All about feeds, feed readers and how to get blog updates.
You’ve probably seen these three letters all over the internet. But do you know what they mean?
RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. I’ll save you the long and boring information and just get to the good stuff.
With RSS, you can receive updates to my blog. If you like what I have to share, you can choose to be automatically “syndicated” each time I write a post (2-3 times, or so, each week). This means you can stay up-to-date on my blog postings without having to revisit my site each time. And the great thing about RSS is that you decide what you’d like to read (and what not) quickly and easily.
Sounds great, how do I get started?
It’s actually quite easy. All you need is a “feed reader.” The likely thing is that you already have one. The way to find out is click the orange button just below this paragraph and see what happens (and don’t worry, you can’t break anything).
One of four things will happen…
- Your browser will ask you if you want to subscribe this feed in your feed reader.
- Another program on your computer will start up automatically and ask you if you want to subscribe to this feed.
- Your browser will ask you if you want to open this feed in another program.
- Your browser will give you some message that this type of file is not supported.
If the first two happen, great. You’ve successfully subscribed to my RSS feed. Now you can get updates to my blog. And you and also subscribe to other RSS feeds from other blog sites as well. Enjoy.
If you see either or both of the last two options, it likely means that you don’t have any software on your computer that supports RSS feeds. Just cancel and see below.
If you’re familiar with feeds already, great.
But if you’re not, the news is still really good for you. Setting up, subscribing too and reading feeds is very easy. And it opens a whole new experience of the internet for you. All you need is a feed reader.
Getting a feed reader and setting it up is rather simple. There are basically two types:
- A small (free or inexpensive) program downloaded and installed on your own computer. Think of reading email on your computer using Outlook Express or Apple Mail.
- A web-based feed reader where you log into a website to view your feeds. Think of webmail such as Yahoo!, GMail or Hotmail.
There are many feed readers available. Below I’ll list a few to get you started. Just know this is in no way an exhaustive list.
For brevity, I’m not going to list the pros and cons of each. I’ll leave that up to you. Aside from different features, each feed reader will do things a bit differently. It’s best to find the one that works for you.
I use Google-reader and love it. Being web-based, I can access it from any computer anywhere. And it’s Google
Installed Feed Readers