An RSS feed is something that all bloggers should know about.
It stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Basically, this means that your blog is syndicated and people can subscribe to your posts. Even if you haven’t been quite sure what it is, you’ve probably seen this icon on many blogs:
This is the RSS icon. It signals to readers that the blog offers an RSS feed that they can subscribe to.
Why Would Someone Want to Subscribe to an RSS Feed?
The main reason is convenience. Rather than having to bookmark a blog and return to it, some people prefer to subscribe to a feed that they can check out whenever they want. By subscribing to different feeds, users can use an RSS reader to quickly scan the headlines of news and blog posts that are of interest to them.
There are a ton of RSS readers that you can choose to use. You can choose different readers depending upon whether you’re using a Mac or Windows, or whether you’re using a desktop/laptop or a mobile device. One of the most popular web-based readers in recent years has been Google Reader, which will actually be discontinued by Google this year. Fortunately, you have many other options available to you. For example, I use Feedly, which will deliver headlines from the blogs I subscribe to directly to whichever device I happen to be on – my laptop, iPad, or iPhone. I can then catch up on the blogs that are of interest to me without having to actually go to those sites.
What are the Benefits of Having an RSS Feed?
One of the main benefit of RSS is that it is convenient for some of your readers. Some readers will return to your site to read your blog posts, some will choose to receive your updates by email, and some will prefer to follow you on social media to get your updates. Some will prefer to keep up with your posts using an RSS reader. As a blogger, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for people to read your blog in the way that they want to.
Other benefits include being able to see the number of your subscribers and giving them the option to subscribe by email.
Finally, some websites will use your RSS feed to syndicate your content. For example, Alltop is a website aggregator that will use your RSS feed to show your latest posts on its site and to its subscribers.
How Do I Set Up an RSS Feed on My Blog?
Setting up an RSS feed is really simple.
WPBeginner, which is a great site to check out if you’re using WordPress for your blog, has provided step-by-step instructions on how to set up your RSS feed using Feedburner. It is worth noting that one of the most popular feed services in recent years, Google’s Feedburner, appears to be on its way out with no clear heir apparent (read this TechCrunch article for more info). If you’re interested in alternatives to Feedburner, this Crazy Egg post provides a good list.
One of the nice things about setting up the RSS feed on your blog is that once you get it set up, it doesn’t require any maintenance. Your feed will automatically show your latest posts to subscribers without you having to do anything.
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