Let me preface this by saying that I have absolutely no experience with RSS technology. I have three questions that you may be able to help me with.
1. Most of my client sites are in HTML format (no php, asp, CMS). Will an RSS feed work on a site like this whenever we decide to add news or an article on a standard HTML page?
2. If we create a feed, will only technophiles stumble across the site and decide to use it? Or will an everyday surfer somehow encounter news from my client's feed on another site?
3. If a client sells widgets from their home, how does RSS actually benefit them? Are they essentially writing articles about their industry, adding them to a feed, and hoping that a site displays the news and encourages others to visit the source of the article?
1. I have no experience of suitable technology here. When I used to run a small rss feed I hand coded it. 2. You need to explicitly advertise the feed. Even so I think you will find a very small take up. 3. In theory rss saves you emailing lots of people to announce a new article. I found the take up so trivial that there was no way that the newsletter could be dropped.
1. There are feed editing software packages out there that will help updating your feed if you don't want to directly edit the code. However, if you can handle HTML then RSS isn't much of a stretch.
2. Most modern browsers will show a special mark in the address bar when a site has a feed. However, take-up from this link alone is minimal in my experience as well. Explicitly advertising the site on your sidebar seems to have a better uptake.
3. RSS is a pull technology. Subscribers have to take action to get your information. Generally you'll see your more avid customers or industry watchers subscribing to your feeds.
If you're selling widgets then you'd better be writing some good content about them on a regular basis to secure and maintain subscribers. I don't know of many people who subscribe to mere product announcement feeds. There would need to be some consistent quality there to make much impact.