What is RSS? Darren from Problogger has explained for us:
Do you want to keep up to date with the latest posts on this site?
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 flips things around a little and is a technology that provides you with a method of getting relevant and up to date information sent to you for you to read in your own time. It saves you time and helps you to get the information you want quickly after it was published.
RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. Many people describe it as a ‘news feed’ that you subscribe to.
I find the ‘subscription’ description 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.
Let me say right up front that I’m not the most technically savvy guy going around – but even I can use RSS. At first I found it a little strange to make the change from bookmarking to RSS but I found that when I started that I just couldn’t stop.
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 click on the little orange RSS symbol on the right side of this page (you may also have a blue one up at the top of the screen next to the web address).
Choose then to subscribe with Google’s Reader. If this is the first time you may have to set up an account. But after this it takes literally 5 seconds to subscribe to sites you like.
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 Google Reader is to simply subscribe to some feeds and give it a go. Both have helpful help sections to get you up and running. So, for starters, why not subscribe to my blog by clicking here?!
Here is more information on the different ways you can subscribe to my blog.