The primary reason to creating a web page is to serve as a medium where others can gather information about the content on that page. Whether it be a business site, blog, or personal website of any sort, the idea is to inform the visitor on whatever content presented, in hopes that they’ll not only receive the information, but come back again for added content. Would’t it be nice if there was a type of alert system that those interested could opt in for. Well there is, and they’re called RSS and Atom.
Generally RSS stands for really simple syndication. Syndication is the syncing/broadcasting of information from one site to another. This information is collected and interpreted by software called an aggregation. Most browsers have them built in so the functionality is basically baked in. Most developers use RSS/ATOM to alert subscribers of the news content as it’s posted. The subscriber receives the notification and at the developers discretion, the full content is displayed or either a snippet of it. RSS/ATOM are commonly used throughout the web, but are more commonly found on news sources like CNN. CNN hosts the ability to view their feeds for genre of the news they may cover. You’re allowed to pick as many as you like.
Nowadays, even social media accounts have implemented a sort of feed mechanism as a feature. Most are called “post notifications.” You receive direct notification when the desired source posts something new. This is a relatively new feature that’s been rolling out across the various platforms.
Feeds are a great way to keep your other’s up to date on the latest news about your site, without the user having to check back daily for new content. If you have diverse content, it also serves to be a great tool as to finding out what content users resource your page for, allowing you to focus on what to cover.