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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 Tue. September / 22 / 2020

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RSS is the greatest enemy of Hinduism - Times of India
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Automated RSS Feed Content Generation Set-And-Forget Marketing Tool Launched - Newswire
Automated RSS Feed Content Generation Set-And-Forget Marketing Tool Launched  Newswire

RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 1 - Times of India
RSS’s standardised Hinduism – Part 1  Times of India

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

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 1 - Times of India
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Cision PR Newswire's Beyond Bylines Blog Featured in Feedspot's List of Top Journalism Blogs  PRNewswire

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 2 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 2  Times of India

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

Rising divorces a sign of justice, not arrogance - Times of India
Rising divorces a sign of justice, not arrogance  Times of India

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 3 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 3  Times of India

Member manager sought for YALSA's blog, The Hub - ala.org
Member manager sought for YALSA's blog, The Hub  ala.org

Are Food 'Influencers' Wearing Out Their Usefulness In India? - HuffPost India
Are Food 'Influencers' Wearing Out Their Usefulness In India?  HuffPost India

The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 4 - Times of India
The eccentric economic ideology of RSS and BJP – Part 4  Times of India

Farewell to the blog - Politico
Farewell to the blog  Politico

Webster blogger refuses to let COVID-19 muffle her voice - Democrat & Chronicle
Webster blogger refuses to let COVID-19 muffle her voice  Democrat & Chronicle

2244™ Launches an Edited Blog and Annual Festival - PRNewswire
2244™ Launches an Edited Blog and Annual Festival  PRNewswire

Why is weird stuff popular on social media? - The Times of India Blog
Why is weird stuff popular on social media?  The Times of India Blog

3-Step Blog Strategy That Works: Storytelling, USPs & Sales - Search Engine Journal
3-Step Blog Strategy That Works: Storytelling, USPs & Sales  Search Engine Journal

eBay Kills Affiliate Tool that Drives Traffic to Seller Listings - EcommerceBytes
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As Microsoft moves more blogs off its MSDN and TechNet sites, here's how to stay current - ZDNet
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Michigan design bloggers dole out ideas, inspiration - The Detroit News
Michigan design bloggers dole out ideas, inspiration  The Detroit News

What Hindutva trolls can learn from Gandhi - The Times of India Blog
What Hindutva trolls can learn from Gandhi  The Times of India Blog

Ian Hamilton's Blog - Prioritising Accessibility Considerations - Gamasutra
Ian Hamilton's Blog - Prioritising Accessibility Considerations  Gamasutra

Blogs - LexBlog
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Happy 25th year, blogging. You’ve grown up, but social media is still having a brawl - The Guardian
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Josh Bycer's Blog - Lessons Learned From Reviewing Indie Games - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - Lessons Learned From Reviewing Indie Games  Gamasutra

Building temples unlikely to pay poll dividends - The Times of India Blog
Building temples unlikely to pay poll dividends  The Times of India Blog

Blogging Assistant PD Accused of Revealing Secrets of Little-Disguised Clients - ABA Journal
Blogging Assistant PD Accused of Revealing Secrets of Little-Disguised Clients  ABA Journal

SEMRush drops paid guest blogging service after Google policy scrutiny - Search Engine Land
SEMRush drops paid guest blogging service after Google policy scrutiny  Search Engine Land

Web 100: Best law blogs - ABA Journal
Web 100: Best law blogs  ABA Journal

Catholic bishop suspends priest and issues trespass order over blog about clergy sex abuse - Washington Post
Catholic bishop suspends priest and issues trespass order over blog about clergy sex abuse  Washington Post

The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century - Times of India
The RSS sutras for the twenty-first century  Times of India

‘Saare jahan se achha’ is a better economic mantra - The Times of India Blog
‘Saare jahan se achha’ is a better economic mantra  The Times of India Blog

Ghost blogging platform servers hacked and infected with crypto-miner - ZDNet
Ghost blogging platform servers hacked and infected with crypto-miner  ZDNet

Blogs still among our best information - Otago Daily Times
Blogs still among our best information  Otago Daily Times

Why Modi must not repeat Nehru’s mistakes on China - The Times of India Blog
Why Modi must not repeat Nehru’s mistakes on China  The Times of India Blog

Jack Pritz's Blog - Dead by Daylight's Engagement Cycle - Gamasutra
Jack Pritz's Blog - Dead by Daylight's Engagement Cycle  Gamasutra

Tales From Discoverabilityland: A Story Of Three Graphs - Gamasutra
Tales From Discoverabilityland: A Story Of Three Graphs  Gamasutra

The two ‘big boys’ in Modi’s cabinet - The Times of India Blog
The two ‘big boys’ in Modi’s cabinet  The Times of India Blog

NEP 2020 – A quick glance on key changes at school and college level - The Times of India Blog
NEP 2020 – A quick glance on key changes at school and college level  The Times of India Blog

Game Devs, The World Needs You Right Now - Gamasutra
Game Devs, The World Needs You Right Now  Gamasutra

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How Blogger Ken Prendergast Became a Must-Read Scoop Machine on the Cleveland Development Beat  Cleveland Scene

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Victoria Tran's Blog - Finding, Choosing, and Managing Moderators  Gamasutra

Congress and post-truth politics - Times of India
Congress and post-truth politics  Times of India

2019 Saveur Blog Award Winners - Saveur
2019 Saveur Blog Award Winners  Saveur

The right and wrong lessons of Shaheen Bagh - Times of India
The right and wrong lessons of Shaheen Bagh  Times of India

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

Byrd's New Nest | Jesus Creed | A Blog by Scot Mcknight - ChristianityToday.com
Byrd's New Nest | Jesus Creed | A Blog by Scot Mcknight  ChristianityToday.com

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Book Review: Networked Selves: Trajectories of Blogging in the United States and France by Ignacio Siles  USAPP American Politics and Policy (blog)

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Marin judge tosses criminal case over divorce blog  Marin Independent Journal

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Your Old Blog Content Is a Goldmine  CMSWire

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Narrative vs Gameplay: a Toolbox for Harmonious Coexistence  Gamasutra

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Diego Ricchiuti's Blog - Magic the gathering is evolving  Gamasutra

Why Maria Wirth is Wrong - Times of India
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Matt Smith's Blog - The Rapid Prototyping Game  Gamasutra

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Andrew Haining's Blog - Outer Wilds critical analysis - Gamasutra
Andrew Haining's Blog - Outer Wilds critical analysis  Gamasutra

What is RSS? And Is It Still Important? - Small Business Trends
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Fabian Fischer's Blog - Reward Fatigue - Gamasutra
Fabian Fischer's Blog - Reward Fatigue  Gamasutra

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Ian Hamilton's Blog - Highlights of Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020 - Gamasutra
Ian Hamilton's Blog - Highlights of Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020  Gamasutra

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Impact of Coronavirus Epidemic to China's Game Industry  Gamasutra

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Sande Chen's Blog - The Evolution of Digital Storytelling  Gamasutra

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