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Reading and thinking

Follow WordPress blogs using RSS reader

Posted on February 15, 2020

I use a RSS feed reader to follow websites I care about. First it was Feedly for 6 years until ads began to annoy me. Then I moved to Feeder for around 2 years.

Being an open standard it means nobody but the content creator controls exactly what content users can see and whether ads is included.

RSS has seen a gradual decline over the years in favor of social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Email newsletter, content curation sites and apps also serve as other preferred avenues for feed-based content.

RSS trend on Google Trend
RSS interest over time declining since 2004

While RSS is designed to show the same content to all users alike, content platforms generate feeds based on user preference shown from previous interactions with the site. This is an power imbalance between content and platform owners over what content and when to show them to consumers.

I prefer RSS over dynamically generated feeds because I want all the content I am following. I don’t mind scrolling through them to find what I am truly interesting in because I can be sure that I am not missing anything or manipulated by the algorithm generating the feed.

RSS feed icon
RSS feed icon

Whenever I see some content that I like from a site, I began looking for this RSS feed icon. In fact, this site also has one on top called Atom Feed, which works like RSS and is widely suppported by feed readers.

35.8% of all websites are powered by WordPress according to W3Techs. However not all of them show the RSS icon even though it comes out of the box with WordPress. Have no worries, though. Because while the link to RSS icon may be hidden, the URL itself is usually still available. People don’t bother disabling that.

Try appending /feed, /feed/rss or /?feed=rss to the end of the WordPress site’s URL.

For example:

https://wylin.tw/feed
https://wylin.tw/feed/rss
https://wylin.tw/?feed=rss

If they work you’ll see some XMLs being printed. That’s the URL you want to save into your RSS feed reader. Later when the site is updated, you will see the update from the feed reader. Algorithm doesn’t get to determine what you see, the site owner does.

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