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What is an “RSS Feed” and Why Would I Want One?

April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 


Everyone has a favorite site on the internet (Woodall’s Family Camping Blog perhaps?) that they visit a least a couple times a week. And if you are like most people, maybe you have “bookmarked” that site or added it to your “favorites” on your web browser. But bookmarking a site has its pitfalls:

1) You have to click and search each and every website yourself (that is a lot of clicking!)

2) You can miss information when you forget to check all your “bookmarks”

3) You often go back to the same page over and over again to check to see if they have anything new on their site

But now there is a way to get updates on all your favorite websites, all without having to surf the internet at all. “RSS”—which is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication—is a way to build your own custom “internet magazine” and have your favorite websites send you their newest articles, photos, and videos.  RSS Feeds delivers bite-sized chunks of a website and puts them in an easy to read format. When you subscribe to an RSS Feed, you will see new entries marked in bold that mean you haven’t read this yet. After reading all the articles, or looking at pictures, or watching those videos, the entry will “unbold” which means you have read or seen this already. If you have seen this icon on a website before:

This lets you know that an RSS Feed is available for this website, and you can subscribe.

Get an RSS Reader

To get started building your custom “internet magazine”, we recommend using an RSS Reader. There are many Feed Readers available, but two of the best ones available (and Free!) are Google Reader and Bloglines (We prefer Google Reader, but both are good). These Readers are fairly easy to use, and will be a great start to building your Web subscriptions.

Adding a RSS Feed to Google Reader is easy. Once you are on the Google Reader site,  click on the button that says “Add subscription” at top, left-hand side of the page and then type in the address of the website you want to follow (for Woodall’s Blog that address would be, and voila! You can see all the recent articles at a glance without ever having to check the website!

How to subscribe to an RSS Feed

So maybe you are thinking “Hey, this RSS Feed thing doesn’t sound that bad. Maybe I should try it out.” Great! Most internet browsers have the ability to locate RSS feeds and subscribe to them right there at the top of the search page.

Using Woodall’s Family Blog, you might see this:

In the right-hand corner is the RSS icon. Click on this, and it will take you right to Woodall’s RSS Feed. And there you can choose if you want Woodall’s to send you new updates through your e-mail, or send you updates through Google Reader, or through live bookmarks.  Once you have subscribed to a few RSS Feeds, you can immediately start seeing unread entries that are waiting for you. Easy-Peezy!

Get started on building your RSS Feeds by subscribing to Woodall’s RSS Feed for FREE! Click on to get started!

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