Today’s subject is off-topic for this blog, but I would like to introduce RSS to readers who aren’t familiar with it, as I would like for more readers to subscribe to my RSS feed. For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, how it works, or how to use it, I intend for this to be a beginner-friendly introduction to RSS.
a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format.
Abbreviated to represent “Really Simple Syndication”,
RSS can be thought of as the evolution of website bookmarking.
While allowing publishers, writers, bloggers, and so on, to automatically syndicate, or “feed” new content, it offers readers the convenience of receiving updates from all of their favorite websites in one place by simply subscribing to the RSS feed for each of those sites.
How can this be useful to you?
It informs you when each website which you are subscribed to updates with new information. This prevents you from having to manually visit each of your favorite sites on a frequent basis, just to find out if they have updated (or if you assume they have updated, to find out if they have updated with material that is useful or interesting to you). This makes it possible to view a lot of content in considerably less time than it would take if you were to visit each website.
As Wikipedia puts it,
RSS feeds can be read using software called an “RSS reader”, “feed reader”, or “aggregator”, which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based.
RSS works like newspaper and magazine subscriptions, with the added benefit that, at least in most cases, RSS feeds are free. Simply subscribe to the RSS feed at each of your favorite websites, and when those sites are updated, the feed will automatically send those updates to your feed reader. You may then open your feed reader, which you can think of as a newspaper box, and read the latest updates from your favorite websites.
This powerful tool is a very effective way to stay organized when trying to keep up with numerous websites and their updates, especially if they update frequently. You can sort the feeds which you are subscribed to into categories, and your feed reader will also tell you how many unread entries are in each feed.
Getting started with RSS and reading feeds
To begin subscribing to RSS feeds and start realizing the benefits of RSS, you’ll need to sign up for a feed reader. Most of them are free, so don’t worry about having to purchase anything. FeedBurner is a popular choice, and is the reader that I would recommend. If you’d like to check out other options, conduct a Google search for “feed reader” or “RSS feed reader”. If you would like to go ahead and sign up for FeedBurner, then head over to feedburner.com and complete the simple registration process.
For further reading on RSS and feeds, check out Feed 101 over at Google.
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