RSS isn’t obsolete. There are tons of benefits to using it, and lots of useful RSS topics to follow.
Did you know that over 4.4million blogs are published to the internet every day? Or that 409 million people read 20 billion WordPress pages every month? The rate at which news breaks and trends change is astonishing, and even the most clued-in internet lovers can struggle to keep up.
Most of us don’t have the time to constantly refresh Google or scroll through Twitter every hour of the day to get our latest updates, but what else can you do to keep afloat in a sea of information?
Well, that’s where RSS feeds come in. A more old-school approach to content distribution, RSS could be just the tool you need to keep your head above water.
What is RSS?
RSS is an acronym for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, depending on who you ask.
Developed in the early days of the internet way back in 1999, RSS feeds allow you to get the information you want all in one place – be it entertainment news, sports updates, or the latest current affairs from around the world.
How Does RSS Work?
Without getting too technical, RSS feeds work by converting content – this could be blogs, weather reports, newscasts, or even social media channels – into a standardized, easy to read format. This content is then delivered straight to you in a centralized location, so you don’t have to go hunting for the content you want to see.
In order to reap the benefits of RSS, users need an RSS feed reader and the content you’re interested in needs to have an RSS feed enabled.
What Are the Benefits of RSS?
While some people consider RSS a dying format thanks to social media, it can be argued that it’s still a very valuable way to get the latest news and updates.
First and foremost, RSS feeds can save you time. You don’t need to visit each website individually, instead the content comes to you in one centralized place, perfect for cutting down the amount of time you spend endlessly scrolling through social media on the off chance you find an interesting article.
In addition, as RSS breaks down content into headlines and summaries, you can decide if it’s worth diving into the whole article or whether you’ve got what you need from just the breakdown.
No Algorithms Involved
Yes, social media is a fantastic invention but in terms of the content you see, you’re always at the mercy of that particular channel’s algorithms. This means that you might miss out on content that could prove valuable to you. With RSS topics on the other hand, that’s never the case.
When you have an RSS feed set up, you see every new update from your websites of choice, not just what Twitter or Facebook thinks you should see based on what everyone else is engaging with.
Useful Topics to Follow
With RSS feeds, the choice of topics to follow is endless. No matter your hobby or business focus, you can set up your feed to deliver relevant content straight to you in a readable format.
However, if you’re looking for some general topics to get you started, here are our picks for the most useful topics to follow.
If you’re interested in current affairs, then RSS is the perfect way to get your daily dose of breaking news all in one place. Think of it like the modern equivalent of reading a newspaper while you have breakfast.
Who to Follow: BBC World News / CNN International / Reuters News
Technology shapes everything we do. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and get the latest technology updates, consider adding tech news websites to your RSS hit list.
Who to Follow: Mashable / The Verge / Slashdot
If you’re involved with running a business, it’s always a good idea to keep abreast of the latest news going on in the business world. It can sometimes be hard to find good quality updates for business, so selecting some websites to come straight to your RSS topics feed is a good way of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Who to Follow: New York Times Business / Business Standard / Reuters Business
Whether you’re a marketer by trade or just interested in the latest trends in the industry, there are tons of great resources available offering tips and advice on strategies as well as breaking news related to marketing.
Who to Follow: Marketing Week / The Drum / Campaign
Interested in the entertainment industry? There are tons of content relating to entertainment – whether it’s TV, film, music, or books – so it’s a good idea to choose a few sources that you love to keep up to date with.
Who to Follow: E Online / Harpers Bazaar / Sky Arts and Entertainment
Tools for RSS Topics
If we’ve piqued your interest and you want to get started setting up an RSS feed, there are tools available to help in the form of apps.
These include Feedly, a powerful app that has every RSS feature you could ever need, and NewsBlur which helps you to filter news depending on how interested you are in it.
Curating and Importing RSS Feeds on WordPress
In addition to this, if you run a WordPress website you can help your followers find relevant, useful content without the information overload that can come with endlessly browsing social media.
With the RSS Aggregator Plugin for WordPress from CreativeMinds, you can display your carefully curated RSS feeds on your website in a clear and elegant way.
Filter feeds with whitelisted and blacklisted words, customize the refresh rate for all feeds, and display the feeds anywhere on your website – the RSS Aggregator Plugin puts you in complete control and allows you to share up-to-date content with your website followers, what more could you want?
The RSS Importer Plugin, on the other hand, creates a post or page for every new item of your feeds of choice. You can also set “positive” and “negative” keywords so that only relevant content is imported. It’s a great tool to generate content automatically.
The add-on Content Importer makes it even more powerful by collecting content directly from the site, effectively bypassing the feed.