What is RSS?
RSS is a technology that is being used by millions of web users around the world to keep track of their favorite websites.
In the ‘old days’ of the web to keep track of updates on a website you had to ‘bookmark’ websites in your browser and manually return to them on a regular basis to see what had been added.
The problems with bookmarking
|You as the web surfer had to do all the work|
|It can get complicated when you are trying to track many websites at once|
|You miss information when you forget to check your bookmarks|
|You end up seeing the same information over and over again on sites that don’t update very often|
RSS Changes Everything
|What if you could tell a website to let you know every time that they update? In a sense, this is what RSS does for you.|
|RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. Many people describe it as a ‘news feed’ that you subscribe to.|
|The ’subscription’ description is helpful. It’s like subscribing to a magazine that is delivered to you periodically but instead of it coming in your physical mail box each month when the magazine is published it is delivered to your ‘RSS Reader’ every time your favorite website updates.|
How to Use RSS
|Get an RSS Reader - The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re getting into reading sites via RSS is to hook yourself up with an RSS Feed Reader.|
|There are many feed readers going around with a variety of approaches and features - however a good place to start is with a couple of free and easy to use web based ones like Google Reader and Bloglines. Either one will do if you’re starting out (I use Google’s Reader) - as I say there are many others to choose from but to get started either of these are fairly easy to use and will help you work out the basics of RSS.|
|Both of these feed readers work a little like email. As you subscribe to feeds you’ll see that unread entries from the sites you’re tracking will be marked as bold. As you click on them you’ll see the latest update and can read it right there in the feed reader. You are given the option to click through to the actual site or move onto the next unread item - marking the last one as ‘read’.|
|The best way to learn how to use either Google Reader or Bloglines is to simply subscribe to some feeds and give it a go. Both have helpful help sections to get you up and running.|
Note: other options to tracking websites that you might already be familiar with include using pages like MyYahoo, MyGoogle and MyMSN.
Next, find Some Feeds to Subscribe to!
Getting Started with RSS - by Paul Stamatiou