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7 Things You Should Know about RSS

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards


“7 Things You Should Know about RSS Feeds” by Joan Y. Edwards

If you’re like me, sometimes you read initials and wonder, “What in the world is that and what does it mean?”

That’s the way I used to feel about RSS.

Do you need an RSS Feed for Your Blog or Website? After reading the following 7 things you should know about RSS Feeds, you will know your answer.

1. What Is an RSS Feed? Wikipedia says that RSS means Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication.

Isn’t it wonderful when people explain jibberish with more jibberish?

My definition: RSS is a simple way for people to subscribe to your blog or website. To me, RSS stands for Really Simple Subscribing.

RSS is a way to receive updates to blog entries, news headlines from newspapers, audio from a podcaster, or YouTube videos. All the updates from one site form a feed. Each feed gives the author and date of publication. A feed may include full text, summarized text, or text excerpts. It will only list the blog posts since the feed started.

Atom is similar to RSS. It will give you the same choices as for RSS.

2. Should You Provide Full Content, Short Summaries, or Excerpts to RSS Feeds?

If you give the full content for your RSS or Atom feeds, the downside is that these reads do not show up in the statistics for views. To count as views, readers must click on the webpage or blog link. It’s a good plan to put an excerpt or short summary and add a link for subscribers to go to the website or blog to see the rest of the story. When they click on the link, their views count in your statistics.

3. Do All Blogs and Websites Offer RSS or Atom?

Many blogs and websites provide a feed for RSS and/or Atom subscribers. Both WordPress and Blogger give feeds for RSS and Atom subscribers for posts and comments. I have a blog on both, so I used them for examples. Check out the RSS subscription from the left-hand column of this blog.

I started a new blog on Blogger. It only has one post. It’s called, “It’s a Great Day!”  http://www.joanyorkedwards.blogspot.com. Scroll down to the gray area at the very bottom. That’s where you can subscribe to my posts with Atom.

  • Live Bookmarks on Browser (Internet Explorer)
  • Microsoft Outlook (email)
  • Choose Other Software Application from your computer.  (I’m clueless unless some readers are applications on your computer, iPad, or iPhone.)
  • My Yahoo (Go to your My Yahoo page and click Content. Now, add the feed web URL you want listed.)

4. What Are the Links for RSS and Atom Feeds for Posts and Comments on Blogger and WordPress?

WordPress Feeds

Here’s the way to see your RSS or Atom feed for a WordPress blog using my Never Give Up blog for a sample:


RSS      http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com/feed/

Atom   http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com/feed/atom/


RSS      https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/comments/feed/

Atom   https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/comments/feed/atom/

If your blog is WordPress, substitute your blog address for mine, and you will see your RSS or Atom feed. You can put one of these links at the bottom of a post or put a widget in the sidebar of your blog to advertise your RSS or Atom feed. Then people can click on it and subscribe with RSS that way.

Blogger Feeds

Here’s the way to see your RSS and Atom feeds on a Blogger blog using my “It’s a Great Day” blog as a sample:


RSS        http://joanyorkedwards.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Atom     http://joanyorkedwards.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default


RSS         http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default?alt=rss

Atom      http://joanyorkedwards.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default

If your blog is with Blogger and has the Blogspot web address, substitute your blog address for mine. Use the link to see your RSS or Atom feed for posts or comments. You can put your link at the bottom of your blog to advertise your RSS or Atom feed. Then people can click on it and subscribe. Some Blogger blogs already have Atom listed. Mine has it at the bottom, way below the white part, in the gray area for my “it’s a Great Day” blog: http://www.joanyorkedwards.blogspot.com

5. How to Start and Manage a Feed

Once you know what the link for your website or blog feed is, then you can register it with Feedburner. Google owns Feedburner. It collects and keeps track of your subscriptions: https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=feedburner. After you log-in to your Google Account, it takes you to your account page. Now click on products, then Feedburner.

  • Sign up for an RSS account with Feedburner.
  • Put the RSS feed link for your website, Blogger, or WordPress in the box. Use my post and comment links for RSS and Atom, as an example and insert your blog feed link.

Feedburner has many options. It would take too long to explain them all. I’ll just name a few: statistics, summaries, email the author, share on Facebook.

Once you put in your blog feed link, Feedburner creates a new link for you. That’s the one to put in your WordPress or Blogger RSS Widget.

When someone subscribes to your RSS or Atom Feed, they see the feed and get choices of where they want the feed copies sent at the top:

See mine in the left-hand column of this blog with the RSS symbol for posts. It’ll ask you where you want to save your feed from a drop-down menu.

  • Live Bookmarks on Browser (Internet Explorer)
  • Microsoft Outlook (email)
  • Choose Other Software Application from your computer (I’m clueless as to what software that might be, unless some readers are applications on your computer. This may be true for desktops, laptops, iPads and iPhones.
  • My Yahoo (Click content on your My Yahoo page and add the feed web URL you want listed)

6. Now That You’ve Registered Your Feed, You Need a Reader (an Aggregator)

There is a reader called an aggregator to read the webpages you subscribe to by RSS. A reader collects frequently updated content from websites and blogs and puts it in one place.

RSS feeds offer web syndication – a way to put information from one site onto another. If you share someone’s blog on yours, it’s a great idea to put a summary or excerpt with a link to the original work. This way both you and the author of the original blog or website get credit for a view.

Here’s a link to my Contact Page from my website, http://www.joanyedwards.com with a Feed of my blog: http://www.joanyedwards.com/ContactInformation.htm. I got the code for how to do this from the FreeWind website: http://www.feedwind.com.

WordPress has a Reader with all of your WordPress blog subscriptions. I think that My Yahoo page is a reader.

Here are four readers:

  • NewsIsFree – a free service. It has a premium service available for a price.
  • Omea Reader – RSS News Feed Reader – Organizes with folders
  • Feedly is a reader-aggregate run by Google.
  • Reeder apps for IPad or iPhone, or Mac shows all the webpages you save on Feedly.

7. If All of This Information about RSS, Aggregators, and Syndication Sounds Too Complicated, Offer an Email Subscription.

I believe an email subscription will meet the needs of most of your subscribers.

For your personally, you can bookmark or save the website or blog you like as a favorite on your browser and visit it when you like. You can follow it with Google Plus+, Facebook, or Twitter.

Your great writing will pull people to your blog or website over and over again. You can count on it.


  1. Blogger. “Blogger Feed URLs:” https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/97933?hl=en
  2. Brian Haines. About.com. “5 Steps to Easily Increase Traffic to Your Blog – Using Hootsuite, Twitter…”
  3. Google.com. “Feed 101:” https://support.google.com/feedburner/answer/79408?hl=en
  4. James Kimmons. About.com. “Real Estate RSS – What is a Real Estate RSS Feed?” http://realestate.about.com/od/bloggingforrealestate/a/real_estate_rss.htm
  5. Kristi Hines. Kissmetrics. “12 Great Ways to Use Your Business Blog’s RSS Feed:” http://blog.kissmetrics.com/blogs-rss-feed/
  6. Lorelle VanFossen. “Adding RSS Feeds to WordPress (websites – WordPress.org) http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/03/16/adding-rss-feeds-to-wordpress/
  7. MaAnna Stephenson. Blogaid.net. “Why You Need RSS Feeds:” http://www.blogaid.net/why-you-need-rss-feeds
  8. Mark Nottingham. “RSS Tutorial:” http://www.mnot.net/rss/tutorial/
  9. Pamela Wilson. Copyblogger.com. “8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content:” http://www.copyblogger.com/scannable-content/
  10. Susan Gunelius. About.com. “Should My Blog Use a Full or Partial Feed?”
  11. Wikipedia. “Comparison of Feed Aggregators:” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_feed_aggregators
  12. WordPress.com. “Feeds:” http://en.support.wordpress.com/feeds/

Thanks for reading my blog and sharing your comments with me. It would honor me greatly if you would sign up for an email subscription from the left-hand column. Subscribers receive a free Never Give Up image logo. Thank you to the 138 people subscribed now. When I reach 200 subscribers, I’ll give a free MP3 recording of positive affirmation statements to all who subscribe.

Over 60,000 views. Thank you! Thank you. Thank you.

We’ll have a big celebration at 70,000 views. It may happen on or before the Never Give Up blog’s 4th Anniversary on October 9, 2013.

Free Giveaway Contest: 1000 words of a manuscript critique

Everyone who leaves a comment on this blog post before 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 11, 2013 will have a chance to win a free critique of 1000 words of a manuscript. Random.org will choose a number for me. I will announce the winner Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Joan’s Elder Care Guide release June 2014 by 4RV Publishing.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Check out my Facebook Author Page. Do you like it?

Copyright 2013 © Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.


17 Responses

  1. Joan, I have been trying to decode the “RSS feed mystery” since starting my blog in February. This is a great article that clears up a lot for me. Thanks so much!


    • Dear Becky,
      Thanks for writing. Goodness you were up early reading my blog this morning. Thank you. I’m glad that my article cleared up a lot for you. You are very welcome. Enjoy your day with your twin boys and your hubby. Good luck with all of your writing.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  2. Joan,
    You are a wealth of information. Where do you store it all? 😉 I know who to go to when I get stuck!!! Thanks for another reference for my files.


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. You made me laugh. There’s a storage bin in my brain and in the notes I take when reading other blogs and what I learn from experience with my blogs and the internet. You have a storage bin for fun activities each month. I am blessed by my experiences and by knowing you. Celebrate you and your ability to make writing fun.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


      • Joan,
        What a sweet thing to say!


        • Dear Linda Andersen,
          It’s very true. You’re welcome.
          Never Give Up
          Joan Y. Edwards


  3. Okay, Joan, I’ve been waiting for this one and I REALLY appreciate your expertise. I’ve read it through now I am going to try to apply it. If I have trouble, I know where to find you, ha!


    • Dear Linda V. Phillips,
      Thanks for writing. It took me awhile to get it put down in steps clearer than jibberish. I hope I explained it so that you can easily understand it. If you have trouble, I’ll be glad to see if I can help you. Thanks for reading my blog and asking what is RSS on the SCBWI-Carolinas email list. It made me wonder if I could explain it to you and my other readers.
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  4. This is way too complicated for me. I think you could give an entire workshop on this! How do I check what my feed is doing? SOmeone helped me set it up for my blog, but now I don’t know how to figure out of it’s working. I’ll save this blog for when I have a brain to figure out what you’re saying. Thanks for explaining it.


    • Dear Carol,
      Thanks for writing. Feedburner gives statistics. It has to be set up to share them with you.
      I don’t really worry about my RSS statistics. WordPress and Blogger both count the views for me. This is good enough for me.
      I’m sorry I didn’t take the complication out of it for you.
      I’m honored that you are saving it to read later. Thank you.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


      • ok. thanks


        • You are very welcome.


  5. Dear Commenters for this post: There were four of you who commented. Thank you very much for taking time from you busy schedules to not only read this post, but to leave a comment.

    As you know your feedback helps me improve and gives me a great feeling of satisfaction. Thank you.

    Becky Shillington,
    Linda Martin Andersen
    Linda Vigen Phillips
    Carol Federlin Baldwin.

    I asked Random.org to choose a number between 1 and 4. It chose number 2. Therefore, Linda Martin Andersen wins the free 1000 word manuscript critique.

    Hurray for Linda!
    Linda, please send me your 1000 words of a manuscript you would like for me to critique to the email address in the left hand column.

    I’ll make a separate post after I hear from Linda.

    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards.


    • Wow-wee! Thank you, Joan. As soon as I make some much needed revision, I’ll get right on that.


  6. Dear Linda,
    You are very welcome. I look forward to receiving your manuscript for critique. Take you time. This offer is good for a year.

    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards


  7. Great information! Thank you once again for supplying your readers with uplifting and informative blog posts.


    • Dear Sharon,
      Thanks for reading my blog. You’ve been a follower for a long time. I appreciate your loyalty. Thank you for saying that I supply my readers with uplifting and informative blog posts. You’re welcome for my posts. My goal is to give you information to keep you from giving up. Celebrate you today.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


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