How to set up RSS readers and why you should use them
If you are on WordPress you no doubt rely heavily on your WordPress Reader to see all the posts from the other bloggers that you subscribe to; an RSS Reader is the same thing only you can add more than just WordPress blogs to your content curation!
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds offer another way to get content from your favorite websites all in one place.
In this post I will talk about setting up a feed link for visitors, popular RSS Readers out there, and how to set up an RSS Reader yourself. Let’s dive into it!
To be honest, in this day and age of timelines and algorithmic echo chambers I am surprised that more people do not use RSS Readers as they are the best way to curate your news feed from whatever sources you want. I think that more people may be turning to RSS as a solution. But RSS Readers can be invaluable to bloggers as well!
If you are a blogger that subscribes to other blogs, chances are you are using an RSS reader (WordPress Reader or Blogger’s Reading List both are essentially RSS readers). These platform-specific tools come in really handy, but what happens if you come across a blog that you really love but they are on the opposite platform?
Depending on their personal preferences, there are three viable options for the subscriber to get your content and I believe that you should offer all three:
➡️ Bloglovin’ seems to be the popular solution, but I will be honest: I don’t use it personally. I don’t like the layout and I am not really interested in using it.
➡️ E-mail subscriptions are also a viable option, but not everyone will want to opt in additional email clutter (and honestly if they subscribe to many blogs your email notification could be buried forever).
➡️ RSS Readers are so easy to set up as all you have to do is provide your visitor with the link and they add it to the service they are already using. They don’t have to remember about a new website that they signed up for just to get your content (spoiler alert: they’ll probably forget) and from their feeds they are able to click through to your posts directly.
I hope that I have convinced you that you should add your RSS Feed link to your page. If you are ready to enable your visitors to easily keep up-to-date with your content, let’s talk about how to find your url!
How to find my RSS link – WordPress
If you are on the WordPress platform this will be incredibly easy for you because WP has built-in support for RSS.
Yes it really is that simple! There is also a comments feed if you want to get super fancy, and below are my links so you can see how it works:
All you need to do is provide that link to your readers and they will go to their Reader of choice! I linked to mine in the sidebar with the orange RSS social icon.
How to find my RSS link – Blogspot (or Any Website)
If the website is hosted on Blogger the feed URL isn’t as simple as appending “feed” to the end of the URL, and it is rather complicated to find it. But don’t despair because there is a super easy way to get the feed url (which also works for WordPress blogs):
- On the homepage of the website, right click and select “View Page Source”
- A new window will pop up with all of the page coding. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read hundreds of lines of code!
- CTRL+F to bring up the page search function and type “rss” and press enter.
- Copy the feed URL – that is what subscribers will need to pug into their readers!
I have my link – now what?
Now that you have your feed url, all you need to do is add it somewhere that your visitors can find it! The universal icon for RSS feed is three sideways lines like airwaves, and they are usually orange (but if you make your own buttons to match a theme just do the lines and people will know what it means).
How do I set up my own reader? And what else can I do?
I am a longtime user of RSS readers and my primary use has been for news coverage. I read a couple of different news sources in addition to my primary NYT subscription and using a reader eliminates the need to manually check multiple news websites, particularly when they stopped having a chronological order to their news posts. Maybe it is just me, but I like chronological order and am still mad at Instagram to be honest.
Anyways, I use my Reader to curate my own content that I want to see all in one place. This has eliminated the eleventy billion bookmarks that I used to have and made my life a lot better, and since one of my good blogging buddies Evelina @ Avalinahs Books has been having a nightmare time with her Jetpack being broken, I realized that I could add her blog (and a couple others) to my Reader of news and comics from xkcd!
I am a longtime user of The Old Reader (I moved over to it in 2013 after Google Reader was discontinued), but there are also a number of other free Readers out there. Some other popular ones include Feedly and Inoreader.
There are a few different ways that you can interact with your feeds: either an all at once chronological feed by clicking on ‘subscriptions’ (above) or by each source individually as seen below.
As you can see, all content is formatted the same in your feed. You can click the title to see the full article or post and interact/leave comments there. It is worth it to note that ‘Starring’ or ‘Loveing’ on Old Reader doesn’t translate to the blog itself but does play into the Trending area.
As new posts are made and news articles are published, my reader updates automatically so that I don’t miss anything! All I have to do is scroll through it when I have time to catch up on what is going on in the world. Timesaver! This won’t ever replace my WordPress reader, but since I am already a user for news I am happy to add a few blogs there — they have a much better chance of being read by me there than via Bloglovin’.
What about you, do you use an RSS Reader before or is this the first time you have heard about it? Do you think this would be useful for you to use?
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