All You Need to Know About RSS Feeds

RSS is the acronym of Rich Site Summary, often referred to as Really Simple Syndication. It is a format designed for delivering web content that changes regularly. This practice is popular among weblogs, news related sites and many online publishers who syndicate their content as RSS for use by online readers. During the former years, readers had to bookmark websites manually and then return to them regularly to see any new content that might have been added to the websites. This was tedious, inaccurate, and it exposed readers to the same content over and over again which was annoying and time-consuming. There was also a risk of missing out on good information if one forgot to check their bookmarks.

Why is RSS used?

The internet is an enormous place. With more than a billion pages in existence and with the creation of thousands on a daily basis, it is a big challenge staying up to date with all that happens online. This prompted the invention of a method that would solve that problem once and for all and hence the creation of RSS feeds.
RSS is an indispensable tool for people who use the internet frequently. This is due to a number of reasons as stated below:
– It saves time. With RSS feeds in place, one needs not visit every single site individually to get new information.
– It enhances privacy. RSS feeds have helped to promote people’s privacy as they no longer need to subscribe to multiple site email newsletters.
Blogging It helps people stay informed. By use of RSS feeds, many newsrooms, bloggers, and online publishers can keep their readers up to date with the latest news and content easily and conveniently.
– It is precise. An RSS Feed of a web page will strip information to the bare essentials, that is the main images, the main text content, or in the case of video channels and podcasts, the content itself.
– It exposes users to a wider range of options. Online readers are now able to explore more options of their favorite reads because only the most important content gets to them leaving them with less to worry about when it comes to display issues.

Some RSS clients include Akregator, Avant, AOL Explorer, Canto, Feed Viewer, Bloglines, Google Reader and IBM Lotus Notes among many others.
See also: 12 Great Ways to Use Your Business Blog’s RSS Feed

How to use RSS feeds.

RSS LogoUsing RSS feeds is more or less like subscribing to a journal or magazine that is delivered to subscribers periodically. The difference in using RSS feeds as opposed to subscribing to a magazine, however, is that the information doesn’t go to your personal mailbox. The information is sent to your RSS reader from where one can access the latest updates by your favorite publishers.
To reap the most from RSS feeds, you will first and foremost have to procure and RSS reader. These are plentiful in the market, but a good place to start would be trying out a few free and user-friendly RSS Feed Readers readily available online. Having done that, you will be able to see unread entries from feeds you have subscribed to which normally appear in bold. Some of the most popular web-based Feed readers are Bloglines and Google Reader. Both have amazingly helpful sections, and you will learn how to use them in no time.

Importance of having an RSS feed for your websites

The importance of RSS Feeds for one’s website cannot be overstated. Besides enabling you to be well versed with the latest information, you will enjoy maximum privacy as there is no email address involved. Needless to say, you will experience fewer cases of identity theft, viruses and spam in a bid to access reads by your favorite publishers. You will also not go through the trouble of setting up dummy accounts specifically for your favorite publications.
RSS Feeds are important in that they keep you informed with less hustle and in timely fashion. In addition to that, you can easily get rid of unpleasant content with just the click of a button. By means of RSS Feeds, publishers are also able to get a bigger audience, which is a plus on their side. This they can achieve easily, and needless to say, it enables them to reap the maximum benefit and profit when many readers can access their content.
Other interesting reads:
10 Useful RSS-Tricks and Hacks For WordPress

Image credit: Cambodia4kids.org Beth Kanter

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