RSS feeds, although out of fashion for web users in general, are still important for bloggers in two main ways. Let me explain what these are.
Firstly, I’d better explain what RSS and Feed Readers are for those not familiar with them.
What are RSS and Feed Readers
Blog platforms come with inbuilt RSS feeds which create a file of your recent posts, updated each time you write a new one. These files use an XML format, a code not meant to be read as it is. Here’s an XML example of a post from part of a recent PAC RSS feed as viewed in Chrome. Firefox auto converts them into a readable format. You can check it out in both browsers here: http://www.poweraffiliateclub.com/feed/
Looks complicated, doesn’t it! But, don’t concern yourself with the code, because RSS files are meant to be read in a Feed Reader (a news aggregator app which integrates with browsers and mobile devices). Google got rid of their own feed reader a few years ago, hence there is no inbuilt support to read them in Chrome unless you add a plugin.
Feed readers convert the RSS files into a readable format and allow subscription to multiple feeds. They offer features such as grouping, sharing and saving directly from the application. I’ll continue by talking about my preferred feed reader Feedly
Here is the same post as above as viewed in Feedly:
Feedly adds toolbar buttons to your browser. Clicking on these buttons let you add feeds directly, or takes you to your own Feedly page. Another plugin alerts you when you have unread posts in the reader.
The Importance of RSS for Keeping Up With Blogs You Follow:
RSS feeds help us keep up with blogs we follow, including those we regularly comment on. Check out Donna Merrill’s post here on PAC “3 Steps To Developing A Fabulously Loyal Following” showing us how important it is to follow other bloggers.
- A Feed Reader saves us from visiting each blog, in turn, to look for new content. This wastes our time when blogs don’t update regularly. For those that do, looking at the titles and excerpts in a Feed Reader lets us decide which we are interested in reading in full.
- WordPress blogs create two feeds, one for posts and another for comments. You can subscribe to one or both. It’s a good way of keeping up-to-date on your own blog’s comments as well as replies to those you’ve made on other blogs.
- As Feed Readers alert us to new posts, we can go and comment quickly. It’s especially important to get yourself noticed by being towards the top on a blog with many comments.
- Feed Readers save us from cluttering our bookmarks folders, leaving them free for non-blog sites.
- It saves you from subscribing by email to a blog’s updates and/or comments, decluttering your inbox.
- RSS readers let you organise the blogs we follow into categories: Here’s a screenshot showing my Feedly PAC Member Blogs category and some of the blogs in that category.
- As you can see below, Feedly integrates with social media and other platforms making it quick and easy to save and share posts straight from the reader.
Importance of RSS for syndicating your own content
Just as you can subscribe to blogs, others can subscribe to yours. They can then easily visit your blog, and save and share your posts to social media. People who regularly use a Feed Reader will subscribe to your blog if they like it. They will then know when you publish a new post.
Others need a reminder, so it’s wise to add an RSS subscribe button to your other follow buttons. You might also like to add a note to some of your posts with links to your feeds (posts and comments)
I’ve only talked about Feedly here because it does all I need and I’m familiar with it. Zapier’s article The 10 Best Feed Reader Apps review another 9.
Do you use a Feed Reader? If not, and after reading this, will you consider it? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
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My very best wishes for your success,