Sticky Sites: News Feeds

I’m sure you’ve surfed to a site and found some headlines for news events. I’ll bet you’ve even clicked on those at least once to read an article of interest. I know that I have done so on occasion. Many of the large, high traffic sites include headlines on their home page in order to give people another reason to visit the site more often.

These are called news feeds (I have also seen them under the name web feeds), and typically a site might include a single column of headlines. Your visitors can click a headline to read a story in detail.

News feeds are maintained by a number of companies all over the web. Many of these have free versions (ad supported) available to webmasters for the asking.

Moreover.Com is one such company. These news feeds are amazingly simple to create. You simply go to their site, answer a few questions about the desired topics and layout, and then enter your email address. Within a few minutes you will receive the code in your inbox, ready for insert into your web page. One of the things that I liked about this service was even though they are free they did not ask me the usual intrusive questions about my income, location and sex (I hate these kinds of questions). I created a news feed as an experiment, and it took less than five minutes from start to finish to complete.

Another news feed is available from WebTicker.Com. I created an example, and as with, this task took less than five minutes from beginning to end to set up, and it also did not ask intrusive questions. This is a much smaller news feed, suitable for web sites without a lot of room for such things.

There are a number of other news feeds, and all of them are more or less the same as those presented here. The point is that a news feed presents, in one way or another, a series of headlines. Your visitors can click on the headlines to get more information.

Why would you want to do this? It gives your visitors another reason to visit your web site. Personally, I believe news feeds are not a terribly strong way to get visitors to return to your site. I believe there are other, better forms of content which provide much more value to visitors.

On the other hand, it probably does not hurt to include a news feed on your site, except that when visitors click on article headlines they tend to be drawn away rather than towards your content.

Basically, my recommendation is that a news feed can be useful to certain sites. It depends upon the purpose of your site and the strategy you use to get visitors to find your site, stay for a while, and then come back. News feeds can serve to improve the odds that they return over and over.

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