Good day to all, and welcome again the “The Computer Deconfuser”. Today we’re going to talk about RSS. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary, or more commonly Really Simple Syndication. In short it’s an XML format that allows news sites and bloggers to share their content in an easy to use fashion. If you’re a web site owner and want to integrate content from other sites into your own, RSS allows this to happen in a standard and seamless fashion. It also allows other site owners to integrate your content into their site. The integrated content of another’s site into yours allows you to have constantly updated and changing content which in theory tells the search engine spiders to frequent your site more often. By sharing your content through an RSS feed you can capture new traffic from other sites that you may not have gained otherwise. When someone adds your RSS feed to their site the headline is displayed on their site and if their visitor wants to read further, they click the link and are directed to your site where you can market them and show them your content. This is huge.
As a general user that doesn’t own a website you can also benefit from RSS with what is known as an RSS aggregator. These RSS aggregators/readers keep track of all the RSS feeds that you like, periodically check them for new updates, and show them on your desktop. Now you merely look over the headlines from several different sites and choose which article is appealing to you. You no longer have to visit 20 different sites in order to get you daily dose of the news. Many of the readers out there also support ATOM feeds as well as Podcast feeds. The cool thing about the Podcast grabbers is that they’ll download the latest Podcast for you and, some will even upload it to your IPod as well. Many of the RSS readers out there are free and there are just too many to list here. But I’ve chosen one from each category for you to try.
Feedreader is an excellent RSS reader that is free and supports RSS, RDF, ATOM, and the new OPML formats. It runs in the system tray and has many options. It comes preloaded with lots of subscriptions. It is a great all around feed reader. Get is by visiting http://www.feedreader.com.
IPodder is an excellent free podcaster that has many similar features as FeedReader. It will work with many mp3 players other than IPod. So if you want to try out podcasting and own something other than an IPod, don’t let that hold you back. You can find IPodder at http://www.ipodder.org.
Once you have a feed reader or podcast grabber installed using it is pretty easy. Once you’re on a website that supports RSS look for a little orange logo that has the letters “XML” or “RSS” on it. If you click the button your RSS reader of choice should notice it’s an RSS feed and add it to your subscriptions. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Now all you need are some sites with syndication. Most news sites have RSS available. But there are also directories that keep track of various RSS feeds as well. One such site is http://www.newsisfree.com. And the IPodder website has a Podcast Directory as well. I hope you enjoy the ease of RSS. It should make finding and reading the news a lot less time consuming for you.
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