How and Why to Use RSS Feeds on Your Website

  • Added:
    Aug 28, 2012
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RSS stands for Rich Site Summary.  Basically it's a listing of content from a website in a really simple format usually consisting of a title, summary and link to the full content.  Because of this format many have dubbed this as Really Simple Syndication instead of the actual name.

Typically RSS is used to generate more current content for your website from one or many other sources that is complementary to your sites content.  For instance if you had a website about Diabetes then having a news feed from the American Diabetes Association as the information that comes from that site is more than likely interesting to your readers.

Finding RSS feeds is relatively easy in that Google can be the source of your RSS feed if you can't find specific sites that have content you are looking for. 

To use Google as an RSS feed simply perform a news search in Google such as "diabetes news".  Scroll down to the bottom of the page and there is a link that says 'RSS'.   If you click that link, the url of the feed itself is now actually the page you are on.  You can copy that link for inclusion into your site.  The cool thing about these types of feeds is that they update regularly so if you have them on your page then your content also appears to have newly updated content.

Adding RSS feeds to websites usually requires at least a little bit of programming knowledge but many websites that have control panels include RSS widgets or functions so that you can add them to your website.

For example if you have a WordPress blog there is a RSS widget that you can easily add that only has a couple of settings; title, feed URL and number of items to show in the list.   There are also more extensive widgets out there that will allow you to add more from a RSS feed such as images, date of publication etc.

If you are building your website using HTML you will probably want to search for a javascript RSS function.  PHP, ASP and other scripting languages also have them.  Just search for "how to add RSS feed using ____" where you add the programming language and you should find many good examples and code snippets.

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