Today we’re lucky enough to have another Guest Blog by Alison Cross from AlisonCross4Webs.co.uk. Its all about getting more from websites by using RSS.
What is RSS?
You may have noticed a little orange radio symbol on your journeys through the various plains and jungles of the internet. Usually on a blog or news site it winks at you from the corner of the page, inviting you to click it.
But what is it?
It’s an RSS feed link, that’s what it is.
‘What in the tarnation is RSS?’ I hear you ask! Truthfully, I didn’t actually know what RSS stood for, but I am reliably informed that it’s short for ‘really simple syndication’. And it is just that – a really simple way to share information.
Let’s look at a normal working day. Do you log on in the morning and visit your usual sites – perhaps the BBC for news, maybe WebEden’s blog to see what Ken’s telling us about today, maybe a couple of sites to do with your business? Twitter?!
What often happens is that you go out looking for those new links. With RSS, you tell the sites to send the new stuff in to you.
Sounds Good! So how do I use RSS?
What you need to get your hands on first of all is an RSS Reader. This acts as your central gathering point for the RSS information that you want to read.
It will not surprise you in the least that I’m about to point you in the direction of the Google Reader. You can sign up to Google Reader here. You’ll need a Google account for this, which you will already have if you use their Analytics or Webmaster Tools. There are load of alternative RSS readers – just search for ‘RSS Reader’ on Google.
Once you’ve activated your Google Reader, you can add feeds to it in two ways.
The first way is within Reader itself. In the top left hand corner of the Reader screen you’ll see a box that allows you to add a new subscription. Here’s what it looks like:
You can either type in the actual URL of the website you want to subscribe to, or you can type in a search term and browse about until you find one that you really like the look of and then subscribe.
The second way is to click on that little orange radio button (like the image at the top of this post) while you are on the site that you want to subscribe too.
When you click on that button, you’ll probably find that you are offered several Reader subscription buttons – and Google is usually one of them. Click on that feed button and next time you log in to your Reader page, there will be the fascinating feed!
Get a Bundle
Subscribing to RSS feeds can save you a lot of time. In fact, Google has even bundled together lots of different RSS feeds for people who haven’t got time to go hunting for relevant feeds.
As of today’s date, there are 449 different bundles available to you – from news feeds..coffee ..crochet…surfing…yoga…everything! If you can’t find a bundle that interests you, why not create a bundle of YOUR niche favourites and submit them to Google for other people to subscribe to?!
Why you should use RSS? Because it brings your internet world to YOU, you don’t need to go rootling about to find it and best of all, you’ll never miss an update from your favourite site again.
About Alison Cross
Alison Cross lives on the Isle of Bute where she has built over a dozen websites using our software. She also helps people use Twitter to market their business. For more info or advice about social media or web design, visit her website alisoncross4webs.co.uk.