But, I know there are many people out there who still aren’t sure, so if you’re one of those people, I’d like to tell you the basics of a very cool and very popular technology… I felt like saying “new” technology, but RSS has been around for a while now.
I’ve been marketing online for several years now, but I didn’t get started blogging until about 3 years into all of this. When I started my first blog I had no idea what RSS was and to be honest, I barely knew what a blog was
But I started reading other blogs, got mine established and learned the basics… now I’ve been successfully blogging for a couple years.
What is RSS?
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” although other say it’s “Rich Site Summary.” I’m not sure if there is a different between the 2, but for myself and other basic “users” it really doesn’t matter.
I’ll explain with an example. You find a good feed reader, like Google Reader or Bloglines (free.) Then you get the RSS feed from your favorite blogs and/or news sites and add the RSS feed URL to the feed reader and you can keep up with your favorite blogs all in one spot (within the feed reader.) You will be alerted only when there is a new post, instead of manually visiting each site to check for updates.
There are other uses and RSS isn’t specific to blogs and news sites, but they are the main 2 types. An RSS feed is simply a URL and if the site has an RSS feed (almost ALL blogs and news sites do) they’ll have an image, link or both somewhere on their pages for you to grab.
How to Subscribe to a Blog’s RSS Feed
There are a few different ways to subscribe to an RSS feed; an easy way and a REALLY easy way.
The Easy Way – The process is very simple. Just visit the blog you would like to subscribe to and locate their RSS feed. In the case of this blog you’ll see it in the right navigation menu toward the top… a big, orange button that says “RSS.”
In FireFox you can right-click that image/link and select “Copy Link Location” from the drop down menu. If you use another browser and you’re not sure how to copy a URL, just click on the RSS image/link and when it opens a new window, just copy the entire URL in the address bar of your browser. In the case of this blog, you would be copying:
Once you’ve copied the URL you just need to add it to your feed reader. There are many different feed readers out there, but probably the 2 most popular are Google Reader and Bloglines… both are very easy and straight forward in regards to adding a feed.
The REALLY Easy Way – This is your best option if you don’t want to mess with a feed reader, but unfortunately not all blogs and news sites offer this option. Many blogs do though, including this blog. I’m talking about subscribing to a feed via email. Instead of the feed being sent to your feedreader account, it’s sent to your email.
To subscribe to a feed via email, the site must offer it and it will be a simple form asking for your email. On this blog you’ll see that to the right of my orange RSS image… it says “Email Updates.” You just enter your email address and updates will be sent to your email every time a new blog post is published and you’ll also have the option to click the link in the email to visit the actually blog post.
That’s basically it. RSS is a big time saver especially for those who read a bunch of different blogs and/or regularly keep up with the news. Now go ahead and give it a shot