As you learn how to start a blog, you are going to want to know more about RSS feeds because they can become part of the lifeblood of your blog. RSS stands for really simple syndication. RSS feeds are a way for large and small websites to distribute their content beyond just their own visitors.
These feeds will allow people to subscribe to get regular updates delivered to them when you add new content to your site. Some people read their feeds online while others use news readers or get e-mails.
Having an RSS feed also makes it possible for the content of the site to be packaged up into different kinds of widgets and gadgets that can be displayed in other places. If you’ve ever been on a website and noticed the little orange icon that is usually located somewhere beside the URL, that is the RSS feed button.
What’s the Big Deal with RSS?
So what is the big deal about having an RSS feed? Thinking about how busy people are these days, it is no surprise that readers want to get information quickly and efficiently. With more and more people using mobile devices such as cell phones and tablet computers, having your content accessible by RSS feed is going to be vitally important.
Not everyone has time to go back to their web browser and read over your blog each day. Some people prefer to have only updated information sent to them by way of an RSS feed.
Thinking of it from the consumer’s perspective, subscribing to feeds allows them to look at a huge amount of online content in a very quick amount of time. For you as the publisher of the content, RSS feeds allow you to instantly distribute your content to a huge number of people who might want to subscribe.
These kinds of feeds make it possible for people to read lots of information without having to constantly remember to check their e-mail or your site manually. In short, it streamlines the user experience while still allowing people to get the information that they want and need.
Huge news outlets also publish content feeds throughout the day. Even Google itself publishes its own feeds. Hundreds of thousands of podcasters, video bloggers and traditional bloggers publish feeds every single day in order to continue making connections with their own followers. As a new blogger, you certainly don’t want to be left behind as technology moves forward. RSS feeds are not going anywhere anytime soon, so you must learn how to set one up for your site so that you can take advantage of the huge opportunity to gain more readership.
RSS Feed Aggregators
Before you set up your own feed, you should first understand how consumers are able to read these RSS feeds. There are many choices because there are over 2000 different feed reading applications available to consumers these days. These are also called news aggregators. Some readers also work specifically on mobile devices since more people get their news on their cell phones now more than ever. Some people also use online, web-based services to manage their feeds.
So how can you publish your own feed for your website? Since you are using WordPress, it’s likely that your feed is being published automatically. This means that anyone can click on the little orange box up next to your URL and download your feed. However, you want to publish your feed in other places in order to get it distributed to as many locations online as possible.
One place that’s very popular for submitting your feed is a website called FeedBurner.
In order to create the feed for FeedBurner and submitted, the steps are very simple. Once you sign up at the site, you simply input your WordPress blog URL and click next. After you go through the steps at the website, you will have a special RSS feed that you can now put into the sidebar of your WordPress blog.
This will let people know that they can easily subscribe using FeedBurner. Thankfully, you can use widgets in your sidebar in order to display the RSS symbol so that readers know they can get all of your content in a feed reader.
WordPress RSS Feeds
WordPress automatically creates several different kinds of feeds for your site. In order to find out your feed URL so that you can submit it to search engines and directories, WordPress says that there are four different feed addresses that you can use:
If you have set up custom permalinks in your blog, then the proper feed addresses would be:
Why Setup an RSS Feed?
Understanding the reasoning to set up an RSS feed is very important. Remember that your main goal as a blogger is to get your content out to as many people as possible who might be interested in what you have to say. This is sort of like your own version of online publicity. Getting people to subscribe to your RSS feed will allow them to constantly see the updated information that you post.
Instead of having to wait for someone to come back who might have forgotten that your blog even exists, you will be able to keep them updated by way of their subscription to your feed.
Many people may decide not to sign up for an e-mail list because they don’t want their inbox bombarded with possible spam e-mails all the time. However, they might still be very interested in your information so make sure that you always share things on your blog that you have shared in private e-mails to your list.
That way you’re really hitting people in both ways so that they get the information whether they subscribe to your e-mail list or only subscribe to your feed. In the end, building a successful blog is about trying to reach people in any way that you can without detracting from the relationship you’re trying to build with them. RSS feeds are one way that you can do that easily and effectively.