What is RSS?

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

Benefits and Reasons for using RSS

RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site's email newsletter. The number of sites offering RSS feeds is growing rapidly and includes big names like Yahoo News.

There are two steps to getting started with RSS.

Step 1) You need an RSS Reader.

You have many to choose from and here are some good places to start:

  • Internet Explorer web browser has an RSS Reader built in, which is pretty bare-bones
  • Firefox web browser has a nice free plug-in called Sage
  • NewsGator has a free online RSS reader FeedDemon and one they sell which is integrated into Microsoft Outlook
  • FeedReader delivers the RSS feed directly to the users desktop
  • Mac users should look at NetNewsWire Lite
  • Google Reader is another free online RSS reader, but you will need to register and set up an account.

Step 2) Subscribe to the RSS feed.

To do this, you need to look for a little icon like these: and click on it.

After you click on the icon to subscribe, one of two types of pages will appear.

a) This is one that provides one-click access to subscribing in your reader.

b) The other page you're likely to see looks like this with code on it.

Screen shot of an xml page

If you see this page, copy the address at the top of the page, go to your reader and look for a link that says "Add Subscription" or "Add Feed". Click on that, and paste the address into your reader. So, once you've added your subscriptions, new posts begin arriving in your reader and you'll see why this is a faster way to read, collect, and organize Web content.