In this handy guide, I’ll tell you all the important criteria to consider when shopping around for an RSS feed reader to help your business get off the ground.
What you need to know about RSS feed readers?
RSS feed readers have been around since the start of the Internet. They were the first tool to help users to keep up with their favorite websites. You’d use the reader to subscribe to a website via its RSS feed and receive its new publications directly in the RSS feed reader.
Today, it’s not just text-based feeds you can subscribe to (blogs, online magazines, news sites and forums), but a lot more media-heavy sources. Social media is no longer off the table. Podcasts and YouTube videos. Basically, everything can be turned into a feed that can be read by an RSS feed reader.
Does this work for business purposes?
As long as you have a little of your budget allocated for RSS, you’d be surprised how easy it is to adapt an RSS feed reader to whatever task you need. Digital businesses are here to stay and with the pandemic causing strain on brick-and-mortar businesses, online consumption matters more than ever.
Therefore, it’s crucial to position yourself in front of your target audience. RSS feed readers help you with matters of SEO, digital marketing, social listening and content research.
What to consider when choosing an RSS feed for business purposes?
We have to start with pricing, because it’s the biggest deciding factor for many users.
If you’re strapped for cash, then the ratio price to features is essential in deciding the right reader for you. Something like the Old Reader is amazing, because you don’t have to pay much to use its full potential with only 3$ per month. However, if you want something more powerful, then you can consider Feedly and Inoreader. Both are well rounded and affordable for power users – with subscriptions at 8$ and 5 Euro respectively.
Are you at the point where you’ve grown a bit and have a bigger team? Then you can scale up your service with more team-focused features (more on that later), but all listed RSS readers so far including Netvibes leave the door open to consultation and negotiation.
Note: All prices listed are for annual subscriptions.
Higher paid subscriptions ought to come with solid support. If you’re going for a company-wide RSS feed reader, then support is also of high consideration. The good news is that the bigger RSS readers promise good turnaround on request.
Feedly pledges to respond quickly to any inquiries in roughly 24 hours, while Inoreader has developed a designated portal. Users receive a unique ticket and their request is forwarded to the relevant team for inspection. The general advice I’d like to give is to consult with the RSS reader you’re interested in about what you can expect as a client in terms of support.
After all, you’re paying for a high-performing application. There has to be solid support. I would advise to stay away from any RSS feed reader, which cannot commit to resolving any issues within a couple of days.
Now we’re going into interesting territory. Features are where RSS feed readers shine and where the choice becomes difficult. Depending on what you need, there might be natural frontrunners. In the category of content discovery, Feedly and Inoreader are quite well regarded. Alongside its very developed discovery zone, Inoreader also has a handy browser extension for Chrome, which makes it easy to subscribe to feeds on any website.
Feedly employs its own AI called Leo to help with filtering out duplicated headlines, prioritize the topics you find most useful and offers summarization. Support for social media is also something that more and more readers are investing in. Netvibes is certainly the best example of the bunch. It not only supports all forms of social media, but through its Dashboard of Things gives users free reign to automate and connect all sorts of applications together.
Collaborative work is one of the newer areas, in which RSS readers are making huge strides. There are already multiple options on that front. Inoreader has recently developed a Teams feature, which gives teams a shared board to post relevant content. All this is supervised by a team leader, who is in charge of permissions and restrictions.
Feedly has developed its own version of team boards, which alongside sharing give users abilities to tag team members and annotate articles. Team boards can be used to create newsletters shared internally or have content broadcasted to Slack. Another RSS feed reader with a team feature is Feeder, which is rather simplified, but gets the job done quite well.
Personalization can be a broad category to discuss. It can be as simple as visual personalization to how one organizes their feeds. RSS feed readers are all about user experience and provide dark modes and flexible layouts, which can break down your dashboard into a variety of columns for a better experience altogether.
Then there’s the matter of organizing feeds into folders, tagging them, starring them and saving articles for later reading. Filtering the feeds is one of the most important functions of RSS readers. You have a variety of filters across all RSS feed readers I’ve mentioned so far. If you value filters above all else then perhaps you’ll fall in love with NewsBlur, which is generally known for its way of filtering feeds.
Last, I want to cover integrations. There’s quite a lot to be said about how RSS readers communicate with other applications and services. Most RSS feed readers have some kind of built-in integration with services like Pocket, Evernote, OneNote, Google Drive and Dropbox. Then there is integration with services like Zapier, IFTTT and Buffet for that extra level of automation. These integrations are quite useful when you need to share and save content quickly without losing time.