Breaking Down RSS Feed-Why And How To Use It

There have been many of my subscribers that have asked me to break down RSS feed, what it is and how they can use it and what-not. Sit back, and relax, and I’ll cover basically everything you need to know about RSS feed.

No fashionable blog would be caught dead without a web feed. It’s essential for both accessibility and promotion of your blog. RSS(Really Simple Syndication) feeds, or web feeds, give you an easy way to distribute your content, such as blog posts and podcasts, to your web audience.

But what is RSS really? I want to try to explain what an RSS feed is, how to create your blog feed, how to subscribe to feeds, and a whole lot more cool stuff.

Why Is RSS Feed A Good Thing?

RSS is one of the hottest technologies on the internet today. Since 2003, which is when blogs truly reached mainstream awareness, blogs and other technologies have adopted RSS at an exponential rate. Companies such as Mozilla, Microsoft, IBM, and many others have created really interesting ways to use RSS feeds to share information, both through their websites and through internal rss feedcommunication processes.

Put simply, when you syndicate your blog by using a web feed, feed software reads your blog posts, which it formats by using XML(eXtensible Markup Language).  XML is an internet standard and marks your prose so that software applications can understand and display it properly for readers who subscribe to your blog.

Why is RSS feed a good thing?  Well, it means that code can be used to easily display your blog’s feed on other websites, from blogs to search engines.  Sites that pull in news from multiple sources use RSS feeds to do so, and being syndicated in this way can earn you traffic from those sites back to your blog.  But more importantly, newsreader software that any visitor to your site might use can read RSS feed, and visitors can then access your blog quickly and easily.  By subscribing to a blog via an RSS feed, visitors don’t have to bookmark hundreds of blogs and check them every 20 minutes to see whether the bloggers have updated them.  Instead, a user can simply log into his or her newsreader software to see in one window all the feeds to which he or she subscribes.

Breaking it Down Even Further!

Essentially, RSS gives your blog the capability to break down its content into a basic text file.  Software creates this text file in a special XML format that makes up the feed.  Blog software then distributes this plain-text version of your blog content to other websites, search engines, and blogosphere tracking services.

You can use RSS to syndicate content on your blog, but most mainstream news agencies also use RSS to make their news information more accessible.  News services such as CNN and the Washington Post use RSS technology to spread their articles beyond their own websites.

Check out CommonCraft.Com for a really excellent and short video about RSS Feed.

Are you confused yet?  Well, don’t worry, because nearly all blog software automatically builds your RSS and helps you advertise it to your blog visitors.  So, you’re most likely covered, in any case-but if you know a little bit about RSS and why it’s important to your blog, you can ensure your blog content reaches a wider audience.

Generating Web Traffic From RSS Feed

Some bloggers have a tendency to limit the distribution of their content and keep it off other sites. The reasoning goes that you worked hard to create that content, so why should other sites and software get to display it for free?

Actually, because of its ease of use, RSS can help you gain more users. Your website can travel further than ever because you can distribute an RSS for your site with little to no effort on your part. Because syndication of your content includes links back to your blog, people who are exposed to your RSS will more than likely click those links and come to your site.

Creating A Feed For Your Blog

rss feedUnless you really want to mess around with the code of your own RSS files, you shouldn’t need to do anything special to get started with RSS. most blog software already includes an RSS feed that pulls together and syndicates your blog. At most, you might have to turn on the option to have an RSS for your site.

After you do this, just blog normally and ignore the feed. Your users can find it and subscribe, and your blog content flows automatically into the feed.

If you don’t have software that creates a feed, you have a couple of options. If you are a programmer or a coder, you can probably pick up enough XML to hand-code a feed yourself. But an even better option is to use some of the third party feed creation tools available to you.

  • FeedYes- Use this simple tool to create a feed from any website or blog. You can create multiple feeds and, with an account, edit and manage them. FeedYes is free.
  • IceRocket Rss Builder- With this tool you can build RSS feeds or “channels” from practically any content on the web. You can create as many feeds as you want. This is also a free service.
  • Feed43- Set up a feed for your blog quickly and for free. increase the frequency with which your feed is updated by buying a higher level of feed, starting at $29 per year.

When a feed exists, you don’t need to do anything else.  Search engines and software tools automatically find it when they index your blog, and your readers can subscribe to your feed when and if they choose to do so.

Other Options For RSS Feed

It’s pretty easy to subscribe to someone’s feed. However, have you ever enjoyed reading someone’s blog from a newsreader? Some browsers have built-in newsreaders that you can use to subscribe to feeds and then read them. Here are some of my favorite newsreaders to read my favorite blogs on!

  • Google Reader-Google Reader is one of my favorites! If you are already registered with Gmail or other Google services, getting started with Reader is as simple as signing in.
  • Bloglines- Bloglines is super simple to use, with quick tools for adding a subscription and sorting through your subscriptions into categories. One fun feature of Bloglines is that you can produce a blogroll-a list of links to blogs-to put into your blog’s sidebar, sharing the blogs to which you’re subscribed with your readers. bloglines even carries over the categorization when it display’s your blog subscriptions. You can mark some feeds as private if you prefer not to share them with the world.

When you get through with your day of building links, there is nothing more satisfying than getting on your blog reader and checking out some of your favorite blogs!  I love doing this, as it seems to relax me from bouncing off the walls as I seem to do every day from building links and what not online.

Here are some of my favorite blogs:

Do something different and subscribe to this blog, and all of those listed above, and read them through a news reader!  You will be surprised at how much more information you can retain from it!  Good luck with all of your RSS feed!

My name is Wade Harman. I’m a full time blogger with a degree in Psychology. I show you how to spark an emotional reaction, get people’s attention, and encourage them to take action!

Let me help you drive targeted traffic through social media strategies that I have researched and use myself!

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  1. Twitter:
    Hey Wade,
    Seriously, you have kept to your words in this article.
    Anyone reading this post for his or her first time about RSS may not have any questions. You have covered the required points for a good understanding of the subject
    It’s worth printing
    Enstine Muki recently posted..How bloggers make money with SocialWebCafe EventsMy Profile

  2. Hi,

    RSS is one of the most important part to play a vital role in online marketing because when you will use this option then you can do those all things easily which are good for make your presence in online marketing.

  3. Most people are interested in many Web sites whose content changes on an unpredictable schedule. Examples of such Web sites are news sites, community and religious organization information pages, product information pages, medical Web sites, and weblog s. Repeatedly checking each Web site to see if there is any new content can be very tedious.
    hira recently posted..3 Simple and Easy Weight Loss TipsMy Profile

  4. Twitter:
    Great information here Wade! So many bloggers are confused when it comes to RSS feeds and how to use them. After reading this article they should have a better understanding as to how they can help a blog. It has certainly helped me~ Thanks.

    posted by Galen Morgigno
    Galen Morgigno recently posted..Network Marketing | Developing Leaders in Your TeamMy Profile