Use Good Writing Practices

Many people who have little experience writing for publication end up writing hard-to-understand posts, and because they end up with few readers, there are few people to correct them or offer suggestions for improvement.

The writing style is up to you, of courseit's your RSS feed, after all, and no one can create a voice for it but you. Still, here are some writing tips that every creator of RSS should consider.

Decide on Your Main Point

Before you start writing, choose the point you want to make and stick to it. Many online authors start with one topic and then wander to others, and that's particularly hard on the readers of your feed. RSS items are, theoretically anyway, intended to be short articles focused on a single topic.

Be Context-Independent

Many bloggers and RSS authors assume in their writing that they share a context with their readers, forgetting to explain themselves along the way, and thus lose their audience. Assuming context is one of the things that professional authors are very careful to avoid, and the principle applies to writing for RSS as well.

Keep Your Audience in Mind

As you write, it's a good idea to keep your audience in mind. Some authors picture someone they know well and write to that person as a representative of the audience. Doing this makes it easy to keep the tone of your feed aligned with your audience.

Start with an Overview

RSS items shouldn't be long enough to need an overview, but the article an item is linked to on your Web site might be. If you have a longer article, it might be a good idea to start with an overview. Because the reader can't take in your article at a glance, it might be helpful to provide a brief summary.

Select Your Format Carefully

Most blogs and RSS feeds are just straight text, and that can be fine if it suits your purpose. But bear in mind that you can choose from a number of formatting options for RSS items, such as the following:

  • Frequently asked question (FAQ) lists

  • Polls

  • Questions and answers

  • Case histories

  • Lists of links

For that matter, you can always add links that point to diagrams or graphs to enliven the articles.

Be Concise

Because there's so much on the Internet, people don't have much patience for long passages. For this reason, some authors recommend that you write only 50 percent of what you'd normally write on a particular topic.

Break up Long Passages

Long, continuous text passages, like the two-page paragraph, went out of style with the Victorian novel. If your text is getting long, use headlines and headings to break it up into readable chunks (something like the text in this book).

Get Feedback

Some RSS authors write as if they operate in a vacuum, and as a result their content and style become increasingly idiosyncratic and self-indulgent as time goes on. They never look for feedback on what they write or how they write it. When you start publishing RSS feeds that you plan to stick with, it can be invaluable to get some feedback. Criticism is hard to swallow, but in the long run it can be helpful. You can even get your feed edited if you wish.

Secrets of RSS
Secrets of RSS
ISBN: 0321426223
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 110

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