What is an RSS Feed?

What is an RSS feed?

I don’t know about you but I get way to many email in my inbox.  When I first started online I signed up for many newsletters, so many that I simply could not keep up with them.  In the end I had to abandon the email account as it was overrun with over 10 000 unread emails (I am sure some of you can relate!).

I started a new account and managed to keep it under control for quite a while and then I noticed that it, too, was starting to get a few too many unread emails in it also. Looking for an alternative to this endless stream of newsletters I found the amazing benefits of RSS feeds. So, now, if possible, when I find a blog that I like, instead of signing up for their emails I subscribe to their blog instead – through an RSS feed.

So, what is an RSS feed?

RSS (Real Simple Syndication) is used to syndicate or subscribe to the feed of a website, blog or almost any media content online (it can be articles, music, video – pretty much any digital media).It also means that I do not have to go back and check those people’s blogs all the time for new content, as they automatically get syndicated.

The content then gets sent to a ‘reader’. I personally use Feedly, but there are various other ones around. (Here is a video on How to Use Feedly)
The beauty of these readers is that you can then read the blog posts on your schedule.

How do you subscribe to an RSS feed?

On some websites you will see an icon that looks like  the one at the top of this post.  When you click on it another window will open with the options of where you want the feed sent.

Sometimes when you go to subscribe you may see this –

rss feed
This happens for two reasons.  One is that they have not set up their RSS feed properly, or at all.  You may be asking yourself why have it on their site if it is not set up properly, but some of the WordPress themes automatically have the icon there, whether you have set it up or not. The other reason seems to be a Chrome glitch. If this happens, I copy the URL from Chrome (which is my preferred browser) and paste it into Firefox and 9 times out of 10 it works just fine – opening up the page where you can choose.
If you can’t see an RSS icon then another way to see if they have an RSS feed is to put /feed at the end of their URL. If you were looking for my feed you would type in staceymyers.com/feed. It should come up.  If it doesn’t then there isn’t an RSS feed set up on the site.
Some people put different things in their newsletters than they put on their websites or in their blogs, so that is always something to consider when choosing if you are going to go for the newsletter or the RSS feed – in some cases (if you really rate them or their content) then you may even sign up for both.
I am getting more and more selective about the people I subscribe to, and if someone does not have a RSS feed on their site and I do not want to subscribe to their newsletter I will just leave.  That being said, I do not think twice about giving someone my email if they have an opt in offer that I cannot pass up.
I am surprised at the number of people that do not have an RSS feed set up for their blog – or it is really difficult to find.  I feel this is just as important has having links to the various social media sites. Lean about Adding Feedburner RSS feeds on your WordPress website.
RSS Feeds are not only used for this purpose but are used to syndicate from and to places all over the web.

Would love to hear how you are using RSS feeds.
Leave your comments below!!


Comments

45 responses to “What is an RSS Feed?”

  1. Ugh, I’ve been putting off adding an RSS feed to my site’s page – and now you’ve reminded me that it is a priority!

    Thanks so much.

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      I think it really is a priority. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Stacey, this is a great post about RSS feeds! I, too, have been feeling overwhelmed with email, lately, and love the idea of getting new content delivered to me in a simplified way. Thanks!!

  3. Stacey, how funny! Just today I realized that my feed doesn’t look right in Chrome. I spent some time trying to figure out how to make it work the same way it does in Safari or IE before a friend suggest I just install The Feedburner plugin. That fixed everything. Great post btw. Gonna share it!

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Thank you, Mira! I am glad you were able to get it sorted.

  4. Thanks Stacey – great explanation of what it is and why it’s so useful

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      My pleasure, Steve.

  5. Great post on RSS feed Stacy! Thanks for the reminder. It is something I must update since I’ve received emails saying it is not working. I must check beforehand to make sure this wasn’t SPAM.

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Thanks Alexandra! Gives our readers even more choices to be able to keep up to date with our posts.

  6. Thanks for the tip stacy I’m going to try new Squares as most of the people that come to my blog use google chrome. Thanks for the great Tip!

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      I do really like NewsSquares. Glad you liked the post.

  7. Thanks for the informative breakdown.Things like this bore and confuse me so it is Gold when I can get the information in this way. Nice n easy…:)
    Thanks so much!

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Suzanne,

      I am pleased you found it informative. Sometimes things are easy to set up than first thought.

      Stacey

  8. Oh wow this is not something I have yet nor am I familiar with. Whenever I see it on sites my first thought is, “No thanks. I don’t need more mail than I already have.” But, you just made it easy and feel not so overwhelming so I might have to check it out. =)

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Yes, Stacey, I think it is an underused tool.

  9. I am thrilled to read this article – thank you for providing a solution to the poor format of regular RSS feed readers. I have rarely read mine, and know I’m missing lots of good content that I would otherwise keep up with. Gotta get the squares:-)

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Ronae,

      I am glad that you found it useful. Yes, the squares are great!

      Stacey

  10. Thank you Stacey, this is essential information for bloggers and readers. After reading this I will certainly make my RSS feed more prominent and check it is set up properly.

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Hi Maija,

      I am glad it has been useful for you!

      Stacey

  11. I have yet to fully incorporate the RSS Feed to it’s full extent. Your article really opened up my eyes. Looking forward to Thursday post where you share more.

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      The video is out now, the link is https://staceymyers.com/adding-an-rss-feed-to-your-blog

      Thanks for commenting!

  12. Excellent! I’ve been needing a clear explanation of this. This will help me, for sure.

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Rob,

      I am glad it has cleared things up for you!

      Stacey

  13. This is so useful and informative, thank you for taking so much effort and telling all about the RSS feed Stacey! 🙂

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      It is my pleasure, Solvita – thank you for commenting!

  14. […] What is an RSS Feed? […]

  15. Stacey, I’ve got an RSS feed button on my site, don’t know how it got there and don’t really know what to do with it! As you can see I’m not very clued up on it either!

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Hey Tara,

      Well now you have a clearer idea, you can make sure it is working properly!

      Stacey

  16. Thanks. Did not know what RSS was and no I have not set it up on my Web Site guess I have a little bit more work to do. There is a lot you can do on the Web. Class is always In Secession. Lol Take Care

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Exactly, Clemons.

      We can never learn enough and there is always something new to learn!

      Stacey

  17. Stacey,

    Great article!

    I had never heard of NewsSquares … have to check it out! Thanks for letting us know!

    Cheers,
    Timo

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Hey Timo,

      NewsSquares is great!

      Hopefully it will save you some time!

      Stacey

  18. Great article, Stacey! Thank you, for the valuable information that you have provided. Have a wonderful week 🙂

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Susan,

      Thanks for commenting and I pleased that you found it useful!

      You have a wonderful week also!

      Stacey

  19. […] What is an RSS Feed? […]

  20. Useful information. A great post on RSS feeds and the importance of 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Anita,

      I am glad that you found it useful!

      Stacey

  21. I use and love the RSS feed – not only for my website but as a lovely little reminder via email to read the blogs I subscribed to!

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Rhonda,

      That is a great tip!

      Thanks

      Stacey

  22. Thank You Stacey! I am learning so much from your posts!

    RD (Randy Riccoboni

  23. Stacey Myers Avatar
    Stacey Myers

    Hey RD!

    I am so glad that they are of use and relevant to you.

    Thanks for commenting!

    Stacey

  24. Mia Roberts Avatar
    Mia Roberts

    What a brilliant and informative article Stacey. I am setting up a blog site for the first time and I did wonder what an RSS feed was – now I know! Thanks for the tips and I shall now sign up and incorporate them in to all I do! Regards, Mia 🙂

  25. Never been able to get my head around RSS Feed, but have Evernote web clipped your blog post to refer to when I design my new website and blog to get it sorted – and get my head around it. Thanks Stacey

    1. My pleasure – they definitely make my life a lot easier.

  26. […] Feedburner is a web feed management provider. It provides custom RSS feeds and management tools to bloggers, podcasters, and other web-based content publishers. If you are not sure what an RSS feed is, or why you should have one, you can read about it in the article – What is an RSS Feed? […]

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