Little orange icons are on nearly every website and blog these days. Sometimes they are accompanied with text that says “Subscribe here” or “RSS feed.” If you are like a great many people, you have probably wondered about the purpose for those orange icons. You may have even tried clicking on one of the icons, only to be directed to a page asking you to choose an “aggregator” to which to send the “feed”-and you probably didn’t know what to do with this at all.
So, here is an explanation of RSS feeds and how they work. After reading this, you will likely be eager to begin using them.
The term RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. That means that it is an easy way to syndicate news and share it on the internet-or, at least, that is the purpose for which it was created. These days, RSS is used for sharing all types of information.
That explanation is not really very helpful in understanding what RSS feeds really are, however. So, let’s take a deeper look at RSS feeds.
Websites and blogs that have those little orange icons have content that they wish to syndicate, or share. These sites have set up RSS feeds through which this content can be shared with readers. Some webmasters and blog owners set up feeds that send story headlines; others send actual stories.
When a reader clicks on the icon, the reader is saying, “I would like your website or blog to send me this RSS feed.” After clicking on the icon, the reader will have to choose a feed aggregator. This sounds daunting; however, it really isn’t. A feed aggregator is simply “a place where a person stores his RSS feeds.” That’s all, nothing difficult.
Many RSS readers are free and simple to use. Do an internet search for “RSS aggregator” and you will find several from which you can choose. Most RSS aggregators are web readers, meaning that they are online-based. There are some that are desktop-based, though-these download your chosen RSS content to your desktop RSS aggregator for you to read when you are offline.
Now, let’s get down to the central focus of the issue here-how, exactly, does using an RSS feed work? It is really like a three-step process. First, you click on the little orange icon to tell the website or blog that you want to subscribe. Second, you choose the feed aggregator to which the website or blog is to send their RSS feed. Third, you login to your feed aggregator and read the feed content.
Imagine doing that for several of your favorite websites. You will be able to see all of their feeds on your aggregator at once! You can subscribe to as many-or as few-feeds as you like. This will save you time because you can check your aggregator for new content each day, rather than taking the time to visit each website or blog.
So, now that you understand about RSS feeds, chances are you are eager to begin using them-go find those little orange icons on your favorite websites and by favorite why don’t you start with us!