Do You Still Subscribe via RSS and Use an RSS Reader?

By Daniel Scocco

Around three years ago getting RSS subscribers was one of the main goals for any content-based website, blogs included. The reason? Most web visitors (most tech savvy ones at least) would use RSS readers to keep updated with the latest news and to decide what websites they would visit.

Over time, however, some people stopped using RSS readers and subscribing to sites via RSS, to the point that news outlets proclaimed the death of RSS.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that RSS is dead or dying, because I think a lot of people still use it, and even if RSS readers are not that popular anymore RSS can be used for many other cool things.

That being said, I do agree that fewer and fewer people are using RSS readers, and RSS is losing some of its important for content-based sites. I wanted to get some numbers to back this up, though, so I decided to run a poll.

The question is: Do you still subscribe to sites via RSS and use an RSS reader to keep updated with your favorite sites and news sources? Cast your vote and leave a comment if you want to expand your thoughts.



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57 Responses to “Do You Still Subscribe via RSS and Use an RSS Reader?”

  • Noelle

    I still use RSS and Google reader. I did an experiment last year in which I stopped using reader for a while, and tried to keep up with blogs using twitter. The experiment failed miserably, because I missed so much. Tweets tend to get buried way back in the timeline so that you’ll never find them again, but with RSS it’s usually always there, even though it might take a bit of extra reading to catch up.

  • Alan Mater @ Work From Home

    Looks like I’m part of the minority, but I prefer to subscribe via Email, rather than using an RSS Reader. Granted, an email isn’t as “instant” as having an RSS reader immediately updated, but for me it’s just more convenient.

    However, I offer both RSS and email notifications for my readers.

  • Dr. Bob Clarke

    I’m kind of surprised by your results. While I have subscribed to RSS for some blogs, the really important ones I want to read immediately, I have subscribed by email and don’t use Google reader.

    Every once in a while I go to my Reader and check out other blogs, but honestly not very often.

  • Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

    Yes, I still offer RSS feeds to my readers to accomodate the many who still use them. It’s still an wasy way to organize!

  • June Harris

    I don’t use RSS now; I go to my favourite blogs directly. Also, I use alerts for keywords of my interest, including brands/people for online reputation.

  • Ricky Cadden

    I absolutely still use RSS – Google Reader is easily one of my most often-used websites (even over Google itself).

    I have over 200 subscriptions that I keep up with – I can’t fathom trying to keep up with that many sites by manually going to them each day, or even trying to keep up via Twitter.

    Email updates would also be ridiculous to try to keep up with.

  • Mike Panic

    I’ll go one step further. I remember 6+ years ago when the most important thing on a website was the, “Bookmark us” javascript that would add a site to the viewer’s bookmark bar on their browser. Then it was Subscribe to RSS, then Follow me on Twitter, then Fan me on Facebook, then Add me to a circle on Google+.

    As content creators, we often add far too much of our readers. That said, I absolutely still utilize google.com/ig as my homepage, subscribe to RSS feeds. I don’t follow many websites on Twitter because they do it wrong, no interaction and just a simple RSS > Twitter add-on. Same with Facebook, I’ll only fan a site if I want more interaction than the comments will allow.

  • Dexter | Techathand

    I still do subscribe to RSS, well actually I found this post through my Google Reader

  • Eric C

    I came here through an RSS feed.

  • Michael Trent

    For the summer, I did not read the many feeds that I have subscribed to. I have been reading other things. Also, I find myself subscribing by email a lot, which gets more of my attention than going to my reader. There’s a lot of good crap out there. LOL

  • Andrei

    I hate to subscribe by e-mail and I put some RSS feeds that are mostly interesting and feed up my time when I surf the Internet in Google Reader. I believe that RSS feeds are still important for every website in the world.

  • Umesh

    I still think RSS is being used. I am counting increase number of users registering for RSS feed everyday. 😛

  • Wynn Currie

    I have RSS subscription feeds…, somewhere. Truthfully, I never understood how it works. Where are the subscriptions updates supposed to go? My email? I’ve never seen one to my knowledge.

  • Techgru

    My favorite desktop app for RSS is Feedreader (3.14 version now) for get latest news from different blog sources. For me, it’s great way to use RSS reader because it still work well when my net connection’s speed is’nt so good.
    Mail subscriber is another good way, but the main issue that i always have to login in email account & i ca’nt view the full article in inbox, in contrast, RSS reader enables me to do that.

  • Adam Haider

    I have been using Google Reader for several years now and it is the first thing that automatically launches and stays open when I start the computer each day.

    An RSS reader allows me to keep tabs on dozens of my favourite websites, group and tag them, notifying me of new articles and allowing me to read them offline in my own time on my phone. (I also use RSS to be alerted on specific keywords in Google, YouTube and similar sites)

    – The rise in web applications –

    If it is true that there is a decline in RSS usage (for mainstream sites) then it could indicate the increased usage of web apps consumed on tablets or browser extensions, add-ons and apps that allow a user to read articles within the browser, not needing to “subscribe” to the RSS feed itself.

  • Marya | Writing Happiness

    Only email subscriptions for me, for no particular reason. Email is just something I prefer.

  • Guduru Pradeep Kumar

    Its true rss reader is better than rss via email. Thanks for sharing nice information

  • Daquan Wright

    I use RSS by e-mail, I don’t really like readers to be honest.

    Living without it, I could not. RSS keeps me updated on the latest happenings and it’s quick to access.

  • Paul Salmon

    I still subscribe to blogs in my RSS reader, but I tend to read more posts from Twitter than from my reader. I don’t think I ever really took full advantage of my RSS reader, so I haven’t subscribed to too many blogs.

  • ES

    I subscribe to sites using RSS reader, but don’t use it. That category is not there in the polls!

  • Jon Thore

    No, I prefer to visit of my favorites blogs and bookmark their great posts.

  • Michelle, Easy Designer Websites

    I now only subscribe to blogs that have an email option.

  • Competitive Dialogue

    I only discovered RSS and RSS readers 6 months ago and its a great way to keep a track of my favourite blogs. I have Google reader installed on my Google homepage so I can see any new feeds every time I search.

  • xan

    i use google reader.
    rss, and especially full rss feeds, are much better than twitter for updates!

  • Josh Surber

    RSS lets me read everything in one place, using one interface. Twitter makes you go to each site, wait for them to load (even on a fast computer and Chrome, too many social widgets still slow stuff down) Until Readability makes a proxy filter that causes every site to be readable (good idea, maybe I should make that) I will stick with Google Reader.

  • Jeremy

    My blog reading happens almost exclusively in google reader. I’m a sucker for polls though; that’s how yo got me to the site today. I’m sure that with this blogs readership, you’ll find RSS use much more prevalent than on the web in general.

  • James

    I subscribe via RSS and use a RSS reader it is very convenient, efficient and so much easier than going to each site; I just don’t have the time to visit the sites I follow each day. I love the fact I can catch up on content of interest quickly in one place.

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