You’ve probably noticed on many websites that they offer the possibility to subscribe to their RSS feed. Yet, you have no idea what is and how to use it? Or maybe you are a web developer and you do know what an RSS feed is, but you don’t know how to set it for your blog? Don’t worry, in both cases, you’ve come to the right place. We will explain as briefly as possible what is an RSS feed and how you can use it.
What is an RSS feed?
RSS is the abbreviation for Really Simple Syndication. You might also hear about it referred as Rich Site Summary. In nontechnical words, it is a news feed. Imagine your Facebook page where you can see the latest posts from your friends. The news feed is similar, but it offers you the latest articles published by the websites you chose to follow through their RSS feed. Think of it as an aggregator for your favorite blogs. The entire content you like, in one place.
Advantages of using an RSS feed
The main advantage of using an RSS feed is that you don’t have to visit each website, each time you want to see if they published some content. You just refresh you feed reader and that is it. All new articles posted by the blogs you follow are updated on one page. From there you can jump exactly to the one you want to read.
Depending on the RSS reader you use you might benefit from cool features like categorize the pages you follow, save favorite articles, highlight paragraphs in these articles, automatically publish content on your social networks pages and so on. See the below paragraph for a list of recommended RSS readers.
Recommended RSS readers
The one I like most is Feedly. Why? Because it is available for all devices (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, even Kindle) and because it allows you to customize your account even with their free plan.
Another great RSS aggregator is FeedPress. Among other great features, they offer the possibility to receive emails notification each time a new article is being published in your RSS feed. It’s like replacing the newsletter with an RSS feed.
This list could go on forever as there are many RSS solutions out there. Just as a mention, all major browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla and Chrome have RSS feed extensions. It is all up to you to find the one you enjoy most.
How to add an RSS feed to your RSS reader
All you have to do is to go to the website you want to follow, click on their RSS subscribe button and copy the URL address. Then go in your RSS reader and paste the URL. That is it, you are now a subscriber.
RSS feed for web developers
From a technical point of view, an RSS feed is a .xml file that looks something like this:
Most of the web development platforms automatically generate such a feed. WordPress for sure. You can easily access it by placing /feed after your website URL like this – http://ideabag.net/feed. Despite the fact that WordPress does this by its own you can still have the possibility to customize your RSS feed. You can segregate your RSS feed in categories, add content or pictures to it and so on. As this post is just for a general understanding of what is an RSS feed and how you can use it, I will provide you more details about this in future articles. So don’t forget to subscribe to Idea Bag’s RSS feed to find out the latest news.
Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment if you have questions or suggestions. We would really want to know your opinion. Thanks!