Making RSS Your Best Friend — Reading

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If you’ve ever seen this little symbol that seems to be everywhere on the web and wondered what it was for, this is the article for you.

There’s a lot to say about RSS (Real Simple Syndication) with regards to writing feeds, handling multiple feeds, monetizing feeds, etc.  But if you’re reading this article you’re probably looking for a quick overview of what RSS is and not much more.  The best way to understand it is to become a user of RSS.  You’ll “get it” in no time.

And you’ll love it.  I promise.

Basically, the owner of the RSS “Feed” updates the feed every time content is added to their site.  More accurately, the software they use to update their site automatically makes this change for them.  When this happens, all of the people who “subscribe” to the feed are automatically notified of the new content.  Some people choose to subscribe by email, while others subscribe in a feed reader.  The advantage of subscribing in a reader, which is my personal choice, is that you an view all of your feeds in one place.  Imagine reading all of your favorite sites and blogs in one place.  That’s what a feed reader does for you.

That cute little symbol is the website publisher’s way of enticing you to subscribe to their feed.  In fact, you can click on ours and subscribe to our feed right now!  You’ll be given some options to choose a reader.  I like Google Reader by Google because it’s super easy to use and has a ton of features you’ll appreciate once you’ve subscribed to a bunch of feeds.  It won’t take long.

The other option many sites, including ours, give you is to subscribe by email.  This is a good option if you only want to subscribe to a few sites and get emails from them, but for a bunch of sites, you can’t beat a feed reader.

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  1. Amber said January 14, 2009 | Permalink

    How do you subscribe to comments??? Or do I have to always check back to see?

  2. sadcox said January 14, 2009 | Permalink

    Thanks for noticing Amber! I went ahead and added the option for comment subscription in the lower right of the sidebar and will add them to each post a little later. Appreciate the heads up!

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