Archive for RSS feed

Why use WordPress (self-hosted)?

There are many great reasons to use a self-hosted version of WordPress for developing your website and blog.  Here are my top 10:

  1. Google loves WordPress (and blogs in general) because search engines favor sites that have regularly created fresh content.  See my post on SEO.
  2. WordPress is interactive.  Visitors can comment on pages and posts.  You can create a community around your business with your site.
  3. You can organize content with categories and visitors can view or subscribe to the categories they want to.
  4. You can automatically sync your content to social websites such as Facebook with the RSS feed.
  5. WordPress sites can be translatable into many languages.
  6. WordPress sites are easy to update (far easier than reglular html or Joomla).
  7. Multiple authors and editors can contribute to writing content and posting photos or video (you can DELEGATE!)
  8. You can add PayPal buttons or a shopping cart to monetize your site (you can MAKE MONEY!)
  9. You can embed video from YouTube easily (YouTube is second to Google as a search engine now!)
  10. WordPress is open-source and is constantly evolving (it’s always getting better!)
  11. OK one more: WordPress is easy to learn!

There are more advanced reasons that concern templates, tags and permalinks, but the 10 reasons listed above should satisfy most folks who need a fast and easy way to get their business website up and running.

Here is a screenshot of what WordPress looks like from the back-end:

Live in Nevada County and want to learn more about WordPress in person?  Come to my free class.

Free Facebook tip: shorten your URL

facebook

Facebook Pages are an important piece of your overall social media marketing strategy.  With a Facebook page, you can publish your blog content to Facebook members who have subscribed to your page by becoming a fan.

If you don’t yet have a Facebook Page for your business, I suggest you make one yourself or hire someone to help you make one.  And once you have more than 25 FB fans, you can shorten your Facebook Page url.

Improving the world one post at a time,

-Catherine

The problem with using Feedburner for email marketing

Picture 4

Your WordPress site (or blog) comes with an RSS Feed.  Google’s free Feedburner service takes that feed and converts it to a universal format.  With Feedburner, you can also activate useful tools including a free email subscription form which allows visitors to subscribe to your feed.

The one major drawback with using Feedburner for email marketing is that you cannot edit the email template (which means you can’t add any custom branding besides your photo).  Here is a screenshot of what my most recent Feedburner email looks like:

feedburner_news

Don’t yet have a budget for a premium email marketing service?  I can help you create a custom branded e-newsletter using your WordPress blog (this is what I do with my e-newsletter). Here is what my e-newsletter currently looks like:

e-news

See the difference?  Once the process is set up, you can focus on writing your blog post and then your content will go out by email to your list.  You can save some serious money by going this route instead of hiring someone to custom design your e-newsletter every time you want to publish! Want to get started?

Here to help you make your finest dreams come true,

Catherine

P.S. I can also set up your blog to publish excerpts to Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites with my social media package.  Another great way to maximize your online presence!

RSS Feed 101

Re-printed from: http://www.google.com/support/feedburner/bin/answer.py?answer=79408

RSS Feed 101

What are feeds? I see “RSS”, “XML”, and “Atom” out there, but I don’t know how I might use these links when I find them.

Feeds are a way for websites large and small to distribute their content well beyond just visitors using browsers. Feeds permit subscription to regular updates, delivered automatically via a web portal, news reader, or in some cases good old email. Feeds also make it possible for site content to be packaged into “widgets,” “gadgets,” mobile devices, and other bite-sized technologies that make it possible to display blogs, podcasts, and major news/sports/weather/whatever headlines just about anywhere.

What Does This Mean?

You may recognize the universal feed icon or these “chicklets” from your favorite websites, blogs, and podcasts. These icons represent content in any format – text, audio or video – to which you can subscribe and read/watch/listen using a feed reader. What’s that?

Why is This a Good Thing?

Technology evolution in online publishing has made it really easy to not only publish regular updates to web-based content, but also keep track of a large number of your favorite websites or blogs, without having to remember to check each site manually or clutter your email inbox. You can now streamline your online experience by subscribing to specific content feeds and aggregating this information in one place to be read when you’re ready.

  • Consumer Bottom Line: Subscribing to feeds makes it possible to review a large amount of online content in a very short time.
  • Publisher Bottom Line: Feeds permit instant distribution of content and the ability to make it “subscribable.”
  • Advertiser Bottom Line: Advertising in feeds overcomes many of the shortcomings that traditional marketing channels encounter including spam filters, delayed distribution, search engine rankings, and general inbox noise.

Who publishes feeds?

Most of the biggest names on the web offer content feeds including USATODAY.com, BBC News Headlines, ABCNews, CNET, Yahoo!, Amazon.com (including a podcast!), and many more. Google publishes feeds as part of many of our services; for example, you can get a feed of new items for any search you make in Google News. In addition, hundreds of thousands of bloggers, podcasters, and videobloggers publish feeds to keep themselves better connected to their readers, listeners, admirers, and critics. Apple, through its iTunes Music Store, offers tens of thousands of audio and video podcasts for download, each of which is powered by a feed.

How do I read feeds?

If you want to browse and subscribe to feeds, you have many choices. Today, there are more than 2,000 different feed reading applications, also known as “news aggregators” (for text, mostly) or “podcatchers” (for podcasts). There are even readers that work exclusively on mobile devices.

Some require a small purchase price but are tops for ease-of-use and ship with dozens of feeds pre-loaded so you can explore the feed “universe” right away. Free readers are available as well; a search for “Feed reader” or “Feed aggregator” at popular search sites will yield many results. A handful of popular feed readers are listed at the bottom of this page.

A typical interface for a feed reader will display your feeds and the number of new (unread) entries within each of those feeds. You can also organize your feeds into categories and even clip and save your favorite entries (with certain applications).

If you prefer, you can use an online, web-based service to track and manage feeds. Online services give you the advantage of being able to access your feed updates anywhere you can find a web browser. Also, upgrades and new features are added automatically.

How can I publish my own feeds?

If you have a website, blog, audio/video content, or even photos, you can offer a feed of your content as an option. If you are using a popular blogging platform or publishing tool like TypePad, WordPress, or Blogger, you likely publish a feed automatically. Even other non-blogging sites like social photo-sharing service Flickr offer feeds of content you produce that others can retrieve. There are also tools on the market that can help transform traditional web content into the right format for distribution.

FeedBurner’s services allow publishers who already have a feed to improve their understanding of and relationship with their audience. Once you have a working feed, run it through FeedBurner and realize a whole new set of benefits.

And finally, some technical backstory…

The new method for easily distributing online content is often called a web feed and the technical format that makes it possible is called RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary, and/or Rockdale, Sandow, and Southern (Railroad) if you trust the good folks at AcronymFinder.com. RSS is based on XML, a widely used standard for textual information exchange between applications on the Internet. RSS feeds can be viewed as plain text files, but they’re really designed for computer-to-computer communication.

We should point out that RSS is just one standard for expressing feeds as XML. Another well-known choice is Atom. Both formats have their boosters, and it doesn’t appear that consolidation toward a single standard is imminent. However, most feed subscribers simply want fresh content and don’t care at all about the underlying protocol. (FeedBurner helps publishers avoid this quandary with our SmartFeed service, which makes any feed format readable on any subscriber device.)

Resources:

Feed-Related Backgrounders

Popular Feed Readers

Applications
Online Services
Podcast Readers

Use your WordPress RSS feed to get your content on the iPhone

rhino

Rhino Apps is a paid service that let’s you use your RSS feed to deliver your content to iPhone users.  The first month is free, and then costs $19.99/month with no contract or obligation to continue. Take a tour with their video here:

Rhino Apps Tour from Noah Hamann on Vimeo.

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