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RSS Feed: What is it & How does it Work?

The internet is full of awesome content. Be it blogs, articles, ebooks, podcasts, news, videos, GIFs, etc. there’s no shortage of good quality content online. So much so that there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day. An astounding 90 percent of the data on the internet has been created since 2016, according to an IBM Marketing Cloud study. That’s a heck of a lot of content!

However, as much as we all enjoy consuming all this content, we often miss out on a ton of the ‘good stuff.’ We rely on Google searches, social media feeds or visiting our favorite websites to get the latest content- all of which are time-consuming methods.

People checking out news feed

A much more organized way to get all your latest content in one place is by subscribing to an RSS feed. RSS feeds are an age-old method that helps us get rid of this content overload and makes sure we get the content in an algorithmically-free, systematic manner. 

What is an RSS Feed? (Definition and its Origin)

RSS was first introduced by Netscape, a computer service company that was dominant in the 90s. Developed in 1999, RSS is an acronym for rich site summary, a format used to deliver the latest content from different websites at a single location.

RSS is like a news aggregator that gives users all the information they need (podcast episodes, blog posts, news, and more) from various websites in one place and broadcasts it in the form of a list. This list, or an RSS feed, was the primary way of consuming information online in the early 2000s. 

Almost every website on the internet offers its content in an RSS feed. You would have probably seen an orange wifi-like symbol on websites. It means that the website is RSS enabled. 

There are many “RSS feed readers” on the market that lets you read your RSS feeds easily. These readers convert the RSS text files into a stream of the latest content from around the internet (or the ones you are subscribed to). RSS readers update automatically and deliver only the latest content first in a chronological manner. 

RSS Readers usually automatically update, so that they deliver the newest content right to your device. Overall, RSS feeds act as your own personalized e-magazine, curating all the newest content from websites you like to visit regularly. 

The Relevance of RSS Feeds in the Modern World!

RSS feeds are as relevant as they ever will be. With millions of websites, social media platforms, and new content being posted daily, it’s hard to keep track of all this awesome information. With all of us having a limited amount of leisure time in our day, it’s impossible to keep checking our favorite websites in hopes of something new and exciting.

RSS solves this problem by giving you all the freshest content from your favorite website in one place, making RSS readers more notable and in-demand than ever.

A lady reading news online

Not just readers, but bloggers, website owners, and even marketers can make use of RSS by offering content from other websites. Creating new and relevant content on a daily basis is not only hard but also time-consuming. Many times you hit a creative roadblock and just cannot put out content, especially if you are a solo-preneur or have a small team. 

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By deploying an RSS feed from different websites in your niche on your blog, you can keep your readers updated about the latest industry news which in turn, solidifies your status as a thought-leader, making you the ultimate expert in a particular field.

Read more: How to Embed Custom RSS Feed Content on Your Website with elink?

How does an RSS Feed Work?

Let’s start with a small vocabulary lesson – RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. 

Whatever people call it, it is basically a way to deep-dive into the content of your selected websites without missing an update. Using RSS, you can easily subscribe to your favorite blogs and websites and organize them under a single folder. 

In short, RSS creates order out of chaos. You don’t have to go through the repetitive cycle of visiting and re-visiting the same sites multiple times per day. Instead, you can have new valuable content come to you directly.

All you need to get started is an RSS reader (also called an RSS aggregator) and an Internet connection. RSS readers collect and interpret all the RSS feeds in one place. That way, you can see all the latest posts from CNN, NY Times, BBC, or any other website – without visiting them individually. 

The working mechanism behind RSS is pretty straightforward.

1. A website willing to publish its content using RSS creates an RSS Feed for it, either manually or with software.

2. When you subscribe to their RSS feed, you can get all the new content that’s posted on the website in an RSS reader – presented in chronological order of newest to oldest. 

3. To subscribe to your favorite website’s RSS feed, click on the RSS icon and obtain the URL.

4. Simply copy and paste that URL in your RSS reader, and you’ll become a subscriber to that particular RSS feed.

5. With an RSS reader, you can subscribe to multiple feed sources, which are the sites that you’d like to pull content from. 

7. Once you have everything set up, all of your feeds will appear in one location. The RSS reader will keep checking your feed sources for new content and update you when it finds something.

8. Your RSS reader will show these essential components: a title, a summary of the article, and a direct link to the article or post. If a particular title catches your eye, simply click on it and go to the relevant site. 

In a nutshell, instead of spending eternity searching for the content that you want, you can just subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite websites and set up an RSS reader to do it for you!

Read more: RSS Feed Url: Definition & Ways to Find it?

Where to find the Best RSS Feed Reader? 

There are few good RSS feed readers out there. However, if you need a modern-looking and feature-rich tool, is a great RSS feed reader. This nifty RSS reader allows you to add RSS feeds of the publications you love the most. Users can choose from an unlimited number of RSS feeds and make sure they never miss out on new stuff from their favorite publications and blogs. rss feed reader and creator

elink allows users to easily filter and search for articles based on keywords and sources, thereby helping them discover & curate content. Once your feed is populated, you can click any headline to read more details about the article. Click further to read the entire article on the publication’s website. elink has an easy to read and a clutter-free interface that puts your entire focus on the stuff you are reading without any distractions. 

On top of being an awesome RSS reader, elink is also amongst the best content curation tools out there. You can use elink to bundle articles directly from your RSS Feed Reader and create professional email newsletters, single web pages, and web content to share with your social media followers, customers, clients, customers, and even internal teams.

You can update the titles, descriptions, and images to add your own voice to the content you’re sharing and can even update your content after it has been published! All-in-all, elink is not only a great RSS reader, but is a dream tool for anyone who creates and distributes content online!

Here is a video tutorial on how to use elink for rss feeds:

Parting Words

With the birth and subsequent virality of social media, people started getting their news and content from social media feeds. However, as social media has grown in popularity, it also became a lot noisy. On Facebook alone, a million links are shared every 20 minutes! On top of that, most social media platforms are governed by algorithms, which means that you will not get updates from all the pages/accounts you are following. 

Though RSS fees are not as prominent as they used to be, they still hold their value in today’s day and age. They work particularly well if you are devoted to a few specific publications and don’t want to miss out on their new content. RSS feeds are a great alternative to social media accounts if you want your daily dose of news and articles without all the bling of status updates, photo uploads, and cat videos!

Additionally, since RSS feeds update automatically and even offline, you don’t really have to do anything once you have set up the sources you need your content from. Awesome, right?!

So what are you waiting for? Go set up your RSS feed and use elink to make the process of reading and curating RSS feeds a breeze. Good luck!

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