What Is RSS & How Do You Get It?

  April 9, 2009   Category :     RSS Feeds   Philip O'Hara

RSS is a simple XML-based system that enables users to subscribe to their favorite websites in order to browse recent updates. The listings include headlines and opening sentences, giving you just enough information to determine whether or not you want to read more.

RSS History

It’s hard to believe that RSS has been around for more than ten years. According to Wikipedia, RSS was first introduced in the mid-nineties by Ramanathan Guha, while working at Apple Computer. Guha soon moved to Netscape, but it wasn’t long before the Netscape RSS team quickly abandoned RSS development, because it was deemed too complicated for what they were trying to accomplish.

The perception of RSS as too complicated, although still around today, is quickly evaporating. In fact for RSS users, it couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is choose an RSS reader and you’ll see right away just how easy it is. If you already have a Gmail or Google account, you may as well choose Google Reader

After you’ve set up your RSS reader, to subscribe to the Directory One Search Engine Marketing Blog for example, all you have to do is click the words RSS feed in the top right corner and select the reader you’re using. Choices here include Google, My Yahoo, Live or Bloglines.

But how do you subscribe if the RSS reader you happen to be using is not one of the choices listed? Simply copy the feed URL at the top of of the Subscribe page and you can easily add it manually to your reader. I, myself, use Pageflakes because of the way it looks.

I first became intrigued by Pageflakes after checking our blog stats one day and seeing 46 referrals from Pageflakes alone. Pageflakes is so easy to set up that really all you have to do is go there and sign up for a free account. Then return to the blog or website you want to include and subscribe.

But enough about RSS history and how easy it is to use. There are certainly enough RSS articles around for that. In fact, here’s a link to a whole website of them appropriately titled Article Directory for RSS Related Articles.

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