I have thought about this for a while, and I wasn’t really sure if I was going to write it or not. The reason why I haven’t been sure is that I am not really into all the technical computer terms, and because I am not, that’s exactly the reason why I thought I should write a short post about RSS and explain what it is and how you can use it. I am explaining it with my own words, and maybe that will help or maybe not.
One of the easiest ways to get a definition for RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is to visit Wikipedia. I have done that, and to me after reading this long definition and using my own experience RSS is really a way to present the contents of your website / blog to people. In a normal situation, your visitors would have to use a webbrowser (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Opera) to visit your site and read what you have published. But with RSS the same contents can be read by your visitors using another software (called a feed reader or even inside a webbrowser or an email client). You really don’t need to know how this is technical possible, you only need to know that it’s possible to read the contents of websites / blogs without having to visit them with your webbrowser as you normally would do.
The real benefit from RSS to me is that I don’t have to visit my favorite sites anymore. By subscribing to a website using RSS, you will automatically get updates every time the author publishes a new story. It works almost like an email client, depending on which software you are using. You will have a list of all the websites that you subscribe to and if it’s a good feed reader (the RSS software) you can sort all your subscriptions by using categories.
For instance, in my feed reader I have a category called blog marketing. This category will show all my subscriptions to blogs related to the topic “blog marketing”. Every time one of the authors publishes a new post, I will see a number on that category and the number represents how many unread posts it has. All I do is click on the category to see the headlines, and the ones in bold are the unread posts. Then I click on the ones that I find interesting and read them. Yes, it’s that easy.
If you still don’t get it, you can always visit Ask Dave Taylor and maybe his explanation will help you more than mine.
I know that a lot of people find RSS and Feed Readers a little too much to handle. They would like to subscribe to their favorite sites and they would like all the benefits from RSS without having to learn to use a new software. There are one simple solution for all those people (maybe there are more than one solution, but I know one that I think works great), and this solution is called e-mail.
It’s possible to get updates from your favorite sites to your inbox, that is if they give you this opportunity on the sites you would like to subscribe to. Many websites / blogs do, and if they do, you don’t have to learn anything new. Just type in your email address and click on subscribe and you will get the new posts as a regular e-mail message.
The only problem I find with receiving e-mail messages instead of using a Feed Reader to handle my subscriptions is that I would get probably get 1,000 e-mails every single day. My inbox would be completely full and I would have big problems finding important messages and sorting my e-mail. But if you don’t subscribe to as many websites / blogs as I do, then you might want to consider to subscribe to their RSS this way.
If you are looking for a Feed Reader you should visit About.com and read their reviews. They have reviews for both Windows and Mac.
If you want an even easier way to understand what I just wrote, just watch this video from You Tube:
Finally, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed 🙂