RSS - Features, Pricing, Alternatives, and More

Matthew Guay
Reviewed by Matthew Guay
Last updated August 27, 2018

Information is everywhere today. After centuries where information was a scarce resource, humanity’s combined knowledge plus the new things we learn every day are far more than anyone could absorb. Thus the gatekeepers. News sites, forums, and social media ideally bubble critical stuff to the top keeping us informed and focused.

Or you can build a customized news network with only the things you want to know about most. RSS—Really Simple Syndication_—feeds offer that potential. They’re feeds that update every time a site publishes something new. Most websites and blogs include them, at site.com/feed or site.com/rss or hidden in a _Feeds link in the footer. Add those feeds to an RSS reader app to build a customized page with the headlines from your favorite sites.

You could also build customized RSS-powered notifications and turn any new data into a new RSS feed with RSS by Zapier. Here’s how.

Get Custom RSS Notifications

Add RSS feed to Zapier

Want to know whenever your favorite sites publish something new? With an RSS reader app, you’d need to check the app often to get updates from all of your sites. Zapier’s RSS integration, on the other hand, can run whenever new content is available, then send it to you however you want—in email, SMS, a push notification, Slack team chat message, even an Evernote note.

Make a Zap with the RSS by Zapier trigger app, choose the New Item in Feed trigger, and add your RSS feed in the Feed URL box along with your username and password if needed.

Want to follow multiple RSS feeds at once? Zapier can combine multiple RSS feeds with the New Items in Multiple Feeds trigger. Add up to 10 RSS feeds you want to follow.

Your Zap will then run once every time there’s something new in any of your feeds—or in one feed if you used the first trigger. Want to watch those sites for specific new items? Perhaps you only want to be notified if a blog writes about your favorite company or if a news site writes about your district. You might wish to see posts published on weekdays or written by one author. Add a Zapier Filter action and tell Zapier what you want to watch for in the RSS feeds.

Then add an Action step with the app where you want the RSS info. Want to get notified by email or SMS? Choose the Email by Zapier or SMS by Zapier apps, respectively. Or pick any other app where you’d like to get details about new RSS posts to build custom RSS-powered workflows.

Circa App Figures RSS

It’s a great way to get notified with new posts—and even more powerful when you make it a part of your publishing workflow. Zapier could add new RSS feed entries from your company’s blog to social networks automatically, log published articles in your editorial calendar, send them emails to people mentioned in the posts, and more.

Circa, a news startup, uses an RSS feed provided by App Figures to keep current on reviews of their app. They post the new reviews into their team instant messaging app, Slack:

"Bringing in all of our App Store and Google Play reviews in real time helps our team understand what our readers think of our app," says Matt Galligan, the company's CEO and co-founder. "It's far more efficient to read our app reviews this way than having to remember to go to each store often and parsing through the reviews."

Build workflows like these to pull more data from RSS feeds directly into your business.

Make an RSS Feed For Any App

Create custom RSS feed in Zapier

Wish an app or service included an RSS feed? You can build your own with the Create Item in Feed action with Zapier’s RSS tool. Start your Zap out with any app you want to use in an RSS feed. Want a list of every new project your team starts, new mentions on social networks, or new sales on your store? Zapier can watch your app for new items then turn them into an RSS feed you can follow in your favorite news reader along with your other favorite sites.

Once you’ve connected the app and perhaps added a filter to watch for the items you want, it’s time to make that RSS feed. Add an RSS by Zapier action, choose Create Item in Feed, then add a custom URL for your RSS feed—and copy that to your RSS reader app.

Then add a title for your feed, and include data from your apps via the + button to fill in the item title, description, and links automatically. Every time something new comes into your trigger app, Zapier will add them to your RSS feed so you’ll be the first to know about new developments.

RSS isn’t just for fun. It’s one of the best ways to automate any app with data-driven feeds that let you know what you need to know right when it happens.

Have any feedback on this overview, or something we should change? Let us know!

RSS Integration Details

Launched on Zapier March 3, 2012

Zapier combines Triggers (like "New Item in Feed") and Actions (like "Create Item in Feed") to complete an action in one app when a trigger occurs in another app. These combos—called "Zaps"—complete your tasks automatically.

The following RSS Triggers, Searches, and Actions are supported by Zapier:

New Item in Feed

Triggers on new RSS feed items.

New Items in Multiple Feeds

Triggers when there is a new item in any of the feeds being watched.

Create Item in Feed

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About RSS by Zapier

Built-In

RSS (really simple syndication) is pretty much the industry standard for feed readers. You'll find RSS feeds in almost every app imaginable.