What is RSS?
RSS is a web feed that allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator.
RSS is short for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a way to have information delivered to you. instead of you having to go find it.
If you’re visiting websites and blogs to see if there is anything new to read, you’re probably wasting a lot of time and not always finding anything new. RSS allows you to subscribe to a blog or website and have any new published information sent to you so you don’t have to go looking for it. For instance, if you sign up for the Blogging Basics 101 feed, then every time I publish a new article you’ll receive it in your feed reader.A feed reader gathers all of your feeds in one place so they’re easy to manage.
You have a favorite news website, you love to keep up with the events posted on your community’s website, and you have a dozen (or more) favorite blogs or podcasts with fresh content every week.
Checking each site one by one will take forever. Signing up for their emails could ensure you catch new information, but it’s also easy to mistake the emails as spam or to ignore them altogether in your crowded inbox. Relying on the site’s social media updates might mean you miss something important.
In an RSS feed, however, these updates and notifications are gathered, organized, and updated in real-time and placed into one place for you to see all at once.
Learn how to use RSS feeds to subscribe to all your favorite websites, so the latest content goes directly to your RSS feed.
An RSS feed allows you to create your own customized eZine of the most up-to-date content for the topics and websites you are interested about.
How Does the Information Get from the Website to Your Feed?
The author of your favorite website or podcast creates an RSS feed that maintains a list of new updates or notifications. You can check this list on your own, or you can subscribe to the feed so updates will show up in your own feed reader. This keeps you apprised of updates immediately.
What Does the Information Look Like?
In a feed reader, you’ll see brief and basic information about the full content. These are posted in chronological order so that the top entry is the latest published entry.
The RSS feed shows you a title, description, and link back to the original content. This helps you to quickly weed through what interests you and what doesn’t. When you find something you like, you can click through for the full content.
It’s All Thanks to an Aggregator
So how does this really work? An aggregator is responsible for the convenience of RSS feeds.
The RSS aggregator checks websites for new content automatically. It immediately pulls that content over to your feed so you don’t have to go and check each website individually to find new content.
The aggregator even keeps track of what you have and have not read by listing the number of articles or pieces of content for each website you are following that has not been seen. This helps you to more quickly see what’s going on within the websites that interest you.