The primary purpose of these two Web 2.0 Marketing tools is to drive traffic to your blog and/or your website. RSS feeds and widgets are very easy to use, cost very little, if anything, and after set-up require no time to maintain. In other words, they work for you in the background while you are doing other things. What could better than this?
RSS is an acronym for the term “Really Simple Syndication.” When a visitor subscribes to your RSS feed it pushes new content to them when something is changed or added rather than them having to remember to keep coming back to your blog or website to check to see if there is anything new.
As we all know, if visitors have to rely on memory to come back to your site, chances are that it will never happen. Therefore, the more people that subscribe to your RSS feeds the more traffic you will have to your site. And because they keep coming back, little by little you are building a relationship with them even if you do not know who they are. These are all good things.
RSS feeds are far more common on blogs than conventional websites. The major reason for this is that new content is usually added to a blog several times a week, while content on a conventional website does not change that much. Therefore, my commentary on RSS feeds is directed primarily to blogs.
Most blogs come with two RSS feeds; one for when a new article is posted and a second if you wish to notified when someone leaves a comment. Both of these are delivered via a “RSS Reader” (the subscriber can choose from many that are available). Through experimentation with my own blog, I have learned a couple of things:
- Most of your blog visitors do not know what an RSS feed is and even if they click to subscribe, they have no idea where to look for updates; and
- Visitors only care about reading the comments posted by others on posts where they have commented.
You can use third party RSS feeds like Feedburner (free from Google) that allow the subscriber to receive updates via a reader or by email. My experience is that about 70% of those subscribing to my RSS feed choose to receive updates by email. You can do the math to determine how it will affect you if you do not offer updates by email. When I added the choice of receiving updates by email, my growth in RSS subscribers more than doubled.
You can also install a plug-in on your blog that will email updates to those leaving comments when others add to the comments. This may bring previous visitors back and a discussion incurs. Comments help your article to rank higher on the search engines.
TIP: Most blog software gives you a choice of posting the entire article in the feed or only a summary. I prefer only a short summary. If you send them the entire article there is no need to come back to your blog. If you can get them back to your blog, there are other features you can use to get them to read some of your other articles.
Finally, RSS feeds are also used for other purposes as well. Using RSS feeds you can automatically import your blog headlines into your LinkedIn profile and other social networking sites.
Widgets are small software applications or “apps” that work on smart phones (e.g. iPhone), iPods, websites and computers. There are many websites where you can build a widget for free or a very low cost. Of course, more complex widgets will cost more.
Allow me to share with you a widget I was reading about the other day. A pet supply company created a widget that resides on your computer desktop. It is a puppy that frolics back and forth across your desktop. Every 90 days the puppy stops it’s frolicking to scratch to remind you to order a new flea collar. Click on the puppy and you are taken to the website where you can order the replacement flea collar. I think this is clever and no doubt dramatically increases traffic to their website.
There are widgets you can create with different types of calculators, calendars with reminders, for RSS feeds, puzzles, clocks, games and just about anything you can imagine. Creating a widget that people will actually use will increase traffic to your blog or website.
Those that enjoyed this article, also enjoyed:
Web 2.0 Online Marketing Series – Overview
The Elements of a Web 2.0 Website
Web 2.0 Blogging For Business
Web 2.0 SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Web 2.0 Email Marketing & Autoresponders
Web 2.0 Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Web 2.0 Online Press Releases & Articles
Web 2.0 Forum & Blog Commenting
Web 2.0 Professional & Social Networking
Web 2.0 Video & Podcasting
Web 2.0 Wikis & Open Source Marketing
Web 2.0 Bookmarking & Reviewing Sites
Web 2.0 Affiliate Marketing Programs
Posted by: Mike Clough