RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, although neither name gives much clue to what it actually is or its functionality. That’s what we’re here for…
RSS technology was first developed in 1997 by a company called Netscape who sought to create a different way to distribute news, stories and information across the web. The technology eventually became more advanced and today an RSS feed can be described as:
A tool to keep people automatically updated on content they like across the web. An RSS feed keeps people’s favourite blogs, news sites and other websites in one centralised place. Content is served to the reader rather than the reader searching for content.
Having RSS feed functionality on your blog or website can be used as an additional marketing tool. Each time a new blog or update is added to your site people who have subscribed to your feed will automatically be notified, so it helps create a loyal repeat following to your site or blog. You can also set up your RSS feed to send out social media posts to all your platforms, so every time you create new content on your blog or website your social media fans will automatically know about it.
Yes, although in recent years they aren’t as dominant as alternative platforms have become the go-to option for following sites, watching feeds and learning about the latest content.
However, RSS feeds still have their place and remain great for an in-depth look at a site’s new content. They provide a simple way to read exactly what you want to online without algorithms and other forces driving you down rabbit holes.
With RSS feeds you can use a single website or smartphone application as a home for all the new content that’s coming from your favourite websites. There are two simple steps to create an RSS feed:
Choose a website or app that will receive all of your desired content, these are called RSS readers or feed aggregators and are usually free when you sign up. There are many to choose from and it may be a case of trial and error to see which one you prefer. We have listed a few below, or simply input the term ‘RSS reader’ into your web browser and find one you think would best suit you.
Set up a connection between your feed reader and your favourite sites. Go to the websites you would like to see regular updates from and subscribe to their RSS feed. Most sites will either have an RSS feed button or a logo which commonly looks like the image in this post.
If you can install software on your computer, we recommend the following RSS news readers:
If you can’t install software, the following web sites allow you to view RSS feeds online:
There are various ways you can use your RSS reader; it will all depend on the topics you have an interest in and want to stay up to date with. Start visiting your favourite sites, and wherever you see the bright orange RSS symbol (orange button with a white soundwaves graphic) you know that you can grab the feed, put it into your reader, and have all your content in one place.
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