Do You Use RSS?

One of the great built in features to your blog is the ability for your content to be delivered in RSS format. A lot of new bloggers are not aware of what RSS does and the benefits to promoting it. Also a very small percentage of your site visitors (depending on your site niche) will know how to make use of RSS. With John Chow and Shoemoney facing off in an RSS challenge I predict we will see this month a focus in the blogsphere on RSS education in general.

So what is RSS?

RSS is an acronym that stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS makes use of XML which is a markup language that was designed to bridge information between various web applications. XML allows content to be delivered properly from web browsers to cell phones. RSS is normally viewed through an RSS reader and unlike surfing with a web browser for new content on a site, RSS pushes out new content to you. If you have a blog you really have nothing to do to enable RSS as it is already a full feature built in. Follow along with this RSS Tutorial for those sites that are not blogs.

What is an RSS reader?

RSS readers are plug-ins, sites or software used to specifically view RSS feeds. There are lots of options in the way of RSS readers. A few of the readers and options are…

Browser Built in RSS

Both IE 7 and FireFox 2 understand the importance of RSS and how it is changing the future of the web. Both have an RSS reader built right into them and make it easier for new users to start learning about RSS. One thing I have found with these features is it can bog down your system and it’s not easy to organize your RSS feeds.

Outlook Plug-ins

Outlook 2007 has an RSS reader built into the software. Outlook 2007 allows you to subscribe to feeds and every time your Outlook looks for an email it checks for new RSS content. If you have an earlier version of Outlook then NewsGator has a plug-in that can purchase.

RSS Reader Software

Like email software there are 100’s of RSS Reader software out there. There are free readers and paid readers and all of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. I tested FeedDemon, FeedReader and Snarfer. All of them had almost identical functionality and in this area there does not seem to be an industry leader. One thing I found frustrating about this solution was that I had to keep the software open to be notified of new content.

Online RSS Reader


Google Reader is by far the best solution for online RSS readers. You can easily add new feeds, search past content, organize your feeds among many other features. There is also a free notifier that pops up when you have new content to read. Of all the readers this is the one solution I do highly recommend.

RSS by Email

John recently added an option to subscribe to his RSS by email. This is a really cool way to subscribe. Enter your email address into the subscription box below, then confirm the confirmation email. Once you’ve done that, all future posts will be delivered right into your email inbox.

Enter your email address:

Now that you have a bit of an idea what RSS is and how you can use it I’m sure you are wondering why you should use RSS? The number one reason to use RSS is that instead of spending countless hours surfing from site to site looking for new content you can now sit back and wait for new content to be pushed to you.

If you are not using RSS already then you should start using it today. RSS is the future so getting involved now will help you in the long run.

This post was guest blogged by Gary Jones from BlueFur provides Managed Blog Hosting making blogging easier for you with pre-installed WordPress, upgrades and plug-ins installs.

69 thoughts on “Do You Use RSS?”

  1. Googlelady says:

    I really don’t lke to use rss 🙂

    1. Mubin says:

      Was a post like this really necessary for John CHow readers? I mean considering most of his readers are already bloggers is it really necessary to teach them what RSS is? This post in my opinion was pointless.

      1. Many brand new bloggers read this blog. And a good number of them don’t know what RSS is or how to use it. Nothing wrong with an informative post like this every now and again, IMHO. 😉

      2. John Chow says:

        You will be amazed at how many readers do not know what RSS is. In a recent poll by, over 30% of his readers ranked themselves as newbie bloggers with little or no knowledge. I would imagine my stats are much the same.

        1. Googlelady says:

          I agree with that. Many still prefer to sign up via email because they don’t know how to use RSS. You can check Amit from super affiliate mindset he knew about RSS a week or two ago, and there are many more.

        2. Mubin says:

          How did you manage to make it so that every time the letters RSS are mentioned they link to your feed????

          You are a bad bad man John.

          1. John Chow says:

            I did that with the WordPress Affiliate Pro plugin. It was the first item I purchased from DealDotCom.

        3. Michael says:

          I never knew that not only was John Chow is a good make money writer but also a good tech writer :mrgreen:

      3. Boo – ya! Some people may be new to blogging – I don’t see anything wrong with this post. IN MY OPINION 🙄

        1. Googlelady says:

          The article is a great tip, but think about it, john is now focussing in RSS because the competition so is a kind “remind you” to sign up to his RSS 🙄 😈

          1. True – I forgot about the big competition now 😆

      4. Saedel says:

        I think this is for potential readers, those who are new to blogging world and want to learn every aspect of it, including RSS.

        I’m relatively new to blogging, but I knew RSS beforehand, but my few readers don’t, so I think I could use this post to inform them.

    2. Teejay says:

      You’ll find it useful if you want to read all your favorite posts on one page

    3. Wahlau.NET says:

      i rarely use them too…but starting to like them

  2. Great post Gary. Google Reader is definitely my favorite. And RSS by email is yet another excellent way to get one’s content out there. I think it works very well. 🙂

    I use FeedBlitz as well, which also allows my readers to get my posts by email when I publish them. It’s great for those who are interested in your content but aren’t using an aggregator. It’s worked really well over the months since I first implemented it. 😎

    Shine on,

    1. Googlelady says:

      Tell me something isn’t google the best for everything? 🙄 even his lady? 😈

  3. bob cobb says:

    I use operas built in RSS reader. Its perfect for me

  4. I use Mozilla’s Thunderbird as an e-mail client and since it has a built-in RSS reader in it at the same time I really like it. 😆

    1. Israel says:

      thats what i use and it gets the job done.

  5. I think pretty much everyone in the blogging world uses RSS in some fashion. I personally couldn’t exist online without Google Reader, however.

  6. RSS isn’t so much the future as the present. It’s hard to make any money from it, it makes content ripping very easy, so it’s very debatable how popular RSS will be in a couple of years time.

    1. Gary Jones says:

      RSS is still in it’s infancy and the business applications for it are not even close to being used.

      Did you click on the link to see the examples of future applications of RSS?

      1. RSS has been around for a good couple of years, in net terms that’s a long time. There are lots of people who don’t like using RSS because it takes something which is relatively hard to extract the text from (HTML) ni a usable format and presents it on a plate for sharing. If for sharing you read ripping it explains why a lot of people who spend lots of time writing original content don’t ilke RSS. My blog is new and yet it’s being ripped to hell, if I pulled the plug on the RSS feed it wouldn’t be so easy. Just my opinion.

    2. Googlelady says:

      Oh you got my point, with all those plugins many other stupid blogs are stealing content without doing anything. 👿

    3. lyricsreg says:

      RSS is a “steal my content” invite, but content stealing just isn’t good business anymore 🙂

  7. A few months ago I didn’t know what RSS was. I didn’t read any blogs back then though. Now I subscribe to about 100 or so. I’m surprised it took me so long to catch on.

  8. How do you deliver content solely though RSS such as some of your sneaky contests?

    1. Now that is a good question of which I would like to know the solution too 😉

  9. sandossu says:

    What kind of question is this ?

  10. A good percentage of my readers don’t know what RSS is. This post will benefit them. Thanks.

  11. Marco says:

    Hei John a question for you:
    You always speak about “bluefur” as a perfect hosting service company. So why do you use “Groupe iWeb Technologies” instead of “bluefur”?

    1. John Chow says:

      Groupe iWeb Technologies is BlueFur.

      1. Googlelady says:

        ooopssss 😈

        1. Israel says:


  12. goldfries says:

    Interestingly I just wrote about RSS about a week ago. 🙂

  13. Rob Schultz says:

    This is an excellent post. The number of RSS subscriptions is a great way to measure the success of your blog, but I never thought about how many people who are new to blogging didn’t know what Really Simple Syndication was. Great idea for a post topic, especially given your present competition!

  14. Alan says:

    Hi John,

    I do have a question, why yesterday was your rss subscriber base over 9k and today I see as 8k, have that many people subscribed and then unsubscribed as they don’t want or have no use for rss?

    What do you see as the value per rss subscriber? e.g each subscriber is worth how much to you and your blog?

  15. hai Gary, you use RSS by email its good ! 😛 I need it, better than none, 😆

  16. dupola says:

    😀 Yes I use RSS.

  17. I just did a post on this for my readers. Didn’t see any increase.. 😐

  18. Patrix says:

    Great post. Now I want a post on “Do you use a computer?” It might be a good start for the Amish who want to start blogging.

  19. Patrick says:

    I speak to some local business groups on the subject of RSS and how useful and productive it is for business people. In fact I am speaking to an executive women’s group on Wed. Most are usually very fascinated with the subject but surprisingly a lot don’t even get what a blog is. I usually try to extol the virtues of business blogging as well during my talks.

    A big source of confusion with most people is the terminology. Blogging, RSS, etc. are still way over the heads of most people. Even those who know what is blog is don’t know it’s potential for business. Most think of a blog as someone just keeping an online diary of useless stuff. You heard the same thoughts in the early days of “personal web pages” and more recently social networks and microblogging like Twitter. I have found true value in all of these things and the terminology is fun and interesting to me.

    Anytime a fellow blogger can describe these terms in easy to understand ways is a good thing and helps support those of us who do “get it” so we can communicate it better to others.

  20. I love RSS. I use Google Reader. Makes my life much easier.

  21. arowanna says:

    If you want to integrate your RSS feeds i outlook for free take a look at RSS Popper !

  22. Neil Duckett says:

    Agree the power of RSS … just need to change peoples mindsent on how to source the information they require.

  23. Pingback: rss » Los Ziegler
  24. Missylicious says:

    I believe this is still a good post. There at least a few thousand blogs created each day. We cant assume everyone already know what is RSS.

  25. Simon says:

    I read this, as well as your post on BlueFlur about RSS replacing email, Gary. I think it is inevitable that it will happen sooner or later, but it isn’t going to take effect until people with influence start showing the masses the way (to put it bluntly).

    All the tools are already in place. RSS readers are aplenty, and email clients also offer RSS feed capabilities. I’d love to see dedicated “contact” feeds set up by online companies, so that I can subscribe to that feed, to replace mass emails. If I don’t like what I’m seeing, one click and I don’t have to bother with it. Talk about spam-killer.

    But as I said before, I’d really like to see more of those with influence (bloggers for example!) start pushing the benefits of RSS Feeds more. Make sure that people know it can help eliminate spam (by giving the control back to the viewer), and be a much more efficient replacement to mass emails.

    You don’t just have to have a single feed for a website either (I’ve split one of my blogs into 3 distinct feeds) – so again, a site could have a contact feed to replace mass email, and then a blog / information feed along side it, if so desired.

    If all the top bloggers were able to start talking about the benefits of RSS (beyond that of just subscribing to blogs), explaining the different ways it could be used and harnessed, imagine how it could improve online communication and information transfer, when compared to archaic email.

    Just my opinion…

    1. Michael says:

      Sorry if this is irrelevant…I haven’t read your comment yet Simon and never going to because it is too long! 😈

  26. Etienne Teo says:

    Even if this post looks old for bloggers, but its always a good refresher to those who are of a newer generation.. 😀

  27. buzzboy says:

    I use Opera browser because it has feed reader and I can set up my pop mail to forward to another email address the content of an rss which I am subscribed with, the downside is it has no image attachment only a pure text. 🙄 🙂

  28. Yeah, I’d say that explains it!

  29. A timely article, considering the competition in RSS readers against ShoeMoney! 😈

    1. lyricsreg says:

      I doubt there are people here who don’t know about RSS. This post will have no influence on gaining subscribers

  30. max says:

    I prefer to use Firefox. If they had a manual for RSS on IE7, I’d use it but if it’s that hard, I’d boycott Microsoft. They were just copying Firefox anyways.

    1. Michael says:

      Did you say Microsoft was a copy-cat? Wait till you see Firefox 3. I have seen the mock up pictures, they look very Vista like! Wait till you see if that is copying 😈
      But I prefer RSS via Google reader.

      1. max says:

        Well, the whole industry pretty much works off each other. The competition between Firefox and Microsoft probably drives them.
        That said, my votes for Firefox.
        FYI, my Windows Vista OS doesn’t support half of my USB devices. That is good enough reason to boycott microsoft. (vista at least until they come out with SP2)

        👿 👿 👿

  31. I have been receiving RSS through email and have found it quite a satisfactory way of keeping abreast of matters that interest me. In any case, though I have been using the RSS feeds, today I have learnt how the thing works. Thanks.

  32. aaron says:

    I’m often surprised by how many don’t use it. Most people that read here probably do, but most people who use MySpace probably don’t. I wish some of the bigger sites would start promoting it more. It’s so convenient.

  33. I’ve written up a great article on RSS explaining it in layman’s terms. Personally I love it. I just don’t see how else I can quickly scroll through 100+ sites with over 1000 feeds on a daily basis

  34. Klaudio says:

    I love RSS. It’s useful for rapide surfing 🙂

  35. Teejay says:

    I am already using Google reader for my RSS subscriptions

  36. To be honest I don’t really care about RSS nor do I use it. I only offer it in order to rank higher on services that use it to rank your site.

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