Do Marketers Really Need RSS?

The recent Forrester Research study, which claims that only 2% of online households in North America use RSS, took the internet marketing world by storm. Does this data really mean that marketers can still afford to ignore this channel?

Soon after the Forrrester study became public, I received a press enquiery asking whether marketers should be interested in RSS now that so few online adults use it.

Is this the correct question to ask? Let's take a look at the bigger picture ?


The Forrester study is just one of those available and cannot be considered as the only relevant study, although it was conducted on a sample of 68,000 households.

Jupiter Research estimates RSS penetration at 12% of the American online population, while the latest report from PEW shows that 9% of the American online population has a good idea of what RSS is. An October 2004 PEW study actually estimated RSS penetration at 5%.

It is also important to understand that Forrester data does not include those that might not even be aware they are using RSS, especially through services such as My.Yahoo, which is actually the most popular RSS reader.

Also, at the same time, Forrester Vice President Henry Harteveldt says that »RSS is critical for any organization that wants to reach out to people under the age of 30«.


Regardless of the numbers we put our faith in, the future growth of RSS is without question. Microsoft just recently announced full RSS support in the next edition of their Internet Explorer browser and full RSS integration in the next edition of their operating system, the Windows Vista.

Once RSS becomes easily available to most internet users out-of-the-box and becomes as widely spread as bookmarks, its adoption will grow at an incredible rate. Microsoft has now made sure this in fact will happen.

Consequently, the time for marketers to not only become interested in RSS but also master it is now. Those that test and discover the best possible ways of using RSS for marketing will be ahead of their competition once everyone starts using RSS.

Furthermore, since RSS implementation can actually be free of any charge, there's no reason not to start providing your content in RSS feeds now.


Microsoft and Yahoo! aren't the only big players to show support for RSS. Google recently launched RSS advertising as part of their Google AdSense program, giving publishers reason to start their own RSS feeds to generate direct revenues.

Those that depend on Google AdSense for part or all of their online revenues actually need to provide RSS feeds, or stand to lose some of those revenues due to their visitors switching to sites and feeds from their competitors.

Face it, today many users are already starting to request publishers provide them with RSS to subscribe to their content. This trend will only continue, with many users selecting RSS as their primary channel of receiving and reading online content.


All marketers today are experiencing e-mail delivery problems, constantly wondering whether their messages are getting through or not. Simply put, e-mail can no longer be relied on.

For one, offering your content via RSS as a supplement to e-mail will help you make certain that at least a portion of your visitors, those that decide for the RSS option, will be receiving all of your content without any doubt.

Lockergnome.com decided to start pushing RSS instead of e-mail some time ago, and as a result saw that their RSS feeds are outperforming e-mail when it comes to clickthrough rates for about 500%. Also an interesting fact, they today have 5 times more RSS subscribers than e-mail subscribers.

And two, for your most important content updates, RSS really is becoming a must, especially if you need to be in contact with your existing customers, partners and other key audiences. If you want to be 100% certain that your messages reach your audience, RSS is the way to go.


But all of the above don't even touch all the reasons why marketers should start using RSS today ?

a) RSS will help you generate additional traffic and reach new audiences. Considering the low cost of RSS implementation, this is reason enough to get started with RSS today.

b) RSS helps you to easily get your content published on other sites, thus generating you more credibility and visitors.

c) As a publisher you can use RSS to display content from other sources, thus making your site more relevant and interesting to your existing visitors.

And the list goes on and on.

RSS may not be mainstream yet, but it provides enough advantages even today to make it a must-choice for marketers.

By Rok Hrastnik

Using RSS Feeds to Set Off a Traffic Explosion

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is the perfect answer to your needs for sharing and distributing content. The way this works is webmasters can share bits of code with one another that give them access to the others forums, newsletters, blogs, information, news, and the like. When this information is shared, it can create a massive increase in traffic. Read the following suggestions regarding RSS feeds and increasing traffic for your website to decide if this is the right marketing tool for you.

Tip #1 Large Sites with Advertising

For these types of sites, like Forbes, Disney, and the like, RSS feeds do in fact increase traffic. This is really a great way to boost traffic for these types of sites so if you are the webmaster of a similar site then trying RSS feeds as a way to increase traffic is a good idea.

Tip #2 Affiliates and Small Sellers

If you are an individual depending on affiliate programs to generate cash for your website, or if you sell your own products, then RSS feeds are a great tool to use to generate more income. You can use RSS to provide interesting news links which will keep your pages fresh and attract additional search engine traffic. If you are a small business and need more traffic and visitors, try using RSS feeds to display fresh, on topic news and see if it boosts your targeted traffic.

Tip #3 Evaluate RSS

RSS allows you to publish your content on other people's websites, so consider creating a feed that contains details about the products you offer and submit it to the major RSS feed directories. Give your feed some time to be picked up by various resources, and you should experience a traffic surge simply by adding RSS to your bag of internet marketing tactics..

RSS feeds set off a traffic explosion for some websites and for others it simply serves to redirect traffic. In order to make the best decision about RSS feeds you need to have all of the information and test whether or not RSS is working well for your site. Give RSS a try and test it, if for some reason it works against you, simply stop using it. With RSS, don't expect your traffic to quadruple overnight... but you should see results in no time at all!

By Michael Turner

17 Mistakes Professionals Make with Their Blogs

Are you getting results from your business blog? Is it getting harder for you to spend time on your blog because you're just not seeing how it is going to pay off? If so, you're not alone. Hundreds of blogs are started each day and many of them are abandoned after several months because it takes time and energy to keep a good business blog going.

Make no mistake, blogs are a great tool for building community, interacting with potential clients, and marketing your services. And, it's not enough to set one up and post occasionally. You have to use it effectively to drive traffic and gain readership.

We've discovered several common mistakes professionals make with their blogs. Mostly, they aren't using some the features available to them with their blogging software, because it hasn't been sufficiently explained. Eyes glaze over with the mention of RSS, pinging, trackbacks and permalinks. Professionals may be ignoring these things, hoping they don't really need to know. But they do if they want results from their business blog.

Here's a list of what we found on a recent trip around the professional business blogosphere:


1. Not posting frequently enough. (Recommended: 2-3 times a week.)

2. Content is not focused, and the target audience is not clearly defined.

3. Posting articles that are too long, instead of using extended post features.

4. Not linking profusely (because the professional isn't researching their field on the internet).

5. Poor spelling, bad grammar and typos.


6. No name of author in tag line or on side bar.

7. No author photo.

8. No signature or name in the footer; no way to tell who wrote post on a multi-author site.

9. No subscription form; no way to get blog updates through RSS or email.

10. No way for readers to leave comments and use trackbacks.

11. Too many categories or none at all.

12. No information about their business services and products.

13. Calendars for no reason at all (what is the point of those calendars anyway?).


14. Blog isn't submitted to blog directories.

15. Not pinging each time a new post is published.

16. Not using trackbacks referring or linking to other blogs.

17. No blogroll or list of favorite blogs or websites.

If you're considering using a blog to build your business, optimize it by taking time to learn the features and steps that will ensure success. A blog is like any other marketing tool - you've got to use it correctly to get positive results.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Get an ebook and take the time to learn about your blog software or hosting provider.

2. Hire a professional blog expert to coach you on how to rev up your blog.

By Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff

What Is A Blog? - A Beginners Guide to Understanding Blogs

A blog is short for weblog, which simply means a website that is updated frequently with new information and is organized by date and submission. Blogs are typically a way of journalizing information whether it be personal, business, or what have you. It's like an editorial and a journal all mixed together and available online for constant updates and submissions.

As a beginner, you probably want to know more about blogs and why people are using them.

Blogging started out when the Internet was new and the individuals who were technology savvy found it fun and entertaining to post different things they found on the web for other people to visit and enjoy. It caught on quickly and a community of blogs developed, allowing people to read other peoples blogs. As time went on, new technology was developed that allowed even the non-techie to create their own blog and join the blog culture.

Blogs are popular because they relay experiences, interesting thoughts, comments, photos, web links, and plenty of other information that people find interesting. Today, blogging is really popular and many people will send you a link to their blog so you can keep up with their experiences such as vacations, studies, pregnancies, and any other thing you can possibly think of.

What started out as a way to navigate the web and figure out all of the newness that was the Internet of the early '90s, turned into a way for people to journalize their experiences, share photos, and keep people up to date on their lives. In response to the popularity of blogs, many websites launched software and free sign-ups for blogs so anyone could have their own blog and share their experiences with the entire world.

And so, blogging has continued to grow and weblogs have multiplied into the millions. In fact, there are so many blogs on the web that you can practically become part of your own community with people worldwide, sharing your life, experiences, and thoughts with people you would never have met. Blogs truly are linking people together and they are an amazing phenomenon.

If you are interested in blogging, all you have to do is join one of the many blog websites that will allow you to set up your own account and have your own blog space on the web, giving you a personal space to share photos, experiences, stories, links, and basically anything else that you care to share. Many people even find that writing blogs are excellent stress relievers and quite cathartic, so you might receive some additional benefits from your blog than just the joy of sharing your personal information. Go online today and find a blog website where you can set up an account and get started!

By Michael Turner

Should My Home Business Have a Blog?

It's fair to say that blogging has taken the Internet by storm over recent years. And it's no surprise that today there are hundreds of thousands of new blogs being launched every day.

But as a home-based business owner, should I have a blog?

To put it bluntly, if you conduct any part of your business over the internet, then Yes, you should have a blog.

So what is a blog?

Wikepedia describe a blog as ..... a weblog (usually shortened to blog) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles (normally in reverse chronological order). Although most early weblogs were manually updated, tools to automate the maintenance of such sites made them accessible to a much larger population, and the use of some sort of browser-based software is now a typical aspect of "blogging".

You might be thinking that to set up a blog is far too advanced for me, but that is furtherest from the truth. Blogger.com is a Google-owned hosted blogging platform that is 100% free to use and literally takes only minutes to set up and start posting.

Secondly, you might be thinking it's going to cost too much. Wrong! The only cost is your normal web hosting. You don't even have to purchase a new domain for your blog. It can be easily attached as a sub-domain to your current business website eg: http://blog.MyBusiness.com or as a directory: www.MyBusiness.com/blog/.

So why should your home-based business have a blog? Will it benefit me?

The truth is, a blog is just one part of your marketing strategy, although it can quite easily end up being the most valuable and cost-effective way of marketing your business to new and existing clients.

Come to see your blog as a means of getting closer to your intended market.

With a blog, you are giving your home business a personality. You are chatting informally with your market and building that much sought after long-term relationship and trust.

With credibility and trust being what separates successful home business to those that fail, a well-delivered blog can help build a strong rapport with your customers, via you offering insights into your business and your industry. In a low-pressure setting (ie: there should be no hard selling at all), you are networking with your customers in a way that humanizes your business.

So how can a blog work for my home business?

Let's take an example. Your business (which by the way, you run from home) sells PDA add-ons.

By including a blog as an addition to your e-commerce site you could deliver news, facts, figures, views ... in fact, anything to do with your industry.

You can have your rant and raves on topics close to you. You could offer inside tips on using PDA's. You could provide links to other sites of interest that your customers would appreciate.

Your market will love you for your openness and willingness to chat informally, and in time you become perceived as an expert in your field.

But a word of warning. Don't start up a blog just to push sales, offering little but mere "buy from me now" posts. This is a sure-fire way of actually losing credibility.

If you view a blog as a way of communicating better with your customers (ie: talking 'with them' rather than 'to them') then you are well on your way to blogging success and more importantly ... business success.

By Martin Neumann

RSS Feeds Just Got Better!

We all know that in the world of online internet marketing we need our sites to get good quality targeted traffic on a daily basis. Whether we are just trying to improve our web site traffic just in general or as a specific need to increase our revenue from affiliate programs and adsense the life blood of our business is and always will be quality laser targeted visitors.

So in order to produce high quality web sites we all needed to fill our web site pages with good content rich features and articles, this being a two-fold strategy. Not only do we need high quality content to please our visitors and hopefully get them to return to our sites in the future, good quality content also seduced the major search engines into sending their bot crawlers to our sites on a daily basis and thus ensuring that our web sites were placed and ranked well in their search results. After all, well-ranked web sites in search engine results equals more high quality laser targeted visitors and the cycle continues.

In our quest to fulfil the needs of this web content rss feeds came to the rescue, known by some as Rich Site Summary, rss feeds offer a means of placing a link on your web site from a feature source of interest and this will usually be updated daily by the owner with new features and articles. This is a giant leap forward as far as web content is concerned and enables many web site owners to produce high quality web sites with fresh daily content of interest to their visitors.

Placing an rss feed on your web pages now means that your site is continualy updated daily with all the latest news and views of interest to your site visitors and members, ensuring that visitors not only have a site worth visiting but book marking and visiting again on a regular basis.

This will produce the life blood of any website constant and improving web traffic.

By Terry Till

The Blog Revolution: How To Use Blogs to Generate Solid Web Profits

Blogs were originally only meant to be 'Web Logs', or personal journals for members of on-line communities to stay in touch, sort of like 'underground news media'. But, it didn't take long for net-repreneurs (internet entrepreneurs) to catch on to their popularity and to find ways to use them to make money. The human mind is infinitely creative and nothing really stays the same.

This awesome entrepreneurial spirit transmogrified Blogs into what they are today: very powerful marketing weapons that have almost made some other forms of advertising, redundant. It never ceases to surprise me how ingenious people are when it comes to finding new ways to generate cash flow, particularly in web marketing - what a power-house!! It leaves real-world business for dead (in my opinion).

Traditional safelists are becoming somewhat threadbare. Isn't it amazing how quickly business changes on the 'Net, and isn't it weird how safelist people 'spin their wheels' by posting, posting, posting, when most messages go to 'junk' in-boxes to be automatically deleted. You can send out a whole lot of messages with safelists, but only a tiny percentage are likely to be actually read by a real person. Maybe that's why email traffic is threatening to choke the Internet. Because of this, many canny web business people have now shifted to Blogs as their main tool for promotion. Many others, like me - who continue to believe that safelists have a role (when properly used) -have made Blogs a valuable extra facility in their marketing toolboxl.

Blogs have become so popular because they are so very user-friendly for advertising. They are practical, easy to set up and very convenient to use. Keeping content up to date is very easy for webmasters who otherwise would have to spend hours uploading and downloading files. Be warned, however, that setting up a 'Free' Blog, will mean you will have a lot of other people's ads on it (There's no such thing as a 'free lunch'). It's always worth paying because, yes, you get what you pay for.

Anyway, There are probably five key methods (and a whole lot more) you can use to ensure that Blogs pump up your web profits.

1. BLOGS ARE MAGNETS FOR SEARCH ENGINES: Go on, get on to Google and, whatever topic you search, you'll inevitably see that the search engines have thrown up a number of Blogs in the top ten results. This is because Blogs are constantly showing fresh, new and key word friendly content just like your web pages should; that's a Blog's very reason for being. Imagine the value to you of having your own Blog pop in the top end of search results. The ubiquitous search engines clamor to highlight fresh, appropriate content - they love it. Constantly re-newed and freshened Blogs leave stale, ageing (and rarely updated) web sites for dead.

2. BLOGS LOVE TO LINK TO EACH OTHER: Yes, Blogs love to stick together, creating networking 'heaven'. Just one link on your Blog could see visitors drop in from all over the place. Wow - visitors queueing to click your links; how powerful is that for an advertising and traffic generating system. Awesome.

3.YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL APPRECIATE REGULARLY HEARING FROM YOU: You see, Blogs today have this great 'comment' facility which means your people - your customers - can ask you questions and give you valuable feedback almost immediately. This is almost like a 'chat' system, and is quicker than email. Forget about having to manipulate your source codes, Blogs make this unnecessary. Blogs have an amazing comment system that allows your customers to immediately post feedbacks and queries. And that's what service on the net is all about today - quick responses, dependable advice and getting what you want, when you want. Now. And Blogs can do it.

4. PUMP UP YOUR ADSENSE PROFITS: If you're into Pay Per Click marketing, well Blogs are ideal for you. Then can stimulate even more regular traffic than your basic garden variety web site. Google AdSense, god bless 'em, even lets Blog owners show as many as three appropriate ads, and these must relate to your theme and content, on their Blog pages. It's Blogging marvelous!! Here's the key reason why your Blog should have a 'niche', a specific theme, a targeted audience. Take time to give some thought to this when you set up a Blog. What about AdSense? The more visitors - and they're likely only dropping in because of what you specifically offer - who click on your Blog's Adsense ads, the more income you can earn.

5. BLOGS ARE A DREAM FOR AFFILIATE MARKETERS: Like me, I just bet you are enrolled in more affiliate programs than you can count. The problem is how to continue to promote all of them. ANSWER - You can easily use Blog 'reviews'. Simply design each Blog entry around the particular affiliate program you want to focus on that day. Extol the virtues of the program, product, service or what-ever, give good advice about the PROs and the CONs (this objectivity impresses the hell out of potential buyers who are usually pleased with honesty) and include your affiliate link, almost as an after-thought. This is not hard-sell territory. This is the 'soft-sell' Most 21st century people run a mile from 'hard sellers' but they will take time to listen if they believe you are giving good, solid, valuable advice. Providing such good, valuable info encourages your people to come back for more. Hey, you don't even need to create an individual page for every affiliate program because Blogging makes this unnecessary. What a time saver!!

Whew. Blogs do get me a bit excited. And these tips are only the tip of the iceberg. I am sure you can be creative in the marketing use of your Blogs because they have enormous potential. Just check out the exponential growth of Blogs today and you'll see what I mean. If you want fresh Blog ideas, all you have to do is cruise through a few of them. Check out what the pros are doing and, do the same. Remember, imitation is the ultimate form of flattery.

Don't let anyone try to tell you that the bottom is falling out of web marketing. The awesome growth and popularity of Blogs shows that they could not be more wrong.

By Happy Blogging!!