RSS may stand for Really Simple Syndication, but launching this feature on your Web site is hardly that simple. Here are some tips via New York Magazine’s product manager Deborah Au-Yeung.
1. Your Site Is Not the Center of Your Market’s Universe In the online medium of the Internet, visitors will go to the sites that hold the most relevant information for them. By creating RSS feeds, we provide a service but also help ourselves in the process by making nymag.com a constant presence in our online reader’s personalized aggregated content and by driving readers back to the Web site regularly.
2. Use Regularly Updated Content for RSS Content that is updated often works best for RSS since readers are most likely checking their RSS aggregators once a day and are drawn to the Web site when they see there are new articles or listings available. Since New York is a weekly magazine, we chose to syndicate content from the most popular topics and columns on our site. RSS feeds will be available for our blogs as well.
3. Educate Your Customers We want to make it easy for readers to access our content and demystify any technology that needs to be used to do so. There are only five items on the FAQ page, but they answer the basic questions of what RSS is, how to use it, where to get a news reader, and how to add feeds to a it [Bloglines, Newsgator, and Pluck are some examples of readers].
4. Make Ongoing Production Easy We looked at the out-of-the-box RSS functionality available from our content management system, which met about 80 percent of our needs. The rest required some additional programming to align with our editorial standards and provide tools that made it easy for the staff to produce the RSS feeds. We wanted to automate that and re-use as much of the metadata from our content management system as possible. Your organization will need to put resources up front to build the RSS feeds, but once they are built, they should run automatically.