links for 2007-11-20
First//Look: Seesmic (pre-alpha)

If you build it they may not come (back)

iStock_000003829565XSmall.jpgYou've heard the old riddle right? If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, the same is true with web sites that take the time to create RSS feeds, but don't tag them properly on the page. Not every visitor to your site hunts for the hidden little orange icon buried deep on the page (rss-icon.jpg). The majority of people use the RSS indicator built in to their web browser. Did I lose you? Let's take a look at some examples.

If you go to a site that does this right, when you land on the page your browser should display an RSS icon in, or around, the main URL address bar.

If you look on FireFox on a PC, here is what the consumer sees (note the orange icon next to the URL of the blog):
Picture 13.png

If you're on FireFox on a Mac, you see something like this (very similar to the PC version):
Picture 10.png

If you look on a PC running Internet Explorer, you will see the following at the top of your screen. Note the RSS icon in orange on the lower right-hand side. If there is no feed detected, that icon will be gray.
Picture 12.png

Now, if the short bit of code I am about to show you is not in place, here is what they see. I found it very ironic that this happened on Microsoft's main RSS listing page, go figure.
Picture 11.png

The solution is to add a bit of code to the pages that have RSS feeds available. The code looks like this (but just ask your IT folks to figure out the details).
Picture 14.png

The reason I bring this up is that if I land on a page that doesn't have their code in place, I will keep moving, not subscribe and they've lost the chance to communicate in the future. Bloggers are lucky here as this is automatically built-in, but other sites need to add this into the code.

Each visit is an opportunity to build a relationship and, with the opt-in nature of RSS, this is a no brainer. Even if a page contains multiple feeds, pick one as your default (it is possible to list multiple). People don't want to hunt for icons like they're hunting for Waldo.


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