What is RSS and how to use RSS Feed in WordPress

What is RSS and how to use RSS Feed in WordPress

WordPress is one of the most used Blogging platforms these days. Although it is not limited up to blogging only, it is a beloved website development platform for the developers as well. It is easy to manage and can be used easily without a sound knowledge of coding.

If you are a WordPress user as a WordPress developer or a blogger or you spend a lot of time online then you must have come across the concept of RSS feed. These were developed in the late 90s and since then getting increasingly popular. Today it acts as a standard tool to publish frequently changing content.

Let us gather some more knowledge about RSS feed, its benefits and usability:

What is RSS?

RSS is a standard web feed format. RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary” , it is referred to as “Really Simple Syndication” more often. It uses a family of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information. Previously you have to bookmark a website and keep visiting it for any updates, in case you wanted to keep track of the updates on your favorite website. Imagine how would it be if the website itself inform you if it has any update? This is where RSS comes in play. It allows you be informed about any updates on your favourite website without any frequent visits on it.

RSS allows the you to syndicate the content in order to reach to the mailbox of your visitors. Basically RSS feed is a structured XML document which looks somewhat like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
	<title>My Site</title>
	<description>Learn WordPress</description>
	<lastBuildDate>Date    Time</lastBuildDate>
	<language>Language used</language>
       	<title>MY POST</title>
        <pubDate>Date Time</pubDate>
        <guidisPermaLink="false">Link to the post</guid>
     	<description><![CDATA[<p>Description of post goes here...]]></description>
		<content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Post goes here....]]></content:encoded>

Benefits of RSS feed:

The increase in the popularity of RSS is also because of the fact that it benefits both, the users and as well as the site owners. Let us have a look on some os its benefits to both.

Benefits for the Users:

  • Users can subscribe to the websites the like and can get updates easily.
  • Instead of waiting for an e-mail, a user can use the feed reader and check all the updates at the same place.
  • The subscribers can also enjoy the offline reading of the content.
  • It enables the users to easily scan through headlines of each post and they can easily decide which ones are worth reading.

Benefits for the Site Owners:

  • You allow the visitors to become regular on your site by By creating an RSS feed for your content and prompting the visitors to subscribe.
  • It also allows the promotion and sharing of your content on other blogs and on social media.
  • RSS feeds include back links to your site and helps in attracting large traffic.
  • It keeps the users updated with the latest information of your website.
  • It assures you the reaching to your subscribers as RSS feeds are not subject to the spam filters.

Managing WordPress RSS feeds:

WordPress automatically publishes all your blog posts to an RSS feed excluding Pages, and custom post types. WordPress offers you four possible URLs for your website feed:

  • www.yourwebsite.com/?feed=rss
  • www.yourwebsite.com/?feed=rss2
  • www.yourwebsite.com/?feed=rdf
  • www.yourwebsite.com/?feed=atom

There are two feed settings in WordPress which can be found on reader settings page.
First, one asks you the number of items you want to display in your feed. The other option is to set whether you want to display full text or summary .

Normally large websites display summary in their feed as it allows them to push more traffic to their website and increases their page views. You can use some services to promote your feed. There are a number of such services which enhance your WordPress feed and also add social media integration.

Promoting RSS feed:

A WordPress website already publishes an RSS feed. However, you can always prompt your visitors to subscribe to the RSS feed by adding an RSS icon to your sidebar. It is the best way to promote your RSS feed.

Using RSS Reader:

There are RSS applications for almost every device like a mobile, Mac, Windows and Linux etc. Moreover, you can use browser extensions to add any page to your reader. There are many RSS readers which you can use and Netvibes, Feedly, Flipboard are some of the commonly used readers.

Overall RSS is a technology which brings a number of benefits to you irrespective of the fact that you are a content publisher or a reader only. WordPress once again gives you the freedom to use RSS plugins to take your RSS feeds to next level. Using an RSS plugin you can add thumbnails to your feed and display subscription links and RSS icons in your WordPress theme and much more. If you are planning to start an online blog or already own one then it’s quite important for you to understand and use the RSS Feed concept.

Mary Scott

Mary Scott is a WordPress expert, associated with Stellen Infotech, one of the best WordPress Outsourcing Company. She has delivered numerous range of quality products related to this. She has a strong passion for writing useful and insights about WordPress tips and tricks.

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