What is RSS Feed and how to use it
What is the RSS Feed?
RSS Feed is a function that allows “Feedreaders” to access a site automatically to look into for new content, and then post information about new content and updates to another site. This allows the users to keep up with the hottest and latest information posted on different sites without having to visit each of them individually.
What does RSS stand for?
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. It feeds the latest status or blog updates from one site into another in a standardized form. As we noted above, it is often used to allow readers to keep track of their favorite websites without having to manually visit the website each time, and also allows publishers to syndicate their contents automatically.
RSS is a structured XML document. It includes full or summarized text, published date, author name, and similar relevant information. It can be read with software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator”, which can be mobile device-based, desktop-based, or web-based.
WordPress software contains a widget that allows for adding an RSS feed from another website or social networking site to your blog. Each published web page has a meta tag that indicates the location of RSS feed. There is also an option like disable RSS feeds in WordPress, which you can use if you prefer.
The RSS feed looks like the below image:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<description>Beginner's Guide for WordPress</description>
<lastBuildDate>Tue, 02 Apr 2013 14:13:37 +0000</lastBuildDate>
<title>How to Fix WordPress Posts Returning 404 Error</title>
<pubDate>Tue, 02 Apr 2013 11:58:18 +0000</pubDate>
<description><![CDATA[<p>Description of post goes here...]]></description>
<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Post goes here....]]></content:encoded>
Why use RSS?
RSS allows visitors to subscribe to your content without using personal information. Visitors can get the updates to your blog or site directly in their web browsers, desktop applications, feed readers, and other devices (except Google Chrome). They do not need to remember the URL of your website, and they can read all of their favourite content from across the web in one convenient place (which, you’ll note, means they are putting your content in front of them every time you update rather than you having to wait for them to visit you). They can even take your content with them for offline reading. It helps the visitors to quickly skim through their favourite news and blogging sites. It also helps to sort the reading lists into categories and groups for easy organization.
Publishers can get new audience through syndication. This technique helps to net several back-links on other websites, to increase the overall off-page search engine optimization score. It also helps to gain some more unique visitors through the direct links from other websites and blogs. By using RSS as a communication vehicle, they are able to create keyword-rich, themed content, establishing trust, reputation, and ongoing communication with current and prospective customers.
Websites can greatly benefited from an RSS feed by generating traffic, and can help retain that web traffic. It automatically adds fresh, appropriately optimized web content to your website, which is beneficial to the web traffic retention rate.
Keeping up a website can be challenging, mainly when it comes to providing useful, updated and relevant content. The RSS feed is one way to have a continuous update to your website with constant fresh content, so that it will be noticed more often. This can cause higher search engine rankings for targeted and relevant key phrases.
For example, some of our readers automatically tweet every new WP-Solution article by using RSS feed and IFTTT.
How to use RSS Feeds?
Feed Reader allows you to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for you to print, share, and email articles that you find interesting. There are several RSS Readers that are available for different platforms, such as Amphetadesk (Windows, Linux, Mac), FeedReader (Windows), and NewsGator (Windows – integrates with Outlook). There are also a number of web-based feed readers like My Yahoo, Bloglines, and Google Reader.
Feedly is our recommended feed reader, and you can subscribe to RSS feeds by using it.
You will find it as a browser add-on as well as mobile app for iOS, Android, and Kindle devices. You can sync your RSS subscriptions through your devices and resume reading wherever you left it by using Feedly. To add your favorite websites to Feedly, just enter the url of the website and click the add button to subscribe.
Feedreaders allow you to search for topics and subscribe to popular sources. It also help to categorize your favorite sites into topics. Some feedreaders like Feedly have the option to email, share and print the articles.
How to promote RSS Feed?
To encourage your visitors to subscribe to your RSS Feed, you can add the RSS icon to your sidebar or another location. Regular RSS readers will look for this icon. You can see what the RSS icon looks like in the following image (the red arrow is pointing to it ).
To get additional statistics regarding your feeds, you can use feed burning software such as Feedburner or Feedblitz. We have an article regarding Feedburner for WordPress, which will guide you through setting it up. Email subscription is also offered by Feedburner, which can be added to your blog’s sidebar. There are other options besides Feedburner of course; you could create daily or weekly newsletters in WordPress, for example. We also recommend Aweber or MailChimp, as the email subscription options of Feedburner are not as robust as they could be.
How to improve my WordPress RSS Feeds?
WordPress automatically generates RSS feeds, but you can change them to make them more useful. You can manipulate your WordPress RSS feeds, add content, add post thumbnail to RSS feeds, use separate RSS Feeds for categories and create custom post types.
In this article, we have tried to cover most of the important elements of using RSS Feeds, which will help you to understand and use your RSS in proper way. To get free WordPress tutorials, you are welcome to subscribe to our WP-Solution’s RSS Feed and we are always glad to see comments, feedback’s, questions and advice in the comment field.