What is RSS? – RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and is defined as:
A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. – Wikipedia.
In the ‘old’ days, syndication was used to sell the right to broadcast a radio or television show to news and media outlets.
Believe it or not that still happens!
RSS, or web syndication, began as a kind of mirror to the broadcast version but it’s usage and end results have turned out to be much more flexible.
What is RSS?
RSS is a content stream, usually updated regularly, that is able to be copied or republished on another website, device or application.
In the case of news outlets and many website feeds, the original source of the information is often attributed as well.
RSS can be created manually but most often a system, like WordPress is used to generate the ‘feed’ automatically. In WordPress your feed is updated whenever you publish an article from Posts >> Add New.
What is it used for?
- Following updates from sites without having to visit them directly, usually with a feed ‘reader’.
- The republishing and display of your blog content on other websites and devices.
- Podcasting – iTunes automatically downloads new episodes when you are subscribed.
RSS is another way to follow updates from websites instead of bookmarking and/or email subscriptions.
How do I find my RSS feed URL in WordPress?
You can find the feed for either a free or a self-hosted WordPress site by placing /feed/ after the root URL.
- For a WordPress.com site, your feed URL would be http://yoursite.wordpress.com/feed/
- For a self-hosted WordPress site, your feed URL would be http://yoursite.com/feed/
To make your feed more compatible with readers around the web it’s a good idea to use Googles Feedburner service.
What are some good RSS feed readers?
- Feedly – Subscribe to RSS feeds with the web app or with a Firefox addon or Google Chrome extension. Feedly also has an IOS and Android application.
- Feed Demon is a free Windows RSS feed reader.
- Reeder is a Mac/IOS feed reader.
How do I subscribe to an RSS feed?
Start by setting up a reader whether it’s web-based or an application. Then when you visit a website, look for this icon:
Many news sites will have a whole page dedicated to their various news feeds. Pick the one that suites you and either click on it from your web application or copy the feed URL into your application.
From then on when you launch your application you will see the latest updates from their feed at the top.
An example of republishing an RSS feed
Here is a display from this blog, created in the simple tool, RSS Pump. This list will update dynamically as we publish fresh content.
Once you have entered your RSS feed and configured the display of the feed, copy the code and paste it into your WordPress page making sure to be in Text mode first.
How do I display RSS Feeds in Posts or Pages?
You could use a service like RSS Pump shown above, as an external service, or…
You could install a plugin called HungryFEED. It places a small button in your post/page editor that allows you to display feeds in a variety of ways.
Using the RSS widget in WordPress
1. Navigate to Appearance >> Widgets and locate the RSS widget.
2. Drag it to your sidebar area and enter the Feed URL you want to display and give it a title.
This is how it looks (with the twenty ten theme) in the sidebar:
I hope this gives you a clearer picture, not only of what RSS does but how it can be useful to you as well.
If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments! 🙂