Seattle, Part Two: RSSevolution

Day two, which was really day one of the web conference that I'm in town for, was more of the same in this great town. I turned in early tonight, to rest up and to safeguard myself from a possible gallbladder-less incident. You see, I had the Fish & Chips tonight from Elephant and Castle – another great pub that has outdoor seating and is nestled in downtown Seattle. The vibe this city projects is just incredible, I can't get enough – it's like Vanilla Coke.

Speaking of coke, or soda, or pop – whichever you call it – visit Pop vs. Soda to see what different parts of the country call the carbonated beverages we enjoy so much.

The conference itself is great. Today I sat in on all of the Web Design sessions and there wasn't one session where I didn't learn something new. In fact, knowing more and more about what the rest of the industry is doing in terms of CSS and browser-support, it confirms my grumblings for the past two years. It's by and far time we ditch table-based layouts and go completely CSS.

In other news, the very technology that runs my web site is quickly becoming a focal point of cutting edge ideas. Blogging is the new "in" thing to do, but it's not just early adopters and techies that are utilizing this technology. Now more and more news sites and even corporations (Microsoft) are using some sort of blogging tool to manage time-sensitive content. On a basic level, blogs are cheap content-management systems, and if utilized correctly, they can power an entire site.

The big thing about blogs is this technology that runs it — RSS is this technology. Basically, every time I enter a new post on my web site, that post is entered into a huge database. That database is then tapped and displays certain posts depending on settings I have for my web site (which are currently to display the six most recent posts and archive the rest). Because all blogs run on RSS, that means every post on the internet is inside a database somewhere.

Now, with programs called RSS Readers, you can automatically load RSS feeds and read all of your favorite news without visiting web sites. RSS Readers function similarly to e-mail programs, they download the posts from the blogs you choose to track and display their information for you.

Big deal right? Well, yes, this can be a big deal, here's why. As it stands right now, someone could go out and create two web sites based on the Tour de France – one web site in regular HTML and one that runs on blog technology. With the ways that blogs are indexed on popular search engines, such as Google, if you updated both sites at the same rate, the blog would severely out-rank the regular web site. This is because blogs lend themselves to indexability more than regular web sites... in addition, search engines love sites that link to and from each other (which is a BIG thing to do in the blog sector).

I used the Tour de France example because someone just did this. Feeling frustrated that there wasn't a great resource for Tour news (that was serviceable through RSS), a blog was created that would centralize most of the major publications and their news. Since its creation, this site averages around 50-60k hits a day and is now making money because of the ads that the site serves. This site took one hour to set up and takes less than an hour a day to post the latest news. Can you see where this is going? I have an idea, and it just may be the next big thing.

+ original post date: July 21, 2004 11:22 PM
+ categories: Travel/Vacations


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