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Blogging For Dummies® by Shane Birley, Susannah Gardner

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Chapter 11. Reaching Out with RSS

In This Chapter

  • Figuring out what RSS really is

  • Putting RSS to work for your blog

  • Tracking blogs in newsreaders

No fashionable blog would be caught dead without a Web feed. Web feeds, or RSS feeds, are hard to describe (bad for me), but easy to use (good for you!). RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is an easy way for you to distribute your content, such as blog posts and podcasts, to your Web audience. Having an RSS feed on your blog is essential for both accessibility and promotion.

But what is RSS, really? Read on, friend.

If you want to find out more about RSS than I can provide in this chapter, either to get your blog into the world or to pull in other blog content, consider reading Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds For Dummies, by Ellen Finkelstein (Wiley Publishing).

Getting the Goods on Web Feeds

RSS is one of the hottest technologies on the Internet today. Since 2003 — which is when blogs truly reached mainstream awareness — there's been an exponential adoption rate of RSS. Companies like Mozilla, Microsoft, IBM, and many others are finding new and interesting ways to use RSS feeds to share information both with their Web sites and with internal communication processes.

Put simply, a Web feed is a list of your blog posts designed to be read by software, not by humans. It's formatted using the XML markup language (eXtensible Markup Language), an Internet standard that allows your prose to be marked in a way that software applications can understand ...

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