» Better Your Business with an RSS Feed

Whether you are an avid blog reader, have some blogs and online content you follow regularly, or even if you haven’t yet developed a following on industry blogs – an RSS feed can help improve your business by giving you a great daily dose of Education!

First things first – what is an RSS feed?

An RSS is technically called a “Rich Site Summary” and serves as a web feed or “personal channel” where you can search, follow and track frequently updated web content – commonly used for blogs and news headlines.

Why consider using an RSS feed?

RSS feeds allow you to easily and quickly stay informed on the latest content of your favorite news, blogs and web content resources that interest you and apply to your business. This way, instead of starting your day and checking your favorite five sites, you can add them to your feed and the latest posts will all appear in one easy to review and preview feed – saving you time! Stories or posts that interest you can be clicked, and you will be directed right to the full post.

How do you get started?

Setting up a feed reader is easy! There are a variety of platforms available. You may have heard Google recently announced a change to their popular feed – Google Reader. It will no longer be available as of July 1, 2013, but luckily if you do have a feed with Google Reader you can export your feeds to a new reader using Google Takeout. There are a variety of popular feeds available to explore, including: netvibes, Pageflakes, and Bloglines.  Additionally, you may have one associated with your email account, such as Yahoo!.

Once you have established a feed, start to visit your favorite sites (including WeddingWireEDU, of course!) and add their RSS to your feed! If you have questions, we suggest looking at the feed’s help section for tips on getting started. Once you have established your feed, you can continue to add to it as you find new favorite blogs, sources with great articles, and any news sources that you would like updates from. Some sites we would recommend include: American Express’ Open Forum for small business tips, Mashable and TechCrunch for the latest in tech, WeddingWire’s blog for wedding inspiration and WeddingWireEDU for tips, updates and advice for Wedding and Event Pros!

As new content is published, it will be delivered to your feed in chronological order. That way, whether you constantly refresh your feed or catch up on a weekly basis, you can scroll through the content and review the posts that appeal to you and your business.

Enjoy!

Once you have your RSS established or further developed, find a way to incorporate it into your daily (or even weekly) routine. Catch up on the latest posts as you enjoy your morning coffee, dedicate some time to learning over lunch at your desk, or review the day’s relevant posts as you unwind watching a favorite evening TV show. Whatever works for you! RSS feeds are a great way to ensure that the latest industry happenings, tips and advice is delivered right to you!

» Save Time with RSS Readers

RSS = Real Simple Syndication and they can save you time on your daily social media searches. Set up an RSS Reader to easily monitor important web content such as blog articles, Twitter mentions, LinkedIn Answers, and Quora Questions. Usually the RSS feed symbol (pictured to the right) will display in your navigation bar if it is available on the page you are viewing. All you need to do is click the icon to subscribe!

You can set up almost anything to go to your Google Reader with RSS Feeds. This way all the important information you usually search for can be pulled all onto one page. Monitor your mentions on Twitter by setting up an RSS for searches you for your competition, industry news, etc. LinkedIn and Quora have similar features so you can see questions and answers that might be pertinent to you and your business.

» 3 Steps to More Subscribers

So you created a blog for your business, now how do you make sure you drive traffic and keep them coming back for more? Beyond creating fresh and interesting content, take a look at the 3 simple steps below to retain your visitors.

1. Get out there and spread the word. Guest blogging allows you to reach a greater audience who may not have heard of your business otherwise. Ask any and all of your contacts or your favorite blogs if you can write for them. Then be sure to feature some of your best content, linking back to your own blog.

2. Roll out the welcome mat. Create a page or section of your blog explaining who you are and what you do. Include any general information or special tidbits you want to be sure new visitors see. You could even create a personal YouTube video posted on the sidebar of your blog to welcome new readers. “Meeting” you face-to-face will help them establish a personal connection and they will be more likely to return.

3. Make it easy to come back. A new visitor might stumble onto your blog and love it, but how will you ensure they come back? Making it easy for them to bookmark your page, or even helping them subscribe to your RSS or email will do just that. Here is a great plugin to help you do just that.

For more information and ideas, check out this article. Try them out and be sure to monitor your traffic to see your numbers go up! Let us know what strategies work best for you.

» Keeping Up With The Jones’

twitter-previewStaying up-to-date with business and marketing trends is critical to any company, but especially in an industry like weddings where most marketing happens online these days.  But information doesn’t just fall from the sky, it means we have to do some homework.  Finding time to learn something new everyday might not fit into your schedule, but carving out an hour or so a few days a week should be a priority, after all your clients expect you stay current with today’s trends.

Keeping current with wedding trends is probably easy as you know where and how to find that information, but what about search engine marketing trends?  Or Search Engine Optimization tactics?  Or web design best practices?

To start, you’ll need a RSS reader account.  I’ll suggest using Google Reader as it’s free and easy to setup.  Below are a few of the websites I follow regularly:

Continue reading

» Google Reader: your personalized online newspaper

Personally, I scan a lot of blogs every morning to stay on top of the trends and to see what people are up to.  Given the amount of content out there, my morning ritual was simplified when a friend referred me to Google Reader.  Now I can easily scan my own personalized online newspaper every morning!

Google Reader is a great tool and has definitely made the scanning process more efficient and has helped me discover many new blogs.   I found a great detailed Google Reader how-to guide that should offer a little something for everyone – whether you are new to Google Reader or a veteran user.

Here is my quick summary to help you get started.

  • Setup – It’s simple and no downloading is needed! Just visit the Google Reader main page and sign in using your Google account or create a new one.  Once complete, it’s time to find some content to read!
  • Find Content– If you are new to the world of blogs or just looking to add more, there are a few ways to add content:
    • Click the “Browse for stuff” link and go to the “Browse” tab.  Let the searching begin.
    • Manually enter the URL of a blog into the “Add Subscription” area and Google Reader will usually find the feed and automatically add it for you (thanks Google!).
    • Locate the “Subscribe To This Feed” button on the blog of the site you want to follow (should be easy to find).
  • Organize- As soon as you start subscribing to a lot of feeds, you will want to keep track of them in the same way you would your emails or files on your computer – create folders.
    • To create folders simply click on any one of your subscriptions in the left navigation bar until it opens up in the main reading pane.  Click on the button “Feed Settings” at the top of the page and select “New Folder”.  Assign a useful name to it and click “Ok”.  And voila – folder created!

After this you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your personalized online newspaper!  For more details, definitely check out the how-to-guide.

What blogs do you like to follow?

» What is a RSS Feed?

With the latest release to the WeddingWire platform, we are now allowing vendors to not only link to their blog, but also post their blog feed on their storefront. This new feature will allow vendors to show their latest 4 posts directly on the storefront and link to their blog as well.

So in the spirit of this new feature, I thought I’d do a little introduction on what an RSS Feed is and how to find their feed URL (or create one).

What is a RSS Feed?

An RSS (or Atom) Feed allows blog writers to syndicate their content quickly to people across the web. Feeds are piped into feed aggregators, programs or sites that allow people to read multiple blog or news feeds instantly without having to visit the actual site.

How do I find my Feed?

Each blogging solution differs slightly in how they display your Feed link. Below is the method to finding Feed links on some popular blogging programs.

Blogger (or Blogspot)

  • Blogger typically provides a link at the bottom of your blog homepage that should read: “Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)”
  • Right click this link and select “Copy Shortcut” (Internet Explorer) or “Copy Link Location” (Firefox)
  • Paste this in WeddingWire on your storefront

WordPress

  • Hosted
    – Feeds for hosted WordPress blogs (the free blogs that WordPress hosts) are simply your blog URL plus /feed/ on the end.
    – i.e. – http://yourblog.wordpress.com/feed/
  • Installed
    – Installed WordPress blogs (blogs that you host on your servers) do not all automatically have a feed setup and ready to go. It’s best to create a feed for this type of blog anyway. The easiest way to create a free Feed is to go to www.feedburner.com. It takes just a minute to setup an account with a Feed.
    – Your feed link will look like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/WeddingWireVendors
    (WordPress also offers a popular plug-in to manage your feeds called FeedBurner FeedSmith)
  • Paste this in WeddingWire on your storefront

Typepad

  • First ensure your feeds are enabled by going to your Weblogs tab > Configure > Feeds
  • Then select “Post” to enable feeds
  • Once your feed is enabled, you will need to display a link on your blog to obtain the link for it
    – Do so by Setting Your Content Selections and selecting Post Feed for display
  • Once the is on your blog, simply Right click this link and select “Copy Shortcut” (Internet Explorer) or “Copy Link Location” (Firefox)
  • Paste this in WeddingWire on your storefront

And for those creative minds, here’s a link to 51 different RSS icons for those that like something different.