RSS Feeds And How To Use Them

This post isn’t about LSi, promotional merchandise or corporate clothing, it’s about how to use this blog – and the Internet as a whole – as well as you can.

You’ll notice that in the top right of each page on this site, there’s a button that reads ‘Subscribe to our RSS feed‘. If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, how you use them and what they can do for you, this post is well worth reading. You’ll get a whole lot more out of the Internet in general when you understand and use RSS.

RSS Logo

RSS Logo

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a way for websites such as this to give data to people quickly and easily. You may have noticed while on your Internet travels that this little square orange icon keeps appearing – this is the RSS icon. If you’re using Internet Explorer 7 or 8 it appears on your toolbar next to your ‘Home’ button as well as on our pages. If you click it you’ll be taken to a special page which contains just the content of this blog.

RSS Feed in Internet Explorer

RSS Feed in Internet Explorer

As you can see in the screenshot above, there’s a link that says ‘Subscribe to this feed’. Click that to add our feed to your feeds menu.

‘Where is my feeds menu?’, I hear you ask..! Well, click the ‘Favourites’ menu – the one with a star next to it – next to your row of tabs (this only applies to Internet Explorer 7 & 8, remember, I’ll be going onto alternative methods later on – including the one I personally use). You’ll see that this little menu has three tabs, Favourites, Feeds and History. The ‘Feeds’ one is the one you want to click on. You’ll see that our feed will now be in amongst a couple of pre-loaded Microsoft ones.

The feed title changes to bold text when there are new messages so you know what you’ve read and what you haven’t. Have a play about with it, it’s like discovering a new world! Personally speaking, I use a different RSS reader called ‘Google Reader‘, which is a website as opposed to being attached to your browser. This allows me to read all my feeds wherever I am on other computers or on my phone.

Google Reader

Google Reader

As you’ll see, I’ve got loads of feeds coming in from many different sources on many different topics. I can read them in a big list, as seen above, by section by using the panels on the left or by feed by expanding the folders which I’ve organised my feeds into. It saves me so much time each day knowing that I’m only getting the news and information I’m interested in and not having to trawl through websites to find those little nuggets of information that my particular feeds seem to throw towards me. I can only imagine how much I used to miss before I started using this! You can sign up for Google Reader for free at Google.

You can also subscribe by using Outlook so all your feeds come in to the same program as your e-mail. To do this, copy the address of the feed, click on Tools > Account Settings then the ‘RSS Feeds’ tab. Click ‘New’ and paste your feed address in and it will be added to the ‘RSS Feeds’ menu next your inbox, sent items etc. Again, the title will go bold when you’ve got something new to read.

To summarise, if you want to read your feeds anywhere, use Google Reader. If you’re not bothered by that, use your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc) or Outlook (if you have it).

I hope I’ve described RSS feeds to you in a way you understand and that you can see the benefits in using them, not just for this website but to enhance your internet use all round.

If you’ve got any questions, just leave a comment using the form below, e-mail me directly at scott@lsi-gifts.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @scottthewebdes. I’ll be happy to help.

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First Post

Its 11:30pm Sunday evening, my kids are all in bed, resting before another week of school, football and dancing. My wife’s just gone to feed Alfie (2 month old) and I’m still sat here putting the finishing touches to the new LSi website. Why is it, no matter how hard you try to be organised there is always something left while the eleventh hour! Literally!

So this is my first blog on our new Merchandise blog, created by Scott Brown our web designer, and i have to say he has done a fantastic job of our new website  - I’m really pleased with the look and feel, and believe it will keep improving as we add more content and features over the coming months.

Also would like to take this opportunity to mention, that we recently came runner up in the BPMA (British Promotional Merchandise Association) awards for Website of the year. Just getting nominated in the top 5 was a major achievement, so Scott should be proud of his effort for the past year, he really deserved the recognition.

So all is looking good for 2010, we finished January slightly down on the previous year in terms of sales, but after a record December I can’t really complain. But more importantly we have just had a fantastic week at LSi, on Tuesday we were informed we had been successful in wining a major tender from one of our largest customers. After weeks of work replying to the tender, and work on a presentation pitch, we have been rewarded with a 3 year contract (subject to signing) to supply clothing and merchandise Europe wide for a large worldwide organisation! The hard work starts now!  But this is a major coup for LSi and I believe could be the stepping stone we needed to move up a level and become stronger across Europe.

We have also mailed out 1500 merchandise packs and our first newsletter to active customers, which should hit on Monday, these consist of a highlighter pen, 5 x senator pens, sweets, post it notes, coaster and a mousemat and are all branded with our new logo “Make an impression”, so next week will hopefully be a busy one also.

Just found out we’ve been nominated at the forthcoming Promota awards for Distributor of the year (North of England) for the fifth year running, we have won this award in 2007 and 2008 so it would be great to win for anniversary year, but being nominated is good enough and testament to the fantastic staff I am fortunate to have working with me at LSi.

After visiting some industry trade shows, we have uncovered some fantastic new products which will be featured shortly on the website, so keep checking back and hope you have a good week.

Lloyd

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The Promotional Merchandise Blog

Hi and welcome to the new promotional merchandise blog!

This site will soon fill with articles written by us at LSi with different staff members concentrating on different things. Find out about the authors by clicking the link at the bottom of the right hand sidebar. There will be three main sections dedicated to company information (like this), merchandise and clothing. The links for these will appear next to the ‘Company’ link at the top once we’ve created our first posts on these topics.

We hope to give you an insight into what we do, why we do it, what we sell and, most importantly, how it can help you achieve what you want in your marketing program.

Our staff regularly go to trade shows around the country, Europe and the world and they’ll be reporting back on what they find. If there’s a new product you’ll hear about it here first even before it’s on our main website so make sure you subscribe to our RSS feed by clicking the white box in the header section of the page.

I designed this blog and would love to hear any feedback you have on it. Are there areas you think can be improved? Are there any things you’d like to see us writing about specifically in the future? Leave us a comment.

We’ve had a few ideas of ongoing post ideas for the future. One of these is the Top 5’s, outlining the top 5 budget pens, conference giveaways, most innovative products and so on. We’ll be passing on specialist knowledge from the manufacturers of products and finding out the new and innovative ways of using promotional products to their full potential.

We hope you come back and read what we’ve got to say. Along with our new website we hope that our updated offerings for 2010 will help you achieve more and get an edge over your competitors by using our knowledge.

Thanks for reading!

Scott

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