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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 Mon. March / 01 / 2021

Social audio is the next big thing – The Manila Times - The Manila Times
Social audio is the next big thing – The Manila Times  The Manila Times

Crime Lines 02/16/2021 – 02/22/2021 – The Bottom Line News - The Bottom Line News
Crime Lines 02/16/2021 – 02/22/2021 – The Bottom Line News  The Bottom Line News

Blogging 101: Why Bother & Key Elements of an Effective Blog - Business 2 Community
Blogging 101: Why Bother & Key Elements of an Effective Blog  Business 2 Community

How to Create a Secondary Revenue Stream from Home - InvestorIdeas.com
How to Create a Secondary Revenue Stream from Home  InvestorIdeas.com

WordPress.com Launches New Courses With A Focus On Customer Education - PRNewswire
WordPress.com Launches New Courses With A Focus On Customer Education  PRNewswire

Young London Digital Entrepreneur Creates First WordPress Blog Hosting Control Panel - PRNewswire
Young London Digital Entrepreneur Creates First WordPress Blog Hosting Control Panel  PRNewswire

Return of the RSS reader » Nieman Journalism Lab - Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
Return of the RSS reader » Nieman Journalism Lab  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

'I'm the patient now' | Maryland ER doctor blogs about breast cancer journey - WUSA9.com
'I'm the patient now' | Maryland ER doctor blogs about breast cancer journey  WUSA9.com

RSS bets on small shakhas in hinterland to make it big in TN - The Times of India Blog
RSS bets on small shakhas in hinterland to make it big in TN  The Times of India Blog

eBay Kills Affiliate Tool that Drives Traffic to Seller Listings - EcommerceBytes
eBay Kills Affiliate Tool that Drives Traffic to Seller Listings  EcommerceBytes

Plano teen creates blog about mental health | News | starlocalmedia.com - Star Local Media
Plano teen creates blog about mental health | News | starlocalmedia.com  Star Local Media

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

news Packers-Saints Week 3 Live Blog Sep 28, 2020 - Packers.com
news Packers-Saints Week 3 Live Blog Sep 28, 2020  Packers.com

Mike Marrone's Blog - Game Dev Digest Issue #74 - Visuals and Math - Gamasutra
Mike Marrone's Blog - Game Dev Digest Issue #74 - Visuals and Math  Gamasutra

Link to the Original Articles in your RSS Feeds - Digital Inspiration
Link to the Original Articles in your RSS Feeds  Digital Inspiration

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

VA Catholic priest blogged about child sex abuse. Now, he says bishop is threatening to defrock him - WUSA9.com
VA Catholic priest blogged about child sex abuse. Now, he says bishop is threatening to defrock him  WUSA9.com

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

Josh Bycer's Blog - The Successful Steps of Early Access Games - Gamasutra
Josh Bycer's Blog - The Successful Steps of Early Access Games  Gamasutra

Katarina Gyllenback's Blog - Hands-on: Predicting players' thinking - Gamasutra
Katarina Gyllenback's Blog - Hands-on: Predicting players' thinking  Gamasutra

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

RSS is the greatest enemy of Hinduism - Times of India
RSS is the greatest enemy of Hinduism  Times of India

XML – RSS - Business Blog Consulting
XML – RSS  Business Blog Consulting

What is RSS? And Is It Still Important? - Small Business Trends
What is RSS? And Is It Still Important?  Small Business Trends

My Own Personal Extinction - Scientific American Blog Network - Scientific American
My Own Personal Extinction - Scientific American Blog Network  Scientific American

User Acquisition Tactics that Improve the Player Experience and ROI - Gamasutra
User Acquisition Tactics that Improve the Player Experience and ROI  Gamasutra

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

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

Time has come for an all-India Muslim party - The Times of India Blog
Time has come for an all-India Muslim party  The Times of India Blog

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

Doing Gandhi and Godse with Sikhs and farmers’ movement - The Times of India Blog
Doing Gandhi and Godse with Sikhs and farmers’ movement  The Times of India Blog

The four reasons why Indian liberals are a fast-disappearing species - The Times of India Blog
The four reasons why Indian liberals are a fast-disappearing species  The Times of India Blog

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

How a blogger in Florida put out an early warning about the coronavirus crisis - The Washington Post
How a blogger in Florida put out an early warning about the coronavirus crisis  The Washington Post

Octavi Navarro's Blog - MY SHORT GAMES AND THEIR FIGURES - Gamasutra
Octavi Navarro's Blog - MY SHORT GAMES AND THEIR FIGURES  Gamasutra

Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - The Gamedev Guru’s Birthday Party - Gamasutra
Ruben Torres Bonet's Blog - The Gamedev Guru’s Birthday Party  Gamasutra

Is there a bigger agenda behind drug probe against Bollywood stars? - The Times of India Blog
Is there a bigger agenda behind drug probe against Bollywood stars?  The Times of India Blog

Manusmriti, maya and Hindutva’s other ghosts - The Times of India Blog
Manusmriti, maya and Hindutva’s other ghosts  The Times of India Blog

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

A Few Simple Benefits of Using An RSS Feed - Business 2 Community
A Few Simple Benefits of Using An RSS Feed  Business 2 Community

Best blogging platforms of 2021 - TechRadar
Best blogging platforms of 2021  TechRadar

Can you be a full time solo indie developer? - Gamasutra
Can you be a full time solo indie developer?  Gamasutra

Intel's CES 2021 Press Event: The Future of Intel (A Live Blog, 1pm PT) - AnandTech
Intel's CES 2021 Press Event: The Future of Intel (A Live Blog, 1pm PT)  AnandTech

Start RSS Feeding Content Today With dlvr.it to Social Media [How-To] - Rocks Digital
Start RSS Feeding Content Today With dlvr.it to Social Media [How-To]  Rocks Digital

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

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

How to Auto-Post your Blog Updates to Twitter - Digital Inspiration
How to Auto-Post your Blog Updates to Twitter  Digital Inspiration

Agriculture’s watershed moment: New farm bills will unshackle 43% of India’s workforce that is engaged in - The Times of India Blog
Agriculture’s watershed moment: New farm bills will unshackle 43% of India’s workforce that is engaged in  The Times of India Blog

8 Ways to Get (And Keep) Blog Readers - Backstage
8 Ways to Get (And Keep) Blog Readers  Backstage

Google AdSense Ads in RSS Feeds - First Impressions & Screenshots - Digital Inspiration
Google AdSense Ads in RSS Feeds - First Impressions & Screenshots  Digital Inspiration

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

Three Things We Learned: Oklahoma Pt. 2 - widerightnattylite.com
Three Things We Learned: Oklahoma Pt. 2  widerightnattylite.com

Facebook refused to remove anti-Muslim posts to not upset Modi govt: WSJ - The Times of India Blog
Facebook refused to remove anti-Muslim posts to not upset Modi govt: WSJ  The Times of India Blog

Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense – Gigaom - GigaOM
Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense – Gigaom  GigaOM

The APMC conundrum: Rolling back this reform will encourage vested interests to strike down all reform - The Times of India Blog
The APMC conundrum: Rolling back this reform will encourage vested interests to strike down all reform  The Times of India Blog

How to Migrate your Blog from Blogger to WordPress - Digital Inspiration
How to Migrate your Blog from Blogger to WordPress  Digital Inspiration

How to Submit a Podcast to iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify in 2020 - Voices.com
How to Submit a Podcast to iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify in 2020  Voices.com

How to Move your Blogger Blog on Custom Domain to WordPress - Digital Inspiration
How to Move your Blogger Blog on Custom Domain to WordPress  Digital Inspiration

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

Farmer agitation: Use iron fist in a velvet glove - The Times of India Blog
Farmer agitation: Use iron fist in a velvet glove  The Times of India Blog

Why BJP needs Nehru-Gandhi ‘dynasty’ more than Congress - The Times of India Blog
Why BJP needs Nehru-Gandhi ‘dynasty’ more than Congress  The Times of India Blog

Video Game Deep Cuts: The Donkey Kong Snowrunning Team - Gamasutra
Video Game Deep Cuts: The Donkey Kong Snowrunning Team  Gamasutra

Move FeedBurner RSS Feeds From One Account to Another - Digital Inspiration
Move FeedBurner RSS Feeds From One Account to Another  Digital Inspiration

Chris Zukowski's Blog - Why people aren't buying your game - Gamasutra
Chris Zukowski's Blog - Why people aren't buying your game  Gamasutra

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

Will COVID-19 Make Us More Socialist? - Scientific American Blog Network - Scientific American
Will COVID-19 Make Us More Socialist? - Scientific American Blog Network  Scientific American

Lee Odden - Business Blog Consulting
Lee Odden  Business Blog Consulting

The Rule of 5 for Bloggers - Entrepreneur
The Rule of 5 for Bloggers  Entrepreneur

How to Set Up a Subscription Podcast on BlueHost - Chron.com - Chron.com
How to Set Up a Subscription Podcast on BlueHost - Chron.com  Chron.com

Introducing Circuit Breaker, a new gadget blog from The Verge - The Verge
Introducing Circuit Breaker, a new gadget blog from The Verge  The Verge

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

Sergio Garces's Blog - Steam in Graphs in 2019 - Gamasutra
Sergio Garces's Blog - Steam in Graphs in 2019  Gamasutra

Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - Times of India
Reform suggestions for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh  Times of India

Blogs: - Gamasutra
Blogs:  Gamasutra

Add Inside Higher Ed content to your site - Inside Higher Ed
Add Inside Higher Ed content to your site  Inside Higher Ed

‘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

100 Best RSS Feeds to Follow Engineering News - SociableBlog
100 Best RSS Feeds to Follow Engineering News  SociableBlog

How to Read More and Become an Expert Blogger in 30 Days - Business 2 Community
How to Read More and Become an Expert Blogger in 30 Days  Business 2 Community

Private blog networks: A great way to get your site penalized - Search Engine Land
Private blog networks: A great way to get your site penalized  Search Engine Land

How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps - WordStream
How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps  WordStream

Blogs:programming - Gamasutra
Blogs:programming  Gamasutra

Thomas Bidaux's Blog - Kickstarter and Games in 2019 - Gamasutra
Thomas Bidaux's Blog - Kickstarter and Games in 2019  Gamasutra

12 ways to automate and systemise 95% of your blog promotion strategy - Econsultancy
12 ways to automate and systemise 95% of your blog promotion strategy  Econsultancy

Syndicate Your Blog - Customer Think
Syndicate Your Blog  Customer Think

Timeline: The Life of the Blog - NPR
Timeline: The Life of the Blog  NPR

Meet the New Blogger: Meghna Datta | Research Blog - Duke Today
Meet the New Blogger: Meghna Datta | Research Blog  Duke Today

This Is the Dumbest Foodie Battle of Our Time - Slate
This Is the Dumbest Foodie Battle of Our Time  Slate

11 Amazing Affiliate Marketing Blogs - Search Engine Journal
11 Amazing Affiliate Marketing Blogs  Search Engine Journal

Everything Should Not Be A Blog Post: Start Using Silos - Search Engine Land
Everything Should Not Be A Blog Post: Start Using Silos  Search Engine Land

26 Platforms for Blogging - Practical Ecommerce
26 Platforms for Blogging  Practical Ecommerce

What is Mr Modi’s plan for India’s Muslims? - Times of India
What is Mr Modi’s plan for India’s Muslims?  Times of India

How to find ‘feeds for leads’ as a journalist - Online Journalism Blog
How to find ‘feeds for leads’ as a journalist  Online Journalism Blog

Content Syndication Basics: Who, What, Where, When, Why & How - Search Engine Journal
Content Syndication Basics: Who, What, Where, When, Why & How  Search Engine Journal

Community guidelines - BMC blog network - BMC Blogs Network
Community guidelines - BMC blog network  BMC Blogs Network

Simon Carless's Blog - Steam game sales for 'the other 50%' - Gamasutra
Simon Carless's Blog - Steam game sales for 'the other 50%'  Gamasutra

This day, 75 years ago: Contrary to dogma RSS did take part in the freedom movement, including Quit India move - Times of India
This day, 75 years ago: Contrary to dogma RSS did take part in the freedom movement, including Quit India move  Times of India

Blogging Mama: U.K. transplant mans mommy blog for all Plano mothers - Star Local Media
Blogging Mama: U.K. transplant mans mommy blog for all Plano mothers  Star Local Media

Data for journalists: understanding XML and RSS - Online Journalism Blog
Data for journalists: understanding XML and RSS  Online Journalism Blog

‘The concept of Hindu rashtra is not theocratic … It’s an adjective of the nation, not an objective’ - Times of India
‘The concept of Hindu rashtra is not theocratic … It’s an adjective of the nation, not an objective’  Times of India

8 Must-Have Grav Plugins to round-off Your Blog's Installation - SitePoint
8 Must-Have Grav Plugins to round-off Your Blog's Installation  SitePoint

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