You’d be surprised how many RSS feed readers there are on the market.
We’re currently amidst the long-awaited revival of RSS, so you have a lot of options.
If you’re new to the idea of using RSS, we’re here to help you figure out what the best RSS reader is for you!
Table of Contents
RSS feed reader. Simply explained
RSS feed readers go back to the beginning of the Internet, when everyone needed a way to track multiple sources. It was the first big boom in websites and blogs as more people gained access to the Internet and that’s how Really Simple Syndication (RSS) came about.
RSS meant that users could follow content from more than one site without having to manually go to each site. All this would happen on an RSS feed reader. Users would use the reader to subscribe to a site’s RSS feed (an XML file found in a site’s source code) and then view new posts or articles on their reader as soon as they’d get published.
RSS readers crawl RSS feeds regularly and retrieve new updates in real time. So you know that you’re getting news and information fresh from the creator without any delay.
Why use it?
I have found my RSS reader indispensable in my day-to-day life. If you tend to spend a lot of time online reading articles, then you’re absolutely the right person to enjoy a reader.
Want to follow all the news without suffering distractions? RSS feed readers. They’re excellent for journalists, students, researchers, marketers and even job seekers. Their versatility is precisely what makes them so favorable in general. RSS readers save time, spare you distractions on social media and even provide access to quality content without having to leave it.
How to choose the best RSS reader that matches your needs?
Speed and prices
We begin with speed, because it’s the best sign of performance. If you’re not receiving updates on your dashboard near simultaneously with publication, then you’re not really getting the best feed reader out there. You should look into the synchronization speed and what you want to settle for. Browser-based readers aren’t as fast as applications, and there’s also some difference between the speed on free accounts versus paid plans.
At their most basic, RSS feed readers are absolutely free to use with certain limitations. If you’re getting one for personal use, you don’t need to think about price. Price comes into play when you want to unlock specific features. Paid plans usually go 15$ – 25$ per month on average for a core set of features. Now depending on what experience you want out of your RSS reader, prices can hike up considerably with Netvibes at the higher end with 649$ per month.
How an RSS reader looks might be of secondary concern for many, but deserves to be mentioned early on. UI determines how fast you’ll learn to use your RSS reader and how comfortable you’ll feel using it. In general, RSS readers are intuitive and all share a similar design. However, it’s also good to pick out the flavor that suits you best.
What layout works best for you? Do you need a dark mode to read more comfortably? Can you choose different themes and layouts? What about other options to customize?
Good support is always welcome, but absolutely crucial for businesses. You have to get the most for the price you pay. You don’t want to commit to a purchase only to discover that there’s no one there to help you with issues and bugs. Definitely look into what type of support is offered (email, chat, telephone) and what the average response times are. It’s important to note that RSS readers are not quite like other software solutions. There’s no giant team available at all times.
Near instantaneous feedback and communication are desired, but not to be expected. On average, waiting up to a week for a response on your inquiry should be enough. You’d be considered too demanding for anything less. On the flipside, longer than a week is a red flag. It can signal a couple of things – poor resource management, indifference, poor product overall.
This is where it gets fun and feed readers show why they’ve remained alive and kicking when so many other tools have been left in the dust of digital progress.
All RSS feed readers share the same purpose – syndicate content from multiple sites and display it on a single dashboard in real time. That’s quite simple, unassuming and the reason why not too many people pay attention to RSS in general.
But today’s generation of readers build on top of this basic technology. Do a little reading on how they help readers find new content. Is there a browser extension and what does it do? How can you organise and label feeds and updates? What are the specific filter settings available, if any? Is there built in support for social media platforms and if yes, which? Can you add notes? Make highlights? Automate certain processes?
There’s an RSS feed reader for every need!
On the subject of what RSS readers can do, we need to talk about integrations.
The Internet demands interconnections, so integrations with other platforms have become a highly desirable capability. Social media dominates the digital landscape and you’re seeing the influence on RSS feed readers. Many allow users to directly share articles on their socials through the reader itself rather than going on the site itself.
There’s also other ways that integrations are possible. Inoreader has native integration with Pocket, Twitter, Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and OneNote. Netvibes famously gives users an overview of their entire online life. But this is not the be all, end all, considering that services like Zapier and IFTTT can automate a lot of functions and build connections between RSS readers and many other applications and platforms.