What Is RSS?
RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and – without getting into any geeky lingo – basically represents a way you can easily keep track of frequently updated content (such as that found on the Compost Guy Blog). In order to do so you will need to use something called a feed reader (a.k.a ‘aggregator’), which provides you with a convenient place to compile and read all the feeds you sign up for.
The reader I use is Google Reader. If you have a gmail (free Google e-mail) account you can easily access it from within your inbox. The Google Reader is only one of many different free readers out there. A few other popular ones are My Yahoo, Bloglines, and NewsGator. I haven’t tried any of the other readers myself, but I’m sure they are all quite similar.
So How Do I Sign Up For a Feed?
Once you have chosen and signed up for a feed reader you will be ready to start adding feeds – thankfully something you don’t need to be a technical wizard in order to accomplish.
If a website has feeds available it should be fairly obvious. Keep your eyes open for one (or both) of the following: 1) a smaller version of the orange graphic above (which is the universal symbol for RSS) and/or 2) the words “RSS Feed” or either word alone.
When you click through the link you will be taken the website’s feed page – often this will be a page on the site itself (typically designated as http://www.websitename.com/feed) but it can also be found elsewhere if a service such as Feedburner is being used to manage the site’s feeds.
It is the URL (web address) of this page that you will be adding to your reader.
Let’s say for example that you are ONLY interested in finding out when new posts relating to “Worm Composting” are published. Simply click the “RSS” link next to the “Worm Composting” category, then copy the URL, which in this case is “http://www.compostguy.com/category/worm-composting/feed/”. You’ll next open up your feed reader, click on “Add a Subscription” (if using Google Reader) and paste the URL into the box. That’s it!
Now all you need to do is periodically open up your reader to see if any new content has been added to your favourite sites (assuming you have subscribed to their feeds).
I realize this is not the most comprehensive RSS overview, but hopefully it gets newbies pointed in the right direction. If you are looking for more information on the subject, be sure to check out this great RSS tutorial.
And of course, if you have any questions about our feeds (or need some assistance getting signed up) don’t hesitate to get in touch!