Does my website really need a feed?
Whenever a new technology comes out, there is always a lag for adoption and implementation. In my case, when RSS/Atom feeds came out, I too did not adopt them immediately. Before Google Reader came along, I didn’t use feeds, let alone implement them into my own sites. After researching what an RSS feed really was, I realized that I didn’t only have to learn RSS, I needed to learn XML. I continued to put it off until I realized exactly how much information I obtained through Google Reader, I thought: “I haven’t actually viewed most of these websites in several weeks or maybe longer.” This was the beginning of my crash course in RSS and XML.
When you really take a look at how much information is published through feeds, you can see the need for implementing them into your own site. I, as well as many others, I presume, no longer go searching on the internet for news and website updates; I wait for them to come to me through feeds. As a Christian webmaster for a local church, my intent for having a feed isn’t to drive visitors to the site in hopes to sell more adds; I am not saying that blogging for business is wrong. I just see feeds related to church and ministry’s sites as a way to keep the church community engaged and aware of what is happening in the church. The ultimate goal of an online presence is to keep people connected outside of the church walls; RSS feeds are a great way to help.
The number of sites using feeds to keep their visitors up-to-date and connected with their site is growing exponentially. FeedBurner, for example, claims that it tracks 934,797 publishers of 1,657,885 feeds. That’s right; they track over a million and a half feeds. That is just one site! There are other websites like FeedBurner that have statistics that are just as incredible.
The need for RSS/Atom feeds definitely exists. It is highly recommended that you take the initiative to implement feeds to keep your visitors connected. I have listed some helpful resources below. As always, comments are encouraged.