RSS Feed – News The Way You Want It

Unlike getting website updates or ezines by email, RSS feeds give you absolute, 100% complete control over the situation. You don’t have to reveal your email address. If you want to stop receiving content, you don’t have to request to be taken off the list.

One click, and poof the subscription is gone.

What is RSS?
RSS is a simply an Internet technology standard that allows busy people to receive updates to web-based content of interest. Basically, that’s the essence of an RSS feed – you subscribe and then receive new content automatically in your feed reader.

What is a Feed Reader?
You may already be using a form of feed reader, and not even realize it. If you use personalized home page services like My Yahoo or My MSN, you’ve got RSS capabilities built in. That’s how syndicated content like news, weather and stock quotes appears on your personal page. You can also add content from any blog or other site that uses RSS to provide updates.

Other web-based tools are primarily dedicated to feed reading only. One of the most popular web-based feed readers at this point is Bloglines, and it’s also free and easy to get started with.

If you use the Firefox browser, you can also receive RSS feeds from your tool bar by using the Live Bookmarks function. The latest version of Internet Explorer offers this feature as well.

Finally, there are desktop-based feed readers. These function somewhat like an email program for feeds. Examples include Newsgator and Feed Demon. If you are a Mac user you can download the NetNewsWire lite edition for free.

If it sounds complicated, it’s really not. And things will get even easier when the next version of Outlook integrates feed-reading capabilities. So, you’ll have the same convenience that email subscriptions offered in the old days, without any of the terrible consequences of giving out your email address to potentially unscrupulous characters.

How do I Subscribe to a Feed?
First of all, look for the subscription or feed options. You might see a variety of buttons. In our case simple click on the link ‘Sign up for Articles’. If you are interested in comments and discussion on articles you can also subscribe to comments.

If the site you want to subscribe to uses FeedBurner (we do) to aid in the subscription process, you’ll likely see the standard RSS icon, which takes you to a page that will give you an array of the most popular feed readers so you can select yours, and you’ll go from there. This is the new standard RSS icon:

Feed Icon

The benefit to you is obvious. And it’s good for publishers too, because we want to make sure that people feel comfortable subscribing, and that our message is not nuked by an overzealous spam filter.