What is RSS?
Most people keep up with their favorite blogs by following them on social media or signing up for their email list. Both of these are great in their own way, but RSS can be a wonderful compliment or alternative to these methods. It can especially useful to anyone who reads my blog because I don’t have a niche and I don’t send emails.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s a wonderful little bit of technology that allows you subscribe to your favorite blogs so that you never miss a single post, without social media, newsletters, or manually checking the site. When you subscribe to a blog’s RSS feed, the feed will automatically update every time there’s a new post for you to read.
In order to use RSS, you’ll need an RSS feed reader. Don’t worry, it’s free! (There are some premium apps you can pay for, but RSS is free and most feed readers are too.)
Almost all feed readers are pretty ugly to look at, but some are much worse than others. Some, like Yahoo for example, only display a link to the post, which is nice if you prefer to read posts directly on the blog.
Most other feed readers offer an option to read entire posts directly from their app. Unfortunately, most of them often fail to render the page’s code properly and they end up showing something that’s difficult if not impossible to read.
That’s why I recommend feedly. Feedly is the best and most popular RSS reader there is, and in my experience, feedly is the only reader that properly displays posts consistently. You can use feedly on your desktop or use the mobile app.
If you’re new to RSS, just save yourself the hassle and sign up for feedly. It’s free!
A few more things you need to know:
1. Almost all blogs have an RSS feed, even if the blog owner doesn’t know it.
2. You can read the RSS feed of any blog by entering the blog’s URL followed by /feed in a feed reader. For example, my blog’s RSS feed address is http://www.cassiewerner.com/feed (Do not enter this in your browser’s address box.)
3. Some bloggers do not allow you to read the entire post in a feed reader. Instead, they have their blog’s settings set to only display partial posts in the reader, followed by a link to their blog for the rest of the content. This is because they don’t make any money if you only read their posts in a reader and not on their blog.
If you subscribe to my RSS feed, you’ll see that some of the posts are full and some are partial. I want to encourage you to subscribe to my RSS feed, but I want you to visit my blog too.
4. There is one more beautiful thing about RSS which I think is especially helpful to readers of my blog. Because I’m a non-niche blogger, I have many different categories, some of which will interest you and some of which will not.
Guess what? You don’t have to subscribe to the whole blog! You can select only those categories you’re interested in and subscribe to those alone. It’s a bit more work, but it’s still easy.
Here’s how you do it:
Pick the category you want to subscribe to. Make sure you know the proper URL for that category. Every blog is a little bit different, and they structure their URLs differently. To make sure you have the proper URL, just navigate to the page of the category you want.
In order to do this, you’ll have to find the categories section of the blog that you’re on. Most blogs have a list of categories in the sidebar somewhere. Just click on the category you want to be take to that category’s page.
Next, copy the web address displayed in the address bar. Paste it into your feed reader and add /feed to the end of the address. There, you’re all done! You’ve just subscribed to the category of your choice without subscribing to the whole blog!
For example, let’s say want to follow the “Money” category of my blog. First, navigate to the “Money” category page by clicking on categories in the navigation bar and then click on “Money”.
The web address in the address bar will look like this:
Next, just add the feed onto the end so that it looks like this:
Now, just copy and paste that web address into you feed reader.
Remember that not all blogs or websites structure their URLs the same, so you need to confirm the category’s web address in order to subscribe. If you don’t get the address right, it won’t work.
Bonus Tip! You can also do this for specific authors or and tags as well. I hope this post has been helpful. Happy reading!