RSS Readers – How to Keep Track of All Those Blogs

RSS can make your life easier by helping you follow your favorite blogs and syndications from anywhere, online or offline, all in one place. Here’s a quick guide on what RSS is, what an RSS reader is and how it’s used.

==> What Is Really Simple Syndication (RSS)?

Really Simple Syndication, RSS for short, is basically a special format that allows blogs to strip out all their navigation and design elements and just publish the content.

This RSS format makes it easy for other programs to download the content. These programs are known as RSS Readers.

==> What Is an RSS Reader?

An RSS reader is a program that downloads RSS feeds from any number of different sources and gathers the data all in one place. Once the feeds have been downloaded, you can then view the articles and content whether you’re online or offline.

Different RSS readers have different settings, as do different blogs. Some RSS readers will only download text and you’ll have to be online to download images. Others will download the whole post.

Some blogs will only allow you to download snippets of the post, while others will allow you to download the entire article.

==> Why Use RSS Rather Than Web Viewing?

There are a few reasons to use an RSS reader rather than following blogs on the web.

For one, you can get all your content in one place. Let’s say you have seven favorite blogs. It can be a real hassle to have to load seven different webpages just to see if there are articles you want to read.

Instead, an RSS reader will just download all the articles from the seven websites. You can then scan the title and read the preview and just read the articles that jump out at you.

Another reason to use RSS readers is that you can read content offline. If you’re on a laptop, that means that downtime on the bus, on airplanes or while waiting for meals when you don’t have Wi-Fi can be spent reading something productive.

Finally, RSS readers work on smartphones like the iPhone, Android phones and the iPad. Loading dozens of pages on a smartphone just isn’t feasible, but an RSS reader can do the job without taking up too much data.

==> Getting Started with RSS

The first step is to download an RSS reader. There are many to choose from and a good handful of them are completely free of charge.

Once you have an RSS reader, go to your favorite blogs and look for the RSS icon. Click on the icon.

Copy and paste the RSS URL into your RSS reader. Your RSS reader will then download the most recent posts from the blog. Check the posts to make sure the download worked properly. Repeat the process for the rest of the blogs.

Keep in mind that RSS doesn’t just work for blogs. Many news publications also use RSS, as do a handful of non-blog websites.

That’s the basics of how to use RSS readers. RSS can make it a lot easier to sift through content, find the content you want and consume that content, no matter where you are.