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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