Today's post will show you exactly WHY you need to be offering RSS feeds to your web site visitors.
I'm an Art Collector
Let me start by saying that I'm an art collector. Like all art collectors, there are several artists that I am "watching" at any given point in time.
Having set the stage, what do you think the following artworks all have in common?
by Don Sahli
Morning Light on Longs Peak by Keith Bond
Arizona Mesa by Logan Hagege
Dreams of Gold by Richard Johnson
Da Qiao Village Markets by Scott Tallman Powers
I was one of the first to know about all of these artworks
If you answered that they're all by artists who interest me you would be right . . . sort of. But that's not the real answer.
The real answer is all four of these paintings were posted on the web within the last couple of days
. So how do I already know about them? Do I check all these artists' websites every day?
I don't check these websites every day, in fact, it will probably surprise you to find out that I NEVER check these artists web sites.
I don't have to check their sites and yet I am still among the very first to know about these new pieces of art
....all thanks to the magic of RSS.
The Magic of RSS
RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication." An RSS Subscription channel is usually called an RSS "Feed" and, these days, usually simplified to simply a "feed." You usually see in icon like the one below (although not as big) when there is an RSS feed on a web page:
Don Sahli, Keith Bond, Logan Hagege, Richard Johnson, Scott Tallman Powers and many others are all artists that I love. As such, I want to know about new artworks as soon as they are available, so I subscribed to each one of those artist's RSS feeds with my feed reader.
A feed reader is sort of like an email program, except that it is designed to show you new posts in RSS feeds. I use Google Reader (which is free and doesn't require a download) and I check it every night. I usually read it on my Windows Mobile device (yes, yes Apple fans, I know . . . it will also work on an iPhone), so that I can just lay on the sofa and read it like a book, but for illustration I have reproduced a screen shot of the regular desktop version of Google Reader below, showing the post of one of Don Sahli's artworks.
Above: A screen shot of Google Reader showing Don Sahli's new artwork
RSS is POWERFUL
If you've read this far into this post, it should be obvious to you the power of RSS. If you can get site visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed, you can literally "feed" your artwork to them.
Now is the time to embrace RSS
NOW is the time to add RSS to your web site. It is just now starting to be widely adopted by the geekless (us geeks have been using it for AGES). That means, in the near future, more and more art collectors will be EXPECTING you to offer an RSS feed.
Feeds are great because since the subscriber is pulling the information from your site when he or she wants it, there is no "address" to the subscriber, as there is with email. THus the subscriber always remains anonymous and his privacy is protected. In practical use this means RSS FEEDS ARE IMMUNE TO SPAMMERS. There simply is no way to spam someone elses RSS subscribers. Of course, the slight downside to this privacy means that you won't know who has subscribed to your RSS feeds . . . until they buy, that is!
Lastly, RSS Feeds and Email are very different mediums. RSS Feeds are like TV and email is like direct mail....you need both, but they work in different ways.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic
PS - If this RSS stuff seems complicated or your web designer isn't sure how to add a feed to your web site, consider looking at our sister service, FineArtStudioOnline
. All FineArtStudioOnline
sites have RSS feeds automatically included.....that's why Don Sahli, Keith Bond, Logan Hagege, Richard Johnson and Scott Tallman Powers have feeds . . . ironically some of THEM probably don't even KNOW they have an RSS feed. And that's how it should
be, our job is to make the technology easy so that the artists we work with can be where they should be . . . in their studios!