Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Writing for RSS (writing4rss)

I was reading Debbie Weil's BlogWrite and her many links to RSS and Blogs. Decided I needed a short piece on writing for (RSS) feeds.

People don't read web pages like they read newspapers. Likewise people don't read RSS feeds like they read web pages. All three require a different way to write.

Look at most home pages. Lots of blurbs about content you need to drill down to. Your eyes have to scan each blurb to get to the one that might be of interest. As writers, we understand this when we compose a page.

In the feed world, which includes blogs, we write one piece of content at a time instead of an entire page. This microcontent might be read in a blog, in a blog archive, in Bloglines, in FeedDemon on your desktop, in a Feedster or Blogdigger search, in a tag or sent in an email. You don't need to know all of these new "Googles", but you must recognize that you are writing microcontent and are no longer composing a web page. Many readers will never see  your corporate logo, your branding elements, your navigation, or your supporting content. For example, I don't know in what context you will read this.

People found your web page with Google. With RSS feeds they find and hopefully read your microcontent.

1 comment:

Mike Rowehl said...

Excellent points. I would add that it's very worthwhile to learn about some of the additional tools available in publishing tools to make your feeds more attractive. Such as categorizing your posts and allowing per-category feeds, and the issues surrounding full text and excerpt feeds. Here at Feedster (as well as at Technorati) you can claim your feed and associate custom info with it. Definitely do it if you're trying to build up a reputation using the information in your feeds and want readers to form a strong association whenever they see your posts.