Promoting Your Website Using Feeds.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

One of the ways to promote your website is by providing fresh content regularly and announcing it by the use of feeds. Feeds are a very useful way of distributing fresh content to your visitors and attracting their attention when new stuff is added. They consist of a file (or more) in which you put a summary of the latest content on your website, using a specific format (the most used are RSS and Atom), that allows you to add more information like icons, dates of addition, summaries, URLs, etc. All this information can be read by feed readers, which will alert their users when the content has been updated.
The Goodies

Using feeds will have several side effects that will affect the incoming traffic of your website. Besides getting the visitors back when your content is updated, feeds will enaable your website to be listed in hundreds of feeds directories. While regular directories list only one link per website, feeds directories will display one link for each item in your feed (usually from 10 to 15 items in all).

Among the most popular formats you will find Atom and RSS. You may be asking yourself: “By picking one of these formats will I reach a bigger audience? Will I get more users if I use the three of them?”. The answer to both questions is no. Every modern reader and/or aggregator is able to read the two formats, and speaking of directories, only about a 2% of them is only accepting the RSS format.

So now you have to pick one to use in your website… which one will it be? In my opinion, the best option is Atom. RSS is an older format that was born from the RDF (Resource Description Framework) standard. It’s been updated several times and presented important incompatibility issues in each update. Even its name has been changed many times (as well as the people who maintained it): Rich Site Summary for version 0.91, RDF Site Summary for versions 0.9 and 1.0, and Really Simple Syndication for version 2.0 (take note that the versions are not consecutive). All these facts speak of a very conflictive standard.

On the other hand, Atom was born with one objective: to put an end to years of conflicts, dificulties and inadecuacies in the feeds formats (primary RSS). For this reason (and many others that come as a result of this) I believe Atom to be the most appropriate standard for feeds

Creating feeds using feeds generators

Feeds have another good side: they don’t have a bad side! The effort of creating a feed can be conveniently replaced by the use of feeds generators. Better yet, you can find many FREE feeds generators online and generate your feeds with just a few clicks. For example, offers a free service of feeds generation that can create your feed in a couple of minutes.
Submitting your feeds to directories

Once your feed is up and ready, one thing you can’t overlook is to submit it to the feeds directories. The submission process is pretty much like the submission to other directories

Create a list of directories

Search in your favorite search engine for terms like “feeds directories”. Among the results, you will find some pages with lists of feeds directories which you can extract and add to your own personal list. Once you think you have enough directories in your list, you’re ready to take the next step.

Prepare some information

Every directory is different as different are the persons who built them, but speaking in general, they will ask for more or less the same information. Having this is mind, there is a set of data you can prepare in a text file to make things easier at the submission time:
  • The URL of the feed.
  • Its title (brief and accurate).
  • A description of its content.
  • A set of related keywords.
  • Your contact information (name and e-mail).
  • Other information related to your website (not to the specific feed) like URL, title, description, etc.
The submission process
Once you gathered all the necessary information and using the list of directories you have collected, you can start submitting one directory at a time. Once you enter a directory you will have to find how to access the submit form to fill it out with the information it requests.
Feeds are another method to promote your website.Even if they don’t take you directly to the top, they will certainly move you a step forward into that direction.


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