RSS Feeds and Readers

What is RSS?

RSS is an acronym for either, Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication. The latter has become more widely used in recent times.

RSS refers to the format used to publish updated web content, such as blog posts, podcasts, news and other frequently updated websites.

The so-called “Feed”, is the information that gets “Fed” to the XML(Extensible Markup Language), which is the markup language used to create RSS.

Why use RSS?

You can use RSS to your advantage in more than one way, whether it be for business purposes, or fun.

As an example, can you imagine having to check 50 – 60 news websites every single day, if you are a journalist? Or in the SEO industry, where the weight of the methods and techniques used to implement change on websites almost differ daily, one has to keep up with all the information sources to your disposal – that means reading about 100 RSS feeds daily!

If your hobby involves a certain level of skill, and it’s within a constantly changing sector or industry, surely you would want the latest tricks and tips? This is where RSS comes into play.

Which websites have RSS Feeds?

Almost all major news sources now have RSS feeds. Your favourite blogs also have them. There are a few ways to spot a websites’ RSS feed:

  • The Global RSS Icon
  • If you use Firefox – you will see the RSS icon in the URL bar.
  • Visible text link

How do I read a RSS Feed?

There are many RSS Readers available online, as well as offline.

Offline RSS Readers (Software):

  • Email Programs (Outlook or Thunderbird)
  • Browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer 7)

Online (Web Applications):

Blogging Bandwagon


By now you have definitely heard the term “blog”. Short for “weblog”, blogs have pioneered the next level of our online experience. Accompanying this evolution of sorts, are dreams and promises of almost anyone being able to become a millionaire through professional blogging. Is it that easy then? Especially sitting in a country like South Africa?

Money Money Money:

Make money online, Be a millionaire, Work for yourself from home – I am pretty sure you have all heard at least one of these terms in the last few weeks or months. You are promised that all you have to do is write, and the readers will magically appear – so all you have to do is drop a few ads into your blog and you’re on your way, right? Wrong.


Let’s look at a few challenges I can almost guarantee you will face, especially if you are a South African blogger(or any one of the other less-developed countries). I call these challenges, as all of these can be overcome with hard work and constant attention.

  • Connectivity:
    South Africa has grown immensely the last few years, and have gone from strenth-to-strength when it comes to the technology sector. But even when you take all of these positive things into mind, a large portion of our country still isn’t connected to the internet, and a large chunk of the connected population, uses the internet from work. Thus, these internet users normally do not use the internet for long periods of time. Obviously, this varies from industry-to-industry, and from job-to-job, and from person-to-person.
  • Search Engine Rankings:
    This puts more of a fun spin on things, than a challenge. What you have to understand as a startup blogger, is that there are millions-and-millions of pages, and websites, on the internet. So the promise of “build, or in this case, start, and the masses will come running”, is more than a little inaccurate. You are competing with an ever-growing group of competitors, and to build a noteworthy audience, people have to find your blog first!
  • Monetize:
    So you have built up an audience ( Dad, Mom, Uncle Bob etc 😉 ), what now? There are many, many ways to monetize your blog. Let’s go through a few of these monetization models:

    • Pay-Per-Click: This is the model you will most likely start off with. You display the ads, and then visitors click them, and you get paid for every click. Easy isn’t it? Not really. This largely depends on the type of internet traffic you are attracting, and on which industry you are focussing as your blogging niche. The more internet-savvy user, is less-likely to click one of your internet ads – that’s just the way it is. Most of these users know exactly what they are after and know how to get to it, and read your blog for what you have to say – not for the advertising!
    • Affiliate Sales: The practice of purchasing items online in South Africa, have certainly picked up over the last few years. And even though the average internet user is getting more-and-more comfortable with buying items online, the majority of the South African online audience are still very skeptical about this particular practice. For this reason, Affiliate Sales are not yet generating big chunks of revenue for the South African Blogger.
    • Direct Advertising: Corporates are always looking for ways of advertising, and have certainly warmed up to online advertising in the last few years. For a blogger to hook up Direct Advertising, you have to have quite a substantial audience built-up, and be able to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to your Visitor Statistics!
  • Optimize and Convert:
    Once you have an audience and an advertising model in place, you still have some way to go! Your audience needs to convert! You will have to play around with this. Move your ads around, play with colouring and sizes, read up on conversion tactics, this is a lengthy refining process, and takes some time to perfect.


These are just some of the challenges you will face as a blogger, and as a South Africa Blogger to be more specific. But as I mentioned before, these can be overcome with long hours of hard work, research, testing and refining. So don’t despair, be consistent, keep at it, and success will be yours!