RSS – Really Simple Syndication

Real Simple Syndication (RSS) is the term used to refer the collection of Web feed formats that provide updated or shared information in a standardized way. The information could be website or blog entries, news headlines, or audio or video files. RSS documents usually contain complete or summarized text, metadata, and author and publishing information. 

RSS feeds benefit both publishers and subscribers because they syndicate work automatically in a format that can be easily accessed and viewed by different applications. 

Really Simple Syndication feeds are generally read with help of a Really Simple Syndication reader (RSS reader).These readers collect the website URLs that subscribers would like to follow. These are either stored manually by the subscriber or by clicking the RSS feed button found in most browsers or websites. In this way, the reader can check frequently for updates and download them for the subscriber.

There are some distinct advantages to using RSS. Instead of visiting the individual websites, RSS feeds can help provide users with updates and information from different sites in one convenient place. Another advantage is in ensuring the user’s privacy because unlike signing up for a website’s email, RSS does not require that the user submit contact information.

What is RSS?

  • RSS is an acronym for “Really Simple Syndication” or is also known as “Rich Site Summary”.
  • RSS is a format for delivering regularly updated web content including blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video to users in a standardized format.
  • RSS continuously scans content or subject matter of a specified website in searching for new information.
  • The RSS site then transmits the information updates by way of feeding the information to subscribers.
  • Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed.


  • Notification of updates to multiple Web sites is presented to users well organized and distinct from email.
  • Each RSS notification consists of a simple title and a more complete description along with a Web page link.
  • The information or metadata allows subscribers to decide if they want to follow the link.
  • The feed is virus free with no advertisements.

VIDEO – RSS in Plain English: How could you use RSS?

RSS Applications

  • RSS allows web authors to easily distribute their content.
  • RSS provides constant updates from multiple sites.
  • RSS users no longer have to visit each site individually.
  • RSS is spam free and does not distribute your email address thus maintaining your privacy.
  • RSS can be used as targeted advertising and marketing by subscribing to receive the latest news on a company’s products and services.

RSS Feeds

  • When content is placed into an RSS and sent to other people or websites it is termed a feed.
  • RSS feeds organize content that is regularly updated so that users can systematically retrieve it with ease.
  • Small, often orange, RSS Feed icons on websites link to that website’s feed.
  • Viewing another site’s feed is referred to as aggregation as your feed gathers all of the site’s latest entries.

Creating RSS Feeds

  • To attract users to your web sites, blogs, podcasts or other online postings you will need to create an RSS feed.
  • This is accomplished by creating an XML file.
  • There are a number of available free or inexpensive feed generators to accomplish this task.
  • Creating an RSS file requires:
    • Feed Title
    • Feed Description
    • Feed Link

RSS Reader

  • Readers or aggregators are software or a hosted application.
  • They collect RSS feeds from various preselected sources and Web sites and then organize and display them.
  • The feed reader / news aggregator provides a consolidated view of the content in a single browser display or desktop app.
  • Feed Reader or News Aggregator software is required for users to grab the RSS feeds from various sites and display them for reading and use.
  • Most blogging sites automatically engage readers to produce RSS feeds for subscribers.

How to view RSS Feeds

  • Viewing a RSS file in a web browser most often results in raw XML text and not a properly formatted HTML web page.
  • To properly view an RSS feed properly a subscription to a reader or aggregator is required.
  • Simply open your reader to read the individual feeds.

How to use RSS Readers

  • To subscribe to RSS feeds you will need:
    • An RSS reader
    • The URL (web address) of the RSS feed to subscribe to.
  • To subscribe, click on the orange and white logo on your favorite website to subscribe or… Follow the instructions of your RSS reader.
  • To unsubscribe, simply remove the feed from your reader.

VIDEO – Getting Started with Google Reader:

Popular RSS REaders

  • Snarfer
  • FeedDemon
  • Grabit
  • NewzCrawler
  • Google Reader
  • Omea Reader
  • Bloglines
  • Awasu
  • RSS Mountain
  • RSS Bandit
  • ESPN Bottom Line
  • Tristana
  • Klipfolio
  • Sage
  • RSS Captor
  • RSSOwl
  • SharpReader
  • Feed Rinse

RSS Feed Generators

  • FeedForAll
  • FeedYes
  • IceRocket
  • RSS Creator
  • Toucan RSS Creator
  • AmphetaDesk
  • Feedity
  • iTunes RSS Generator
  • RSS Generator