As if to demonstrate the importance of RSS on marketing results, our feed failed recently.

We estimate that RSS died on the 27th February, and you can see the dramatic effect on the results for our blog:

RSS Effect On Page Views

There has been a huge drop in organic search engine traffic.

RSS can be a really useful tool to help make your website work harder.

There are a number of business uses for RSS technology, I’ve jotted a few for you here:

  1. Communicating to your website visitors, customers and employees. RSS can be delivered through a range of tools, for example:
    • Using portal home pages such as iGoogle, My Yahoo and My MSN. Your users can add RSS newsfeeds from your website and view the latest news each time they visit their favourite portal page.
    • Via email. Feedburner gives publishers the option to publish email newsletter versions or RSS newsfeeds, and services like or RSSForward allow users to enter a feed to convert it to an email newsletter.
    • Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Internet Explorer 7 now have RSS Newsfeed management built in.
    • Other RSS Newsfeed readers include: Bloglines, NewzCrawler, FeedDemon and SharpReader.
  2. RSS can increase your traffic by improving your search engine rankings. Your RSS newsfeed may be re-published on other websites, with a link to your original post.
  3. Taking in industry newsfeeds can help keep you informed of relevant issues. You can then comment and keep your website, blog or email newsletters fresh, relevant and up-to-date. Increasing the value of a subscription to your service.
  4. Some RSS services (publishers, RSS readers, or email services) offer advertising space. You can use this space to increase the prominence of your brand, or generate revenue by offering this space below your news as advertising.

To check whether you have RSS on you site, have a look in the address bar of your browser. For example in Firefox you should see a small RSS feed icon next to the website address:

RSS News Feed

or Internet Explorer, you should see the same icon in orange on the menu bar:

RSS News Feed in IE

(If it is grey, then there are no feeds for that page)

Blog systems, and many modern content management systems have RSS built in to their functionality. But if you don’t have it already, speak to your website manager/developer, as it’s relatively simple to implement and can be very effective for your long term online marketing plans.

For a definition of RSS, have a look at the BBC’s explanation, it sums it up really well.