What is an RSS Feed and How Do RSS Feeds Work?

Mass communication comes in many forms. If you prefer to receive your information digitally, you have the opportunity to search for specific topics in the news and other areas of interest. RSS Feeds help organize the news you want and deliver it to a curated feed reader that’s personalized by you.

In this article, we’ll learn all about RSS feeds, how they work, and how to create one that will give you the results you want.


What are RSS Feeds?
How Do RSS Feeds Work?

Ways to Create an RSS Feed

3.1 1. Install a web-based feed reader
3.2 2. Make a list of your favorite sites

3.3 3. Subscribe to feed

3.3.1 4. Organize your feeds into folders
Ways to Find and Create an RSS Feed from Scratch

Frequently Asked Questions About RSS Feeds

5.1 Do people still use RSS feeds?

5.1.1 What are the biggest benefits that RSS feeds provide?
5.2 How difficult is it to set up an RSS feed reader?
5.3 How popular will RSS feeds be in the future?

What is RSS Feeds?

RSS in RSS feed or RSS feed stands for “really simple syndication” and refers to a simple text file of information used in a format called XML (Extensible Markup Language).

The RSS file format includes two levels of an organization. The first level includes the name and organization of your site or blog. The next level includes item descriptions. Subscribing to an RSS feed is an efficient way to stay up-to-date on the latest online news or content created by the sites you are interested in. Here are some examples of topics that have popular RSS feeds:

Examples of popular RSS feeds:

Depending on your interests, you can choose to focus on a specific topic in your feed reader. Students can enhance their learning experience in a particular topic by subscribing to multiple RSS news feeds in subjects such as business, politics, or technology. Meanwhile, businesses looking to increase their knowledge of online marketing can take advantage of RSS feeds featuring content from their competitors and the latest industry news.

How Do RSS Feeds Work?

After you subscribe to an RSS feed, new content such as news articles, blog posts, and company updates is automatically sent to the feed reader that includes a summary of the new information.

This means you don’t have to search for updates yourself or follow company social media accounts. Content is delivered to your feed in real-time so you always have the latest content at the top.

How to Create an RSS Feed

Now that you understand how RSS feeds work, you can create your own feed to start receiving content updates. Here are some simple steps to create an RSS feed:

  • Install a web-based feed reader.
  • Make a list of your favorite sites.
  • Subscribe to feeds.
  • Organize your feeds into folders.

If you spend a lot of time online, RSS feeds can be a huge time saver. Here’s more information on how to set up a feed that will provide and manage updates from your favorite companies:

1. Install a web-based feed reader

Look for popular online feed readers that will provide the features or solutions you want. Some are designed for simplicity, others are more specific for people who want to use RSS feeds for professional purposes.

You’ll even find that some feed readers are created with visual appeal as a top priority. Try several to see which one fits your needs best.

2. Make a list of your favorite sites

To take full advantage of your RSS feed reader, you should make a list of the sites you visit frequently. This can include popular news sites, company blogs, personal blogs, and other forms of content. Once you have written your list, you will be ready to move on to the subscription step.

3. Subscribe to feeds

Once you’ve set up a feed reader account through a particular platform, you can start adding sites to your feed reader.

The process of adding a new feed to your feed reader can be done through the platform itself, which is probably easier than trying to find the iconic RSS feed symbol that looks like an orange square containing a tilted WiFi-like symbol. May also have RSS and XML fonts.

This may be as easy as clicking the + button, then copying and pasting the URL of the site you want to follow. You may get a message telling you that the site does not have an RSS feed set up. If so, keep reading to learn how you can generate feeds on almost any site.

4. Organize your feeds into folders

Once you’ve created a nice list of feeds to follow, you can stay organized by separating them into folders. You can label them by topic, level of importance, or time of day. The number of folders you create will help keep you organized, not take away your entire organizational plan.

How to Find and Create an RSS Feed from Scratch

Because RSS feeds are not as widely used today as they used to be, many sites don’t display the RSS feed icon prominently. This may be due to negligence or it may even be intentional.

Apart from that, you can still find the site’s RSS feeds in other ways. When a site is created using a Content Management System or CMS, it usually includes an RSS feed by default. Follow these steps to find hidden RSS feeds for web pages:

  • Try adding /feed/ to the end of the URL.
  • If that doesn’t yield any results, look at the HTML source of the website page.
  • Right-click the site page and select “page source.” A new window will appear.
  • Use the “find” key (Ctrl + F for PC or Command + F for Mac), then type RSS.
  • Look for the feed URL in the quotation marks after the href=.

Once you can find the name of the RSS feed, you can add it to your feed reader. There are cases where the RSS feed does not exist for the page and you cannot add it.

Frequently Asked Questions About RSS Feeds

Like many technology concepts, RSS feeds can take time and experimentation to learn. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions people ask about them:

Do people still use RSS feeds?

Although not as often as in the past, people still use RSS feeds to help manage and read online content. The use of RSS feeds has declined drastically in part due to the emergence of social media sites that provide content in an engaging way.

Another reason why businesses don’t prioritize RSS feed updates maybe because they don’t see value in the amount of effort required. They choose to focus on publishing social media content or promotional emails.

What is the biggest benefit that RSS feeds provide?

There are many reasons why people choose to set up RSS feeds. But the biggest reason is that RSS feeds are completely focused on providing the latest content from the companies you choose to follow.

Feedreader organizes new content in real-time so you know you’re always reading the latest. This saves you the time you would need to visit countless websites and scroll through new information. Plus, you don’t have to take the extra steps required to create and log into social media sites.

How difficult is it to set up an RSS feed reader?

The process of setting up an RSS feed reader doesn’t take long thanks to several free online feed readers. Do your research to find out which is the best. Then you can start the process of creating a feed reader account that will store your RSS feed. This will take less than 10 minutes.

How popular will RSS feeds be in the future?

It’s hard to say how long it will take for something like an RSS feed to become irrelevant. People who currently use feed readers tend to have specific reasons for using them and will continue to do so unless there are other, better organizing methods. But for now, RSS feeds provide a great service in managing the latest digital information.

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