What is RSS?

What-Is-RssNobody really knows, it’s a mystery like “mankind“- no it isn’t. 😉 It’s just a fancy way of saying “I wanna know what you’re writing about, keep me up to date”. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

If you wanna know what’s cookin’ on a daily basis here, sign up for the RSS feed. I won’t keep your email and sell it off to pirates, it won’t cost anything, it’ll just give you a new way aside from bookmarking to see the latest from MIB.

Bookmarking Is Old School

  • You as the web surfer had to do all the work
  • It can get complicated when you are trying to track many websites at once
  • You miss information when you forget to check your bookmarks
  • You end up seeing the same information over and over again on sites that don’t update very often

RSS Is So Easy My Gramma Signed Up To Use It!

What if you could tell a website to let you know every time that they update? In a sense, this is what RSS does for you.

RSS flips things around a little and is a technology that provides you with a method of getting relevant and up to date information sent to you for you to read in your own time. It saves you time and helps you to get the information you want quickly after it was published.

It’s like subscribing to something in your snail mail; but you get it IMMEDIATELY after it is published in your RSS reader.

Like I said in the header here – Even my Gramma knows how to use RSS now; the simplest way is to have it go to your email inbox, but you can get pretty fancy and have it cook out several other ways.

How Does a Person Use This ‘RSS’ You Speak Of?

Get an RSS Reader – The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re getting into reading sites via RSS is to get an RSS Feed Reader. EVERY major search engine/email company has a way to get it any more. Even your Microsoft Outlook has it. Yahoo, MSN, Google, AOL. If you’re completely lost, contact me and I’ll help you get setup. I use Google myself.

Both of these feed readers work a little like email. As you subscribe to feeds you’ll see that unread entries from the sites you’re tracking will be marked as bold. As you click on them you’ll see the latest update and can read it right there in the feed reader. You are given the option to click through to the actual site or move onto the next unread item – marking the last one as ‘read’.

The best way to learn how to use either Google Reader or Bloglines is to simply subscribe to some feeds and give it a go. Both have helpful help sections to get you up and running.

On Site Subscription
Over the last few years you may have noticed a lot of little buttons and widgets appearing on your favorite sites and blogs. Little orange buttons, ‘counters’ with how many ‘readers a blog has, links called RSS, XML, ATOM and many more.

They come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few you might have seen:

Rss-Buttons

There are plenty more – but any time you see any of these buttons or anything like them it means that the site you are viewing almost certainly has a feed that you can subscribe to. In most cases it’s as simple as either copying and pasting the link associated with the button into your RSS Reader or clicking the button and following the instructions to subscribe using the feed reader of your choice.

Browser Subscription

Many internet browsers now have the ability to find and subscribe to RSS feeds built right into them.

When you surf to a site you can usually tell if it has an RSS feed by looking in the right hand side of address bar where you type in the site’s URL.

Here’s how it looks for MyInvestingBlog when you’re using Firefox:

MIB in Firefox

See the little orange icon on the right hand side? Click that and you’ll be locating MyInvestingBlog’s RSS feed.

To quickly and easily subscribe by clicking these icons you’ll want to set up your browser to do it with your feed reader of choice as by default they will probably subscribe you using the in-browser reader. You can do this by going to the ‘preferences’ to your browser and choosing ‘Google Reader’ or ‘Bloglines’ etc as your feed reader.

Once you’ve done this and have subscribed to a few feeds you’ll begin to see unread items in your Feed Reader and you can start reading.

Don’t want to Use an RSS Reader? Email is an Option

If the above explanation all just seems a little too complicated for you then please don’t worry. Many sites also enable you to subscribe to RSS feeds via a more familiar medium – Email.

Here at MyInvestingBlog we know that not everyone is into the RSS thing so at the top of our right hand sidebar there is a field where you can enter your email address and get a daily email with a summary of our latest posts. You can unsubscribe at any time and your email will be kept private and not used for any other purposes than to send these daily updates.