Q: I really don't know what that means, or how one goes about using it. Could you explain?
A: Marilyn –
Thanks for the question! RSS is Really Simple Syndication. It allows you to create a news feed that your fans can see in a feed reader like Google, Bloglines, FeedDemon, NetNewsWire or others (pictured). It is like having your newspaper delivered right into your Inbox.
I follow close to 100 different sites – sometimes more, depending on my client needs. It would be impossible for me to visit each and every site every day. RSS – or news feeds – allow me to view these sites in one place, skim the latest news and move on with my day.
Benefits to readers: Web site and blog updates are sent to one place, whether a feed reader like Google Reader, or to an Inbox, which streamlines the update process. Feeders allow you to peruse updates at your leisure, and find out what is happening at sites that are blocked by super Web filters are work places. Fans will also not be inundated with emails about updates to your site, which can be a major turn-off.
Benefits to you: RSS feeds can be imported into your Facebook and other social networking accounts, which means less time cross-promoting yourself online. New readers can find you when they do general searches for your genre in their feed reader. (I found several new authors by typing in "paranormal suspense.") RSS also helpa with Search Engine Optimization, or how search engines find you.
Where to get feed widgets: Every blog program offers RSS feed automatically. You can also create them at Feedburner.com, or get a widget for several readers (pictured) at WidgetBox.com or RSSWidget.WebHost.org. If you have trouble, ask a fellow blogger for help.