RSS Feeds for Websites

Elizabeth Anello | 7 January 2022

What are RSS Feeds?

RSS Feeds put information sources together in one place and provide updates when sites add new content. RSS Feeds are different to social media feeds, as RSS feeds show everything which a website publishes, whereas social feeds only show favorite content which people share. An example of an RSS feed is BBC news, which is shown on the BBC website.

To find RSS feeds on a website, it will be on the site’s main or home page. Some websites also display an orange button to make it easy to locate the RSS feed.

How to add an RSS feed to a website:

XML:

The RSS feed is essentially an XML file. For it to be identified as an RSS feed you must adhere to a specific format for the XML file. The steps of using XML include using specific tags to create the feed. The tags include a title tag, link tags and a description tag which contains a brief introduction about the RSS feed on the website. The “last build date” tag provides the last time any content in the channel changed, although this is optional. You can also make the RSS feed dynamic through using WordPress. In general, regardless of what language you use, the steps or logic for the code will be the same:

  • Connect to the database containing all the information we require (refer above).
  • Fetch all the ENTRIES that you want to add to the RSS feed. Usually it is the 10 most recent ones
  • Generate the first part of the file, i.e. the HEADER.
  • For each item, do the following:
  • Generate an <item> tag.
  • Fill in the required tags and content.
  • Generate the </item> tag.
  • Generate the FOOTER to close off the file.

Plug-in:

A plug-in used to make RSS feeds is WP RSS Aggregator. This is a great way to grow your audience organically and establish credibility. This plugin can be used on WordPress. To add the plugin you will need to go to plugins, add new, then search for WP RSS Aggregator which you will then need to install and activate.

There are many different sections to this plugin including:

  • Feed Sources: All added feed sources will be listed here.
  • Add New: From here, you can add new feed sources.
  • Feed Items: Imported feed items will be displayed here.
  • Blacklist: The feed items listed here will be disregarded when importing new items.
  • Import & Export: Import multiple feeds at once. You can also Export feeds from here.
  • Settings: General and advanced settings can be configured in this section.
  • Debugging: Update or delete all feed items.
  • Add-Ons: To make more out of this plugin, there are many other premium features too.
  • Help & Support: WP RSS Aggregator team makes sure to help in every question.

CaboodleAI:

Through CaboodleAI you can have the option to aggregate your own content from the sources most relevant to you which can then be shared to your website, newsletter and social media channels via your own RSS feed. CaboodleAI automatically create an RSS feed ready for you to integrate into your newsletters, websites and to share to social networks.You simply go to setup where you will find your RSS link which you then embed into your website. This is what the link looks like on the back end of one of our clients websites (https://merchantriskcouncil.org/news-and-press/industry-updates):

Here is what it looks like embedded onto a website:

To create an RSS feed for a website, above shows the methods to do so. Through the use of either XML, a plug-in or through the use of tools such as CaboodleAI.

Challenges of original content:

The challenges of original content would include the fact that it can be time-consuming for your staff and also very costly. However curated content has massive benefits including that it saves businesses so much time and money!

Coming up with new unique content every single day is very time consuming and challenging. Curated content brings in new content every day for your business, allowing you to keep your audience engaged all year round. This can increase new sales and exposure to your business as well!

Top 5 best feed aggregators

  • Feedly:
    Feedly is the industry standard for web-based RSS readers, and has been for a while. It’s not hard to see why—its clean and simple interface is a great solution for both casual readers who just want to see all of their websites in one place and power users who want to take advantage of every feature RSS apps have to offer.
  • Newsblur:
    With a NewsBlur account, you can subscribe to up to 64 different feeds, read full-text content of those sites in its web reader, and save stories to read or access in the future. But NewsBlur’s most interesting feature is its sophisticated filtering, which can automatically highlight or hide stories based on certain criteria. NewsBlur also lets you share your favorite stories, either on social networks or inside of NewsBlur. Within the app, you can add stories that you read.
  • Inoreader:
    You can follow 150 feeds, and you can even search within your subscriptions.Your content—even the stuff you’ve already read—is stored permanently. You can also group your feed in folders.
  • The Old Reader:
    You can connect your Facebook and Google accounts to share your recommendations with friends. This is a great way to discover new blogs, sites, and channels to follow—as well as share your favorites with your friends. There is also a trending tab which shows everyone with the app’s recommendations instead of just your friends.
  • CaboodleAI:
    Through the use of CaboodleAI it is very simple to bring in new content for your audience. You just start by training the AI with your editorial expertise as to what content your audience would like to see; solely done by approving and rejecting the right content for you. This can group your content into different feeds based on categories, ready to share with your audience.

Overall, RSS feeds are very beneficial for websites as they can engage audiences whilst also being time and cost effective. They will also allow you to reach a wider audience more easily and allow the audience to be up to date quickly with the latest news rather than them spending their time browsing on many different sites online.