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RSS & How to Use It (part 1)


Have you ever read an article, intended to explain RSS in simple terms that, begins well, but soon descends into confusing jargon or information overload?

If so, take heart, I was in the same place a few months ago.

Often the best way to understand something, is to use it. RSS is no exception.

So rather than try and create a definitive explanation of RSS, this article will tell you how to use it. I guarantee once you've done so, everything will that much clearer.

If a website you visit utilizes RSS, there are a number of ways it will communicate this.

The most common way is to show a little orange button with the letters XML.

Alternatively, you may see words such as "ATOM", "RSS", "Site Feed" or variations on these.

What they have in common is that they will link to a webpage that, in most browsers, looks like gibberish.

It doesn't matter one way or another, what is important is the address of the web page they link to.

To demonstrate, I will relate how to read a site feed for my website, The Nettle Blog. Don't confuse RSS with blogs (web logs). They are two separate concepts. The only reason you see them together so often, is that blogs are the perfect website to take advantage of site feeds. More on that later. Here we go?

Click on this link to go the site feed for The Nettle Blog. Ignore the content in the window, just make a note of the URL in the web address bar. It should read: http://feeds.feedburner.com/thenettle

Now you've got the web address for the site feed, keep it safe somewhere. You'll need it again in a moment.

The next step is to use an RSS reader to make sense of the site feed. There are lots of these available and if you are a heavy user you would probably want to purchase a nice piece of software.

But to begin with, start with something simple and free. Start with Bloglines.

Go to www.bloglines.com/register/ and create a new account.

From the "My Feeds" section of your account you can add new site feeds you want to keep track of.

Select "ADD", enter the URL you copied and hit "Subscribe". You can preview the results, but skip that stage for now. Select "Subscribe" again and the title of the site feed will be transferred to the left-hand window.

Well done. You have now subscribed to your first RSS feed.

To read it just click on the title and you can view all the messages in that feed within a selected time period. The feed will most likely record news related to the website the feed belongs to.

In this instance, the site feed to The Nettle Blog records each new entry to my blog. If you find something of interest, most entries have a clickable link you can follow.

Anytime you find a website you like with a site feed, make a note of the URL for that site feed and add it to your Bloglines folder.

Now comes the clever bit.

In the left-hand column of your account is an "Extras" list. Select Download Notifier and choose the correct file to download the Bloglines Notifier This file is only 100k so any half-decent connection should complete the download in just a few seconds.

If the download is successful, you should see a small, blue icon with the letter "B". Double-clicking it will short-cut you to Bloglines.

Right-click on the icon and you can adjust the settings. Specify how often you want Bloglines to check messages for you.

When Bloglines checks your site feeds and finds that one or more have been updated, a little chime will play and the Bloglines icon will show a little red marker. This means one of the feeds you have subscribed to has something new to say.

So there you have it. A spam-free, hassle-free way to keep track of websites you have an interest in. Providing of course, that they have a site feed. If they don't, ask them why not.

Part two of this article will show webmaster and ezine publishers how they can easily publish a site feed for their website and track the visitors, free of charge.

David Congreave is owner of The Nettle Ezine, the newsletter for the home business -- online.

David lives in Leeds, in the United Kingdom with his wife Leanne.


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE RESOURCES updated Fri. January / 24 / 2020

Debbie McMurtry Celebrates 10 Years on Staff for RSS Feeds Service Provider - StreetInsider.com
Debbie McMurtry Celebrates 10 Years on Staff for RSS Feeds Service Provider  StreetInsider.com

A return to blogs (finally? sort of?) - Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job - The New Republic
The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job  The New Republic

My views, my events: Zoho Chief Vembu asserts after tweet rage over RSS event - ETtech.com
My views, my events: Zoho Chief Vembu asserts after tweet rage over RSS event  ETtech.com

Understanding the Role of a Technical SEO Audit - Search Engine Journal
Understanding the Role of a Technical SEO Audit  Search Engine Journal

eTravel World: Travel Technology boosts the online travel market - WebWire
eTravel World: Travel Technology boosts the online travel market  WebWire

Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl - The Guardian
Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl  The Guardian

Farewell to the blog - Politico
Farewell to the blog  Politico

What Happened to Tagging? - JSTOR Daily
What Happened to Tagging?  JSTOR Daily

A Farewell to Feministing and the Heyday of Feminist Blogging - The New York Times
A Farewell to Feministing and the Heyday of Feminist Blogging  The New York Times

WordPress vs. Wix: What's the Best Website Platform for Manufacturers? - ThomasNet News
WordPress vs. Wix: What's the Best Website Platform for Manufacturers?  ThomasNet News

As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current - ZDNet
As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current  ZDNet

Brandon Sheffield's Blog - Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza - Gamasutra
Brandon Sheffield's Blog - Dreamcast 20th anniversary interview extravaganza  Gamasutra

A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging | 2019-08-31 - grbj.com
A checklist: 5 steps toward better blogging | 2019-08-31  grbj.com

The Rise and Demise of RSS - Motherboard
The Rise and Demise of RSS  Motherboard

The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century - Economic Times
The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century  Economic Times

‘Hindutva is not divisive, not anti-Muslim … RSS will abide by the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya’ - Economic Times
‘Hindutva is not divisive, not anti-Muslim … RSS will abide by the Supreme Court judgment on Ayodhya’  Economic Times

Could Blogging Boost Your Ecommerce SEO? - Practical Ecommerce
Could Blogging Boost Your Ecommerce SEO?  Practical Ecommerce

NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source - WP Tavern
NetNewsWire 5.0 RSS Reader Rebuilt from Scratch, Now Free and Open Source  WP Tavern

Changes to Google Play's average ratings: what to expect and how to prepare - Gamasutra
Changes to Google Play's average ratings: what to expect and how to prepare  Gamasutra

Attorney-Discipline Blogger and Blog Network Owned by Pepperdine Law Dean Hit With Defamation Suit | The Recorder - Law.com
Attorney-Discipline Blogger and Blog Network Owned by Pepperdine Law Dean Hit With Defamation Suit | The Recorder  Law.com

Sweat Equity: Still blogging away on LGBTQ topics, but it's not big money - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sweat Equity: Still blogging away on LGBTQ topics, but it's not big money  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

How to Use Guest Blogging to Build Relationships - Search Engine Journal
How to Use Guest Blogging to Build Relationships  Search Engine Journal

What Is an RSS Feed? (+ How to Get Started) - G2
What Is an RSS Feed? (+ How to Get Started)  G2

How to Overcome the 3 Biggest Blogging Challenges - Search Engine Journal
How to Overcome the 3 Biggest Blogging Challenges  Search Engine Journal

Track RSS Feeds (Yes RSS) with Feedly - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Track RSS Feeds (Yes RSS) with Feedly  The Chronicle of Higher Education

9 Places to Share Your Blog Feed to Automatically Update Your Social Media Contacts - Search Engine Journal
9 Places to Share Your Blog Feed to Automatically Update Your Social Media Contacts  Search Engine Journal

25+ Unique Blog Post Ideas to Engage Your Readers - Search Engine Journal
25+ Unique Blog Post Ideas to Engage Your Readers  Search Engine Journal

Chris Zukowski's Blog - How Steam users see your game - Gamasutra
Chris Zukowski's Blog - How Steam users see your game  Gamasutra

Victoria Tran's Blog - The $0 Marketing Game Guide - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - The $0 Marketing Game Guide  Gamasutra

The how and the why of law blogs - ABA Journal
The how and the why of law blogs  ABA Journal

Making People Understand And Care About Your Game - Gamasutra
Making People Understand And Care About Your Game  Gamasutra

After Tumblr NSFW ban, these adult communities are rising - Fast Company
After Tumblr NSFW ban, these adult communities are rising  Fast Company

Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 3 - Gamasutra
Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 3  Gamasutra

The simple most difficult challenge of bringing Frostpunk to consoles - Gamasutra
The simple most difficult challenge of bringing Frostpunk to consoles  Gamasutra

Growing Your Blog Using Email Marketing - Business 2 Community
Growing Your Blog Using Email Marketing  Business 2 Community

What Does A Healthy Publisher/Developer Relationship Looks Like (With Real Contract Details!) - Gamasutra
What Does A Healthy Publisher/Developer Relationship Looks Like (With Real Contract Details!)  Gamasutra

Meet the New Blogger: Meghna Datta - Duke Today
Meet the New Blogger: Meghna Datta  Duke Today

Cision PR Newswire's Beyond Bylines Blog Featured in Feedspot's List of Top Journalism Blogs - PRNewswire
Cision PR Newswire's Beyond Bylines Blog Featured in Feedspot's List of Top Journalism Blogs  PRNewswire

‘Ideology of socialism is not different from ideology of the RSS … People have reposed faith in BJP leader - Economic Times
‘Ideology of socialism is not different from ideology of the RSS … People have reposed faith in BJP leader  Economic Times

Burak Tezateser's Blog - Steam has a lack of data scientists - Gamasutra
Burak Tezateser's Blog - Steam has a lack of data scientists  Gamasutra

Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 2 - Gamasutra
Max Pears's Blog - Engaging Level Design for Combat - Pt 2  Gamasutra

Unity Scene Hierarchy: Catch that Performance Thief! (Part 2) - Gamasutra
Unity Scene Hierarchy: Catch that Performance Thief! (Part 2)  Gamasutra

Alex Pine's Blog - Methods of creating invisible tutorials - Gamasutra
Alex Pine's Blog - Methods of creating invisible tutorials  Gamasutra

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity UI: The Guru's UI Development Diagram - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity UI: The Guru's UI Development Diagram  Gamasutra

Andrew Yoder's Blog - The Door Problem of Combat Design - Gamasutra
Andrew Yoder's Blog - The Door Problem of Combat Design  Gamasutra

Josh Bycer's Blog - The Reality of Game Development - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - The Reality of Game Development  Gamasutra

David D'Angelo's Blog - King Knight's Map: Building Secret Paths - Gamasutra
David D'Angelo's Blog - King Knight's Map: Building Secret Paths  Gamasutra

Wanted: An enemy for RSS to help BJP grow in Tamil Nadu - Economic Times
Wanted: An enemy for RSS to help BJP grow in Tamil Nadu  Economic Times

How to get on the front page of imgur - Gamasutra
How to get on the front page of imgur  Gamasutra

Ariel Marcelo Madril's Blog - Unlocking Unity Animator's interruption full power - Gamasutra
Ariel Marcelo Madril's Blog - Unlocking Unity Animator's interruption full power  Gamasutra

How to Get the Most Out of Discord - Gamasutra
How to Get the Most Out of Discord  Gamasutra

A 3D View of How We Got Here - Gamasutra
A 3D View of How We Got Here  Gamasutra

Jon Ingold's Blog - Designing Investigate Conversations - Gamasutra
Jon Ingold's Blog - Designing Investigate Conversations  Gamasutra

David D'Angelo's Blog - Shovel Knight Showdown: Chester's Choice - Gamasutra
David D'Angelo's Blog - Shovel Knight Showdown: Chester's Choice  Gamasutra

Procedural texturing for hand-painted stylized character pipelines - Gamasutra
Procedural texturing for hand-painted stylized character pipelines  Gamasutra

How Painting Works In Chicory: A Colorful Tale - Gamasutra
How Painting Works In Chicory: A Colorful Tale  Gamasutra

17 Non-Negotiable Skills for Blog Writers in Any Business - Search Engine Journal
17 Non-Negotiable Skills for Blog Writers in Any Business  Search Engine Journal

Enough with the Pak obsession. True patriotism isn’t about bashing others - Economic Times
Enough with the Pak obsession. True patriotism isn’t about bashing others  Economic Times

RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them - Business 2 Community
RSS Feeds and How To Burn Them  Business 2 Community

Simon Carless's Blog - Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight. - Gamasutra
Simon Carless's Blog - Steam's 'Follower' counts - hidden in plain sight.  Gamasutra

Eliza developer Matthew Burns on stress, choices that matter, and language of games - Gamasutra
Eliza developer Matthew Burns on stress, choices that matter, and language of games  Gamasutra

Frank Zhang's Blog - Building a Fantasy VR World in Unity - Gamasutra
Frank Zhang's Blog - Building a Fantasy VR World in Unity  Gamasutra

Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Write A Kickass Game Description - Gamasutra
Damien Yoccoz's Blog - How To Write A Kickass Game Description  Gamasutra

Simon Carless's Blog - Nintendo Switch: A Discoverability Followup - Gamasutra
Simon Carless's Blog - Nintendo Switch: A Discoverability Followup  Gamasutra

Catherine Fox's Blog - Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #2 - Gamasutra
Catherine Fox's Blog - Beyond A Steel Sky - Dev Diary #2  Gamasutra

A Postmortem. Making Games Is Easy. Selling Them, Not So Much. - Gamasutra
A Postmortem. Making Games Is Easy. Selling Them, Not So Much.  Gamasutra

How we combined film and comics to create the noir aesthetic of Interrogation - Gamasutra
How we combined film and comics to create the noir aesthetic of Interrogation  Gamasutra

Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music. - Gamasutra
Inside the process of creating the score for Temtem: adaptive music.  Gamasutra

Kenneth Liu's Blog - Kliuless #54: A Decade of LoL - Gamasutra
Kenneth Liu's Blog - Kliuless #54: A Decade of LoL  Gamasutra

My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science - Gamasutra
My Roblox Years: Dungeon Life and New Product Science  Gamasutra

Joris Dormans's Blog - Unexplored 2 Dev Blog: Tiles to Curves - Gamasutra
Joris Dormans's Blog - Unexplored 2 Dev Blog: Tiles to Curves  Gamasutra

Steam Indie Game Sales Numbers - Battle Royale Tycoon - Gamasutra
Steam Indie Game Sales Numbers - Battle Royale Tycoon  Gamasutra

Justin Popa's Blog - Community-driven development - Gamasutra
Justin Popa's Blog - Community-driven development  Gamasutra

Nuvi Acquires Social Healthcare Leader Banyan - Associated Press
Nuvi Acquires Social Healthcare Leader Banyan  Associated Press

Gafgar Davallius's Blog - Satisfactory: Network Optimizations - Gamasutra
Gafgar Davallius's Blog - Satisfactory: Network Optimizations  Gamasutra

Super Icon - The Long Slow Death of an Indie Studio - Gamasutra
Super Icon - The Long Slow Death of an Indie Studio  Gamasutra

Why All Of Our Games Look Like Crap - Gamasutra
Why All Of Our Games Look Like Crap  Gamasutra

Neil Schneider's Blog - What Client-to-Cloud REALLY Means - Gamasutra
Neil Schneider's Blog - What Client-to-Cloud REALLY Means  Gamasutra

iOS/Android/Steam sales case study: Golf Peaks - Gamasutra
iOS/Android/Steam sales case study: Golf Peaks  Gamasutra

Indie Postmortem: Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan (2019) - Gamasutra
Indie Postmortem: Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan (2019)  Gamasutra

Chris Solarski's Blog - The Golden Age of Video Games - Gamasutra
Chris Solarski's Blog - The Golden Age of Video Games  Gamasutra

Verizon selling blogging site Tumblr to WordPress owner - Inc.
Verizon selling blogging site Tumblr to WordPress owner  Inc.

Evgeny Dyabin's Blog - Cascadeur: character's pose prediction using 6 points - Gamasutra
Evgeny Dyabin's Blog - Cascadeur: character's pose prediction using 6 points  Gamasutra

BJP: Winning at What Cost? - Economic Times
BJP: Winning at What Cost?  Economic Times

Jamin Smith's Blog - The Big Game Branding 101 - Gamasutra
Jamin Smith's Blog - The Big Game Branding 101  Gamasutra

Time to call out Hindutva: Democratic India was founded on freedom, but the two nation theory is diametrically - Economic Times
Time to call out Hindutva: Democratic India was founded on freedom, but the two nation theory is diametrically  Economic Times

Ramez Al-Tabbaa's Blog - Going Indie in Syria - Gamasutra
Ramez Al-Tabbaa's Blog - Going Indie in Syria  Gamasutra

Victoria Tran's Blog - Designing Communities for Kindness - Gamasutra
Victoria Tran's Blog - Designing Communities for Kindness  Gamasutra

Niklas Gray's Blog - Data Structures Part 2: Indices - Gamasutra
Niklas Gray's Blog - Data Structures Part 2: Indices  Gamasutra

Josh Ge's Blog - Rebranding Difficulty Modes - Gamasutra
Josh Ge's Blog - Rebranding Difficulty Modes  Gamasutra

The Indie Dev's Guide to the Chinese Market - Gamasutra
The Indie Dev's Guide to the Chinese Market  Gamasutra

Did Activision CEO just confirm Overwatch and World of Warcraft on mobile? - Gamasutra
Did Activision CEO just confirm Overwatch and World of Warcraft on mobile?  Gamasutra

Epic Games' attempt to go fee-free on Google Play indicates disappointing Android performance - Gamasutra
Epic Games' attempt to go fee-free on Google Play indicates disappointing Android performance  Gamasutra

SEO Critique of 3 Ecommerce Blogs - Practical Ecommerce
SEO Critique of 3 Ecommerce Blogs  Practical Ecommerce

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity Addressables: The Final Quiz Analysis - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - Unity Addressables: The Final Quiz Analysis  Gamasutra

It’s not black and white: If you really care about secularism in India, understand both Hindus and Muslims - Economic Times
It’s not black and white: If you really care about secularism in India, understand both Hindus and Muslims  Economic Times

Miniclip's 8 Ball Pool: A melting pot of skill & chance based gratification-Part 1 - Gamasutra
Miniclip's 8 Ball Pool: A melting pot of skill & chance based gratification-Part 1  Gamasutra

The Trump Modi tango: How the PM used Houston event to tactfully reset the India-US relationship - Economic Times
The Trump Modi tango: How the PM used Houston event to tactfully reset the India-US relationship  Economic Times

How commercial video games are designed to develop players' skills - Gamasutra
How commercial video games are designed to develop players' skills  Gamasutra

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