Considerations for Website RSS Feeds.


Website feeds usually entice readers to go to the website.

RSS feeds for a website are designed to do headlines, to do a tease, to entice people to go to the website.

A website RSS feed is an advertisement for the website. The RSS feed usually contains a link back to the website. The feed for the website is a notice or announcement that brings people back to the website.

An RSS feed for a website is like a movie preview. The movie preview shows just enough of the movie to make the person want to see the movie.

For a website, you want to bring the feed reader back to the website where the visitor can purchase a product, review your services, read your latest article, or get acquainted with your business.

The goal of the website RSS feed is to entice the subscriber to click the link and come to your website.

Website feeds answer "What's New?"

RSS Feeds are a "what's new" mechanism.

RSS Feeds are a way of sending a "what's new" message so the recipient knows it is time to revisit the website.

How does that work with a website?

Some websites are relatively static. Some websites are online brochures that do not change much. How does a RSS Feed work for that kind of website?

The answer is simple - it does not. If you have a static website that does not undergo change, there is no reason to have a feed.

What if you wanted to add a regular post and then generate a feed? I would recommend that you consider creating a blog and letting the blog create the RSS feed.

Every website does not need a feed.

The "what's new" does not have to be regular or frequent.

I subscribe to RSS Feeds from software sites that inform me when there is a new software version release. I might get 1 or 2 RSS feed items in a year.

Unlike a blog where some regular updating is recommended, a website feed only has to be sent when there is something new. That could be as little as once or twice in a year.

For a news feed, however, it could be every hour.

Determine the "What's New" for the site.

To create a feed for a website, you must first determine what the feed will contain.

What is going to be the included in the "What's new?".

Differences in Blog and Website Feeds

What's New for Blogs vs. Websites

"What's new" is perfect for a blog, because a blog is a serial set of entries.  One blog entry equals one RSS feed item.

For websites, you must determine the "What's New?"

Partial vs. Full Feed

For a blog, it is certainly viable to do a full feed and include the entire blog entry on the RSS feed.  I read some blogs where I only see the RSS feed.  The entire blog content is contained in the RSS feeds.  Blog feeds often are full feeds.

It is not as viable to do a full feed for a website.  Website feeds can be partial feeds.

Number of Feeds

Websites could easily have more then one feed.  For example, the The New York Public Library has various feeds for events, classes, and exhibitions.

Blogs typically have one feed.  If a blog has more than one feed, it is either the same feed in multiple RSS versions, or one full and one partial RSS feed.

Examples of Website feeds

The goal is to have the "What's New" of sufficient interest for the subscriber to follow the link and go to the website.

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