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What is RSS Feed

What is RSS feed? This article indicates what RSS stands for and defines what an RSS fees is. Find out if you can benefit from starting your own RSS feed. Keep reading to find out how RSS works and how to set up an RSS feed.

What Does RSS Stand For?

The initialism RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary," depending on which version you're talking about. Syndication refers to a method of dispersal by simultaneous publication. Originally used of comics and columns that were run in many newspapers, syndication now is most commonly used of the distribution of headlines, updates, or content that appears online.

For people who are interested in reading content from a variety of websites that each update on a different schedule—such as news sites, blogs, podcasts, shopping sites that run specials and get new products in, etc.—checking each site for updates can be tedious and time-consuming, even if they have the sites bookmarked or have memorized the URLS. By using RSS, notification is streamlined and presented in a manageable way. Users save time and syndicators have a quick way to spread their content, helping the spread of brand recognition and—if the material is from a business with an online product to sell—possibly sales and freeing them from having to manage subscriptions.

RSS is not the only format used for syndication. Atom is another very popular syndication format. Atom is short for Atom Syndication Format, and alternative to RSS developed by Ben Trott to address what he saw as limitations and some poor design in RSS.

What Is an RSS Feed?

An RSS feed is the flow of information from an individual site about its updates. It is created in the form of an XML file that includes the title of the update, a description of the update, and a link to the update, as well as a publication date. There are several different versions of the RSS format in use. Atom feeds do the same thing. Some websites offer one or the other so users can only get an RSS or an Atom feed; others offer visitors a choice of RSS or Atom.

The feed is not read directly but through a "feed reader" or "feed aggregator," The feed may appear in a web browser or in a software program on the user's computer that is a separate program that must be installed. Some feeds are sent as emails.

How Do You Set Up an RSS Feed?

If you are using blogging software to create the postings you want to syndicate, such as WordPress, you may be able to find WordPress widgets or other add-ons that will do the task for you. You may also choose to set up an account with a tool like Google FeedBurner, which adds features to your feed. After registering with the service, you provide the URL of your feed, and since FeedBurner can accept both Atom and RSS feeds and make them readable for any device a subscriber uses, it helps avoid any downside to choosing one or the other feed protocol. Feedburner provides statistics to allow you to analyze the traffic and subscriptions as well as makes it possible to use Google AdSense with feeds, allowing distributors to earn revenue with their content.

How Does RSS Work?

You get information from the sites you have chosen by subscribing to their RSS feeds. This is generally accomplished by clicking a button near a logo that looks like a small orange square with three radio waves on it. The way it comes to you depends on the RSS reader or RSS aggregator that you choose. You could, for example, choose Google Reader and view your subscribed material through your browser, whether you use Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or a different browser. On the other hand, you could download an RSS aggregator or reader application, like Net News Wire, and open it when you want to see your feeds.

It is a common feature in readers to have a different appearance between feed entries that you have not yet read and that you have already looked at, as well as a way to mark entries that you want to come back to. Often, you will find a facility to 'mark all as read,' which allows you to dismiss material that you are not interested in keeping around, as well as a facility to navigate to the next unread item. There may be a feature that creates a shortcut for posting a feed item to your blog or sharing it with others, a feature to add new subscriptions, and a feature to refresh all the feeds.

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