You are sure to have come across RSS feeds in content-heavy blogs/sites or if you subscribed to news feeds. But do you really understand what they are and how to best use them for your business?RSS feeds are so much more than a tool to let readers subscribe to your blogs’ content and deliver updates to them when a site/blog adds new content. WordPress allows easy integration with many third party online services and with RSS too. Besides keeping track of your favorite websites, RSS can be used in a number of inventive ways to boost traffic and improve user engagement in WordPress sites. Keep reading this post to know how to up your RSS feed game.
What Is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication or Rich Site Summary, which is a technology initially developed in the late 1990s by Netscape for posting third-party content. It is basically a simple XML file with a list of the latest articles created by a website or news feed, which gets updated with every new addition. This form of automatic content syndication works well for publishers and it also helps subscribers to see fresh content from other websites in a standardized format “feed,” without having to visit each site. Most RSS feeds only contain information such as the content title, description, published date and URL. RSS Feed Readers like Feedly, Panda, Newsblur, and Selfoss can be used to consume an RSS feed.
What Can You Do With RSS Feeds
The main ways of using RSS feeds on your website to manipulate content are-
Publishing and promoting your own RSS feeds with buttons and links in order to encourage users to subscribe to your content. You can keep your readers updated only with information relevant to them. For instance, show the live stock price in a ticker on your company site or display the headlines of your latest company news in the About Me section.
You can publish RSS feeds from other people’s websites & news feeds. You can automatically pull in content from them, categorize them and display in a reader-friendly format. For example, if you are a tech site then you may benefit from publishing the TechCrunch RSS feed (feeds.feedburner.com/TechCrunch) on your front page as either a list of content or even unique WordPress posts to help your readers keep up with the latest tech news.
You can also gather what people have to say about your business in different media sources or on social forums, without even leaving your WordPress dashboard and display it in the Testimonials section of your website.
You can increase your activity on social media forums by sharing content from the feeds on social networks automatically. Users get to read your content on other platforms and websites, which increases the exposure for your content massively.
Moreover, RSS feeds makes it easier for users on mobile devices to follow your content, which is a big boon, seeing that most people access the web on mobile devices. All of this ultimately leads to better user engagement and brand awareness.
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RSS Is NOT Just for Subscribing to Other Blogs
Most people associate RSS with blogs, but many other types of websites also have an RSS feed because of the range of functionality they offer. You can create an RSS feed for your Facebook page, for all the Instagram photos in your account, and even display specific YouTube videos as posts on your WordPress site. It is as simple as subscribing to YouTube Channels, and then exporting the subscriptions through RSS feeds to your WordPress website.
Many eCommerce stores, including Amazon, offers an RSS product feed that allow you to subscribe to the list of classified for that product. You can even import products from such stores as WordPress posts.
Event sites can promote and showcase their latest experiences in their event feed to keep people interested in what’s happening.
Set up a list of Google Alerts to track mentions of your business name in the press and other media forums so that you can easily manage the reputation of your business.
You can even inspire your audience by displaying fresh, inspirational quotes on your WordPress site drawn from other sites, using just a dedicated WP plugin for it.
Work With RSS Feeds in WordPress
WordPress can incorporate RSS feeds easily because it has built-in support, which directs readers to your RSS feed as soon as each page gets published. The RSS feed may not be as easy to find, which depends on the WordPress theme you are using, so consider re-adding the Meta Widget to your blog/site.
FeedBurner To Promote Own RSS Feed
Feedburner by Google can help you manage RSS feeds, help users find your feed, track subscriber numbers, integrate your feed into RSS feed readers, handle email subscriptions and so much more. The best bit is that it is a free service.
Add Other RSS Feeds to Your Website
WordPress plugins such as Feedzy RSS Lite helps displays basic RSS with shortcodes and widgets but you can add in the pro features to increase functionality.
You can use WP RSS Aggregator, a free core plugin to bring in content from other sites as basic lists. The paid add-ons for the plugin such as the Feed to Post add-on, Keyword Filtering, and more can help boost functionality to give you complete control over how your feeds work. It is also possible to import feed items to specific categories or custom post types.
Hopefully, this post has managed to lay to rest any RSS confusion you may have had and RSS is no longer a mystery to you!