Greater Southeast District Information Community

I just found a regional SharePoint site / special interest group http://gsdiwc.officeisp.net/.  I wish I can remember where I found it, I always like to give credit where it's due.   There are some pretty impressive members, both clients and consultants collaborating together and forging ahead.

I recently posted to tips and tricks and this is what I wrote.

Using RSS Feeds to Promote Adoption

Lack of Traffic

Ok! So, SharePoint has been deployed and people are using the sites. Or are they? Sometimes the corporate culture is such that people, for whatever reason, do use the portal. Perhaps it’s a lot of work to open a browser and just not worth the investment to get information about the place where they work, a place users feel they already know a lot about.

Often an attractive lure is information that is relevant to me, my job or my company that is sourced outside the company. This new and fresh kind of information is interesting and will drive users to your site. This motivates the users to venture off into other parts of the site to find out what else is useful.

We’ve all heard that content is king. It certainly would be a major pain to produce a significant amount of content. I use RSS feeds to get the job done.

Increasing Traffic Through RSS feeds

This solution is very dynamic and is simple and free. You do need to have a couple of things installed on the server.

  • Tim Heuer’s RSS Feed Reader http://www.smilinggoat.net/stuff.aspx
    His company is called Smiling Goat – no it’s not a virus it’s a company with some really great web parts. This feed reader takes RSS, Atom, etc feeds and displays them in a web part. If you know of some RSS feeds that apply to your industry or a certain group of employees well then you can display them in this web part. But that is content that people can get on their own and use their own reader for. Which brings me to the next bullet.
  • Search engines that provide RSS feeds. http://newstrove.com/index.html
    NewTrove is a search engine that produces an RSS feed. I think you get 5 feeds for free. Well you used to. It looks like you have to subscribe now for $20 a month now. The great thing is that you can take that feed put it into the feed reader webpart and push it out to hundreds of users and it is content that they can’t get elsewhere. Now you’re site is a real pal. There are a lot of services out on the web provide similar services. Some just concentrate on a specific industry. Now for my last and final trick in the RSS feed world. How can someone get benefit from content on SharePoint without actually having to visit the site?
  • Daniel Larson’s RSS Extension http://www.gotdotnet.com/workspaces/workspace.aspx?id=ddc8f126-5416-404f-bee0-4d80bbebe3a5
    RSS extensions create an RSS feed from any list. Boy that sounds like a lot right there but it’s true. It really does a nice job. There are two things to keep in mind. This requires a server install and the RSS extension works very well with lists that allow anonymous access. Just think about it for a second. Any list can be pushed out to a user when they are consuming information. It’s like feeding a critter medicine while they are already eating. Much easier to do than when you try to distract that critter to force down some bit of information they probably want and would enjoy under less intrusive circum stances.

Phew . . . A Cure For All Adoption Problems!

Of course this doesn’t solve all of your adoption problems. Maybe it’ll only help with a few but every little bit counts until you reach the tipping point. Think of it like when email first came out. Not everyone used email. Actually most people didn’t start using email until the felt like they were missing out. If you have a solid implementation of SharePoint and it’s not being used then people are missing out.

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