explore this a little bit. As we all know, there is a whole heck of a lot of content available to us on the web. How do you make sense of it all? Can you track all your favourite new and information sites without being overloaded? Yes, you can. This is where news feeds come in.

News feeds allow us to keep track of all the best news available at our favourite sources without having to constantly visit different sites. We can subscribe to these various sites, and our feed will aggregate all this information into one place for us. We can literally subscribe to hundreds of sites, and yet we only have to visit one location to keep up to date on all of them.

Feeds are quite simply a great tool in making our online experience less frustrating. If you can make your visitors experience less frustrating why wouldn't you? True, we'd all prefer to have our visitors explore our site in depth, but isn't it better to make sure we stay on their radar? Recognizing that we are all overwhelmed with information saturation, it is far better that we keep our visitors aware of our postings without bombarding them. So how do we get these feeds on our site?

Good news! If you created your site with Blogger, Wordpress, or TypePad your content is automatically fed to the feeds. Do you know how long I searched aimlessly online to figure out how to get my blog on the RSS and ATOM feeds only to find out that it already was? Very frustrating! So, let me save you the trouble. If you use one of the aforementioned sites, you can stop right now. You are already broadcasting your content on these feeds. But should you just leave it at that? I would advise you to do a little more.

Feedburner is a great service that I highly recommend. It's easy to use, and provides useful stats you can follow. You simply go to feedburner.com, type in your blog address in the burn a feed box, and record the results in case you need them at another time. This may come in handy when subscribing to other services such as Triberr. Feedburner also provides you with the potential to track your subscribers. There are clear advantages to understanding your audience.

I hope you have a little better understanding about what this news feed thing is all about. It is always a good idea to provide your visitors with more options. So if your chosen blog platform does not automatically publish your site to the feeds, get over to FeedBurner and take care of business yourself! In the next post we'll look at the use of social media to drive traffic to your site. Thanks for stopping by.