Since its advent in 1999, RSS (Rich Site Summary) changed the way content was distributed to readers over the Internet forever.
Before RSS feeds became the standard web feed format, an Internet user would have to go through different websites one by one to devour content. RSS enabled users to access content on a single platform using an application broadly categorized as an RSS Reader which allowed the content to be viewed on both desktop computers and mobile devices.
To date, RSS plays a significant role in publishing and sharing content over the Internet. In this article, I’ll walk you through some creative and useful ways to fully leverage the power of RSS feeds and suggest some resources to help you get started.
Let’s get right to it!
You probably have an RSS feed application installed on your mobile device from where you can easily access content from all the websites of your choice in one place. Having said that, there are several different, unique ways you can utilize RSS feeds to make the most of them.
RSS to CMS
The WP RSS Aggregator plugin is the most popular and powerful WordPress plugin that enables webmasters to create an RSS feed on their WordPress site. The plugin’s shortcode integration makes it infinitely easy to import, merge, and display both RSS and Atom feeds.
With the basic version, you’ll be able to pull however many feed items you’d like from multiple RSS feeds and display them on your WordPress site. The plugin ships with a wide range of customization which enables users to configure everything from the number of feed items per feed to the feed import time interval.
Those of you who want to take things further can supercharge their RSS feeds with WP RSS Aggregator’s range of premium add-ons.
RSS Site Widgets
Feed Informer integrates the functionality of multiple RSS processing services on one platform giving you a powerful application that lets you add customized RSS widgets to your website. With the Feed Informer, you can pull together several inputs and display them on your site with one of the many inbuilt output options.
The Feed Informer application also lets users design templates to use for different pages on their site and supports several different file formats including HTML, PHP, ASP, JS, PDF, and Flash.
FeedPress has built quite a name for itself as an RSS analytics tool. It enables both bloggers and podcasters alike to determine accurate analytics, configure RSS to email, add custom hostnames, and much more. This tool gives you analytics on how many subscribers your feed has and lets you track how many individual podcasts downloads you get.
One of the best features about FeedPress is that it gives users insight into where their viewership is located across the globe. Webmasters can use this information to tailor content according to their readers’ locations. With FeedPress, you won’t have to worry about losing your data as it offers data portability through Dropbox integration.
You’ve probably heard about eBay and have maybe even used the e-commerce store to make a few purchases. Did you know you could set up an RSS feed and reap their affiliate rewards? That’s right! All you have to do is enter your query into eBay’s Advanced Search box and punch in your tracking information. In the search results page, you’ll find an RSS link that you can add directly to your application.
RSS to Social Media
Using RSS to deliver blog post notifications and updates to your social media network is one of the best ways to utilize it. Dlvr.it automatically checks your RSS feed for content updates and then brings your social media followers up to date with your blog.
The free version of this tool lets you update up to five feeds on three social media accounts. However, if you’re really serious about the service then you can fork out $9.99 per month and update 50 feeds on 15 social media networks.
RSS to Email
Those of you who have been using MailChimp as their primary emailing and targeted campaigning tool may or may not know that you can easily integrate RSS feeds into it, too. MailChimp’s RSS to Email feature enables users to email blog posts and RSS feeds directly to their subscribers through the MailChimp service.
At times, people prefer to have their news and updates be delivered directly to their inbox instead of having to open up their RSS reader each time. MailChimp simplifies this by letting you publish your content while it takes care of delivering it to your subscribers.
Listening to RSS
Pocket users can consume media in one of two ways – reading it or listening to it. The application’s text to speech (TTS) feature is one of the best out there that lets users listen to their favorite RSS feeds while going about their routine tasks. Toggling between reader mode and listener mode is super easy and convenient for users on the go.
One of the best things about the Pocket app is its neat and clean user interface. Users don’t have to export data and media files from one place to another – everything happens within the app!
RSS Custom Actions
IFTTT empowers users to create their own connections between apps and products with simple trigger-backed programs that you can fully customize. With this powerful web-based service, users can create many different chains of recipes which are then triggered based on a change occurring in another web service such as Gmail or Pinterest.
IFTTT lets users tinker with RSS feeds by creating recipes to interact with them. For instance, you can email to subscribe to RSS feeds with an RSS reader the app supports or even add new URLs to your RSS reader when a certain trigger is set off.
Five Filters is a tool that gives users access to full-text RSS. If you regularly check out RSS readers and feeds then you’ve definitely come across some blog posts that only display summaries and excerpts and not the entire post in hopes of getting you to click on ad-ridden content.
This is where the Five Filters tools come in. Five Filters lets users read their favorite RSS feeds in full and free of ads. Its speedy article extraction and auto-detection make it a popular choice with RSS enthusiasts.
If you’re really into RSS feeds then setting up your very own RSS timeline and associating additional resources with each feed just may be your next project. Dipity creates a timeline for your RSS feeds to help you organize all of your posts onto a single, fully-interactive board.
Once you’ve created your timeline, you can share it with your friends and family. One of the best things about this feature is that it lets you stay organized and keep track of which blog post was published when.
Wrapping It Up
RSS plays an integral role in the growth of blogging and podcasting by delivering ready-to-consume content directly to a single, accessible platform.
RSS feeds are more than what meets the eye. From sending campaign emails to tracking viewers’ behavior – your RSS feed can do just about everything if you’ve got the right tools for it. We covered 10 creative ways to help you get started with using RSS feeds in new and unique ways and suggested some resources to give you a jumpstart.
Have you used your RSS feeds in any of the ways we listed above? Are there other ways you utilize RSS feeds? We’d love to hear all about your experience and the tools and resources you used so let us know by commenting below!