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Whether you’re a reader of blogs or websites or even a fellow blogger,
you need to know what an RSS feed is or an RSS driven email subscription.
What is an RSS Subscription?
RSS feeds are a way for readers to stay informed of new content on a website or a blog. RSS feeds offer various ways to receive this information, such as via email or through a feed reader.
The RSS Logo
Traditional RSS feeds feature the below logo. Logos seen around the web might be slightly modified, especially on blogs, for aesthetics (such as color matching). Examples are above.
When you see this icon, you can click on it. It will either take you to the feed, where you can choose your subscriber options or it will take to to an option to subscribe via email.
RSS for Readers
For readers, there are many ways to keep up with various feeds.
Subscription via email can simplify receiving content updates and save time for readers. Your RSS email subscription may contain snippets of an article or the full article. From there you can decide your interest in the specific article. The article title is clickable and will take you to the blog or website if snippets are enabled.
Alternately, you can choose to receive updates via an RSS reader or feed aggregator. Readers or aggregators such as Bloglovin (web), Feedly (iOS, Android & web compatible), Newsvibe (web), Tiny Tiny RSS (Android or web) have become increasingly popular since the distinction of Google Reader. A comparison of feed readers is available here.
RSS for Bloggers and Websites
Offering an RSS feed to your readers is a great way to ensure your readers receive updates to your blog or website, without actually having to go to your site. If you’re concerned about losing visits by offering the RSS option, you can opt to send snippets of your content or a summary in your emails or on your feed. When your users see the snippet or summary, they can click on the title of your post or the link to read more right in their email or feed.
Google Feedburner offers a free service. For email, users can opt to receive your feed daily via email or through an RSS reader, checking as often as they’d like. If your content is not time-sensitive, you should check out services such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, AWeber and more. With these services, you can select the frequency at which emails are sent. All of these services offer RSS driven campaigns, where the data is pulled from from your RSS feed and automatically sent via email based on a schedule you choose. Some services may charge a fee.
My Thoughts on RSS
As a blogger and a reader of many blogs and websites, RSS is a quick and efficient way for me to keep up with current events, as well as posts on my favorite topics. I use feed readers and subscribe via email.
I have set up rules in my email so that all of the feeds I subscribe to go to certain folders, typically categories related to each feed, such as News, Deals, Fashion, Parenting, Freebies and more. I do the same with Bloglovin’ and Feedly. Bloglovin’ is moreso used for blogs and Feedly is moreso used for mainstream websites.
Overall, RSS is an invaluable tool that saves me time. It’s like watching the 6′o-clock news versus receiving each story as it’s individually published. I click on the stores I’m interested in, while fast-forwarding through those that I’m NOT interested in.
Do you use RSS?
I’d love to hear your comments below. In the meantime, if you’re not sold, check out the benefits of RSS.