If you’re struggling to keep your website fresh and updated, consider adding RSS feeds to automatically populate it with quality content.
The big bugbear of running a modern website is content. Content! Everyone demands you provide content. Content to market yourself, content to attract new readers, content to establish yourself as an expert and a professional. For some of us, creating content on a regular basis is no sweat – we write posts, we tweet, we create videos and it’s effortless in a sense.
For others, it’s more difficult. I know plenty of translation professionals who have launched their own freelance businesses who complain that they didn’t launch a writing site, so why are they expected to write all these articles? Life isn’t fair, though, and facts are facts: You have to keep your website fresh with useful content. It’s a fact of modern business.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to force yourself to write if writing doesn’t come naturally to you. There’s another option – using RSS feeds to populate you site. It’s easier than you think.
What’s an RSS Feed? “RSS” stands for “Rich Site Summary” and it’s basically a stream of XML that encapsulates simple text – usually articles. You can write code that picks up the RSS feed from a website and displays it in any way or on any other site, applying any formatting or other coding you wish.
Plenty of websites have an RSS feed, and tools exist to automatically retrieve new text as it becomes available. This means you can go find an appropriate feed from an authoritative website, add a bit of code to your own, and every time the first website updates its content appears on your site, formatted to match your style. It’s an easy way to keep your site updated and fresh without having to write every day.
Working the Feed
Don’t know how to code an RSS display widget? No worries. Tools exist to do it for you, like Feedroll (http://www.feedroll.com/). It’s very easy to add an RSS feed to your site using Feedroll’s free service:
- Find an appropriate RSS feed. Since I’m in the translation services business, I found the RSS feed from www.translations-news.com.
- Find and copy the RSS link. It will look something like this: http://www.translations-news.com/rss/resume.xml#
- Go to http://www.feedroll.com/rssviewer/ and paste the RSS link into the field.
- Copy the generated script and paste it into the source code of your site.
If you don’t have access to your source code, you’ll have to contact whoever is maintaining your site and ask them to do it for you.
It’s that simple! Now whenever the original site updates with news, it’ll populate to your site, and everyone visiting your site will see fresh appropriate content. Is it as good as fresh, appropriate, original content? No. But if original content isn’t forthcoming, it’s the next best thing, and certainly better than an old, stale website.
Image courtesy ev2.me