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!!

About the author 

Stacey Myers

Coaching entrepreneurial women who have decided that mediocrity is no longer an option. From ordinary to extraordinary.

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  1. 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!!

  2. 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!

  3. 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. =)

  4. 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:-)

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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

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