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What is an RSS Feed and How or Why Do I Subscribe to them?

Subscribe!  Great!  Um…  How?  RSS?   What the HECK IS THAT and why do all Websites on the Internet want me to Subscribe to their RSS Feed??? 

If your like me, the first time I saw RSS, I was a little confused.  Now granted, this was a few years back and unfortunately there was LITTLE information I could find on the topic.  Finally however I figured it out and honestly, my Web Surfing Habits changed forever (seriously…  in a good way).  Now, like most Geeks, I figured everyone knew what an RSS feed was until I received an email from a Reader here at groovyPost:

Hi – great site! I was wondering how I subscribe to your RSS feed? when I click on RSS all that comes up is the html code, am I supposed to copy and paste that somewhere? Trying to learn what RSS is and the how and why of it – have you an article?

So, let’s get right to it!

 

What do the Initials RSS mean?

The RSS initials stand for – “Really Simple Syndication” or if your an old-timer, “Rich Site Summary”.  RSS is an Internet language standard similar to HTML.  I know… Not very exciting.

 

What is an RSS Feed?

The most basic definition of an RSS Feed is a News Feed.  It can also be a lot more than that but in it’s most basic/common form, an RSS Feed is essentially a way for a Web Publisher to alert their Regular Readers that new content is available on their Website. 

Normally an RSS Feed will contain the just the first few paragraphs of the latest 15-20 published Articles / Blog Post / How-To Articles.  At the bottom of each Post Summary will be a link which the reader can Click on if they think the Article sounds interesting. 

 

Why should I Subscribe to an RSS Feed?Google Reader RSS Feed Summary

RSS Feeds are a “REALLY” nice way to “Quickly” and easily monitor your favorite Website(s) for new Articles or News normally with “0” advertisements.  If the RSS Summary Article looks interesting, you can Click on the Link and your Browser will open taking you directly to the article.  The News Information is delivered to YOU.  you don’t have to go out and surf the Internet looking for news you MIGHT be interested in.

With RSS Feeds, you just Subscribe to your favorite sites and let the feeds come to you all in 1 place!

 

How do I Subscribe to an RSS Feed?

An RSS Reader is required in order to Subscribe and Read an RSS Feed.  As our groovyPost.com reader found, if you click on an RSS Feed from your Internet Browser such as our Feed here at groovyPost – http://feeds.groovypost.com/groovypost it might come up looking like a bunch of Website Code.  The exception to this rule is if your using a modern Internet Browser such as Internet Explorer 7.+ or Firefox 3.+.  Both IE and Firefox have built in RSS readers however personally I find both to be not very practical.  Once you find a an RSS Reader you like, just copy the RSS Feed URL / Address and Paste it into your RSS Reader.

 

Normally what I do is when I find a Website I like, I find the RSS Feed.  I then RIGHT CLICK on the Click and Click Copy Link Location.  I then paste the Link into my RSS Reader.

Copy RSS Link from RSS Feed   How-To Google Reader Add RSS Feed Subscription

 

Once you try it out you will find it’s REALLY simple. 

 

What RSS Reader would you Recommend?

You have 2 options.  You can either install an RSS Reader on your Computer OR, use an Online Service.  Online services are usually more convenient (you can access them from any computer with an Internet Connection) and they don’t take up any resources on our computer.  Locally installed RSS Readers are also nice because you don’t need to be online to review your Subscriptions and I’ve found they usually have more features and integration into browsers / the local OS.  Personally, I use both.

  

Free Online RSS Readers I’ve Used

  • – Free, Simple, Lots of Features, No Sign-Up if you already have a GMAIL Account
  • – Free, Simple, Good Features.  I  dropped it once I found Google Reader.
  • FeedReader – Never used this one… but I see it a lot.
  • NewsGator – Never used this one… but I see it a lot.
  • RSS Bandit – Never used this one… but I see it a lot.

 

  Free Locally Installed RSS Readers I’ve Used

  • – Free, Lots of Features.  This is what I use.
  • -  Free, VERY simple.  I used this for YEARS but the developer stopped updating it so I moved to OMEA.  It’s a quality product but lacks the latest bells and whistles I use with OMEA and Google Reader.  Sad story, I was hooked on this for many many groovy years.

 

All are free so just give a few of them a try. 

 

What RSS Feeds is MrGroove Subscribed to?

 

Honestly, if your not using an RSS reader, your missing out (and probably wasting a lot of time surfing the web looking for news and updates).  It’s an amazing tool!  So get out there and find a good reader!

 

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7 Responses to What is an RSS Feed and How or Why Do I Subscribe to them?

  1. Zenner November 7, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    Great blog post! i’ve never used an RSS reader before and never understood the concept. now it all makes sense :)

    im going to follow your recommendation. I’m using google reader and so far so good. I use a MAC at home and a PC at work so it’s a good solution for me.

    thanks!

  2. flaxdine November 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

    well done. thanks for the writeup. I’m now a subscriber.

  3. Jay Scott November 18, 2008 at 6:46 am #

    vry nice. I’ve been using RSS for YEARS and guess what, I love SharpReader. I’ll have to give Google Reader a try to see how it works out.

    • Steve Krause June 19, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      I was a long-time Sharpreader myself but Google Reader is pretty good.

  4. kulin January 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    how to add a feed in windows7 gadget….?

  5. [email protected] January 30, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    but I can’t add feed in internet Explorer……how do i add them in IE ?

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