What’s An RSS Feed & How Do I Find It?

Most of you already know how to locate your RSS feed URL to synch your blog with your Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, and Triberr accounts. But if you don’t speak RSS, that sentence probably made you roll your eyes or reach for the aspirin bottle. Okay, let’s start at the beginning. What is a URL?

Examples of Website URLs
My website URL is http//: www. molly-greene.com. My blog is part of my website, so the basic URL for both are the same. Some authors may have started blogs on Blogger or free WordPress, and simply “forwarded” or re-directed the URL to their stand-alone, self-hosted website once it was created. If that’s true for you, your blog URL will look like my friend Christine Nolfi’s.  Now that we’ve reviewed Website URL 101, we’ll move on.

How to Find an RSS Feed on a Website
The Mozilla Foundation designed the RSS icon and gave the public permission to use it freely. An RSS is completely different from your blog or website URL. This article explains it beautifully: What is RSS?

Firefox and Internet Explorer (version 7 or newer) display the RSS button on the upper right side of the tab bar, next to the home page button. If a webpage has an RSS feed, the icon will be orange. If a website does not have an RSS feed, the normally orange icon will be gray. When you click on the orange icon, you should be taken to the website’s RSS feed site. The URL should be displayed in your browser’s address bar upper left.

Here’s a Step-by-Step to Locate a Website’s RSS Feed:

• Go to the website
• Click on the blog (if applicable)
• Click on the orange RSS feed tool in your IE or Firefox tool bar
• The RSS fee URL will appear in your browser’s address box upper left
• Copy and save it for future reference

Note: The RSS icon is not visible by default in IE version 9. ALSO, as you’ll see in the comments below, Google Chrome doesn’t have an RSS icon on pages that support RSS (like Firefox and IE) because the engineers didn’t think enough people used RSS. There’s a fix, though, you have to add an extension. Find out how here.

Another no-brainer way to grab the RSS URL from a blog: If the “admin” widget has been enabled, you will see a sequence something like this, usually toward the bottom of the page:

• Site Admin
• Log out
• Entries RSS
• Comments RSS

Click on “Entries RSS.” You’ll be taken to the RSS feed, and you can copy and paste the URL address in the browser window. Ready to practice? Okay. Look upper right in your browser menu bar. See the tiny orange RSS icon? Click on it, and you will be taken to my RSS feed. Your browser will display the (URL) address.

As I said in the opening graph of this post, you’ll need your RSS feed’s URL to synch your blog with your Goodreads, Amazon’s Author Central, and Triberr accounts. Now you know how!

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16 Responses to What’s An RSS Feed & How Do I Find It?

  1. Laura Zera (@laurazera) August 28, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Good job at breaking it down, Molly. This would be awesome as an instructional video, too! And for those who want to follow various sites and blogs via RSS, there are a number of ‘readers’ — the platform that will show which sites in your RSS subscription list have new content — to choose from that people can easily set up an account on, e.g. Google Reader.

  2. Shawn Bird August 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    You said, “Okay. Look upper right in your browser menu bar. See the tiny orange RSS icon? Click on it, and you will be taken to my RSS feed.”

    I say, “Nope. There isn’t a tiny orange RSS icon anywhere along the top bar, right or otherwise. Nor is it in my task bar.”

    Now what?

    FYI I use Google Chrome, so it doesn’t relate to IE9.

  3. Dannie Hill August 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    I always feel smarter after visiting with you, Molly! I thought I understood RSS but I just looked at my blog and the RSS feed is gray. How do I add my site to the feed?

    Maybe another lesson 101 is needed for the likes of me, lol.

  4. Jeri August 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Also of interest to is the AVH Extended Categories plug-in for WordPress. It allows users to set-up RSS feeds for categories in addition to the main feed for all posts made to a blog.

  5. Margarita February 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    This is really helpful. Thanks, Molly! xoM

  6. Madeline November 21, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Can you only find an RSS if you have a blog? I’m trying to find the RSS for a regular website and am having no luck. Help?

    • Molly Greene November 21, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      Hi Madeline, I believe any website CAN have an RSS feed, but feeds are about sharing new information on a website. If it’s your website and you don’t have a feed, you can create one – Google “how to create an RSS feed.” If it’s someone else’s website and you can’t find the RSS url, try asking the website manager via their contact form.

  7. Cindy May 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    Is there another post on how to sync to GRs and Amazon page? That part is eluding me. But the RSS was helpful as mine recently changed and I wasn’t sure which one in the meta was THE one.

    • Molly Greene May 5, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

      Sorry Cindy, I haven’t done a post on synching a blog w/Goodreads and/or Amazon. Both sites should have a tutorial, though. I did mine and I can’t remember it being a challenge – GOOD LUCK!!

  8. Cindy May 6, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    Thanks Molly. I shall add to my list. My blog is in transition now as I take over admin after 12 years! I will add new stuff when that’s over. My son, so funny about giving me control. “But Mom, I don’t do anything.” Me: “Yes, but I am an author stepping up her game and I need to do stuff.” Him: “OK, do A and B and I will execute C and you should be good.” With posts like this from people like you, can’t fail:)