Is there a site you like to read, but it posts new material sporadically? Do you get tired of using bookmarks (Favorites), or (even worse) manually typing in a URL every time you want to check a site for new content? Would you like to keep up with comments on a blog post without having to go back to that post several times?
Then it’s time you said, “Yes,” to RSS. It’s the easiest way to keep track of the various news sites, blogs, online comics, or whatever you read (provided that those sites use RSS — which most do in some form or other). You are notified each time there’s a new post, and sometimes the entire post is delivered right to you.
This isn’t meant so much as a how-to as it is a why-not. That said, I’ll elaborate a little without getting too technical and then provide links at the bottom to help get you started.
If you’re not up to downloading and installing RSS Reader software (but it’s so simple!), then you can set up RSS Feeds in your Gmail or Yahoo! accounts (and probably others, too, but I wouldn’t know).
There are two reasons I won’t explain in detail how to do this (unless someone asks). They are 1) most of you are capable of it and may already be using RSS feeds, and 2) there are too many programs and online services out there for me to know all of them.
The basic concept of adding a feed is this: once you have an RSS program installed, or you have one of your services set to grab RSS feeds, a click on an RSS feed link prompts your Web browser to ask what it should use to handle it. Then you’re on the road to subscribing to that RSS feed.
If you use stand-alone software for your RSS feeds, then often you can tell it to go out and find all the feeds on a given web site. You can set your software to check each feed at startup and/or at intervals you set, and then alert you when new information is available. Typically, the feeds are listed on the left, similar to an e-mail program. When you click on that feed’s folder, its latest post titles appear in the top right pane, waiting for you to start reading.
I have used and can recommend these free RSS Readers:
RSS Owl — I use it now, just for a few features it had over the first RSS reader I used.
RSS Bandit — The first reader I used, it still is very good.
So, what feed will you add first? Or, what feeds do you already track?