Wednesday, April 30, 2008

RSS: the Really Simple way to Stay in touch

It's RSS Awareness Day Tomorrow!

Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips suggests various ways to participate:

1. Blog about it: on May 1st write a post or article on your website about RSS. You can just mention that it is the RSS Awareness Day and link to some RSS resources, or you can explain what RSS is and teach your readers how they can make the most out of RSS. You can even write a poem about RSS, there are no limitations here.

2. Use a badge or banner: We will be hiring a company (if you wanna help with the badges let us know) to produce several badges and banners that you can use on your site. You can use them throughout April or just on May 1st.

3. Help spread the word: see the section below.

There are prizes to encourage people to get involved but they are only available to people involved before 30th April. I'm sorry I didn't realise sooner, so I could have let you all have a chance to be elligible, but I didn't look into it all properly until this morning.

I just wanted to do my bit to spread the word because I think RSS feeds are fab! They've made my life easier and I always like to share things that make life easier.

What is an RSS Feed?

RSS stands for Rich Site Summary or more often, Really Simple Syndication.

For a one page quick introduction to RSS, see here: What is RSS? RSS Explained

As a reader of far too many excellent blogs and websites recently, I have found RSS Feeds invaluable for staying aware of what people are saying, without necessarily visiting every single blog/website every single day.

RSS Feeds are a way of receiving updates to favourite blogs and websites, being able to read them quickly and easily and then connect to the blog or website when I want to look further or leave a comment.

The BBC have a useful article on RSS Feeds and Feed Readers.

How to Set Up an RSS Feed to Your Blog

I thought maybe the best way to start would be to set up a feed from my own blog(s) and I set about doing that this morning. It has taken me all day! But only because I had no idea what I was doing.

Now I've done it, it's Really So Simple after all. It literally takes 5 minutes!

This is how I (eventually) did it, for anyone who wants to try:

(These steps work for a blog on Blogger. See Feedburner for steps to add an RSS feed to a blog on another platform.)

Step One: Burn a Feed

1. Go to Feedburner

* Type: (without the http://)

* Tick: I am a podcaster (if you are!)

* Click: Next

2. Identify Feed Source

* Choose: Rss (rather than Atom)

* Click: Next

3. Burn Feed

* Type: The Title Of Your Blog

* Add (in box): TheTitleOfYourBlog (no spaces)

* Choose: Username and Password

* Click: Activate Feed

Some Options

The next page says:

Congrats! Your feedburner is now live. Want to dress it up a little?

(Note the address in blue at the top of the page - it's your feedburner address.)

* Click: Next

The next page says:

Get more gusto from your feed traffic stats.

(There are options on here you might like to try. I didn't choose any because I wasn't sure what they meant!)

* Click: Next

* Open: Publicize (tab at the top of page)

(Note you can also Analyse, Optimize, Monetize and Troubleshootize ... love that! Will check them out after I've been using it for a while and let you know how they all work.)

Step Two: Set Up Your Feed from Your Blog

But for now, setting up your feed from your blog takes just a few more simple steps (you still with me?):

* Click: Chicklet Chooser (in the list on the left)

* Choose: preferred icon

* Copy: the html code at the bottom of the page

* Paste: in Blogger

(Customize/Add a page element/HTML/JaveScript and then paste the copied html code in the big box. Add a title if you like and save changes.)

Subscribe to an RSS Feed

You have now set up an RSS feed from your blog. Check it out, be your first subscriber!

The first time I did this, it was a case of trial and error (as usual!) so I'm not sure this is the way you should do it, neither am I sure how much of the process was decided by my computer's software (I think I had a Feed Reader inbuilt already, but they are easy enough to download, I think, see the BBC Website), so you may find things slightly different but I think it's all pretty well explained as you go along.

* Click: RSS Feed button

* Click : View feed XML

* Click Subscribe to this feed

* Click: View my feeds

I receive feeds in my Windows Live/Hotmail account and read them in the same place as I read my emails.

Some Really Simple Resources:

More on how to set up an Rss Feed from your blog at the Feedburner Help Center

General information about RSS Feeds on the Feedburner Blog

Spreading the Word About RSS Feeds

I'd love to see RSS Feeds from all the blogs and websites I visit, especially those here on Blogger ... it makes keeping up with everyone much easier, so I hope you try it. (And if you do, let me know, so I can subscribe straight away!)

Or subscribe to some of your favourite blogs yourself.

But I guess, like everything, it's not for everyone. It would be great if you could spread the word though, by mentioning it on your blog, or adding a badge, or maybe writing a poem ...

I really do recommend it as a productivity tool. (As long as you're careful not to over-subscribe!)



Annieye said...

Sounds complicated but worth the effort. Think I might need technoson!

KAREN said...

I've been wondering about this for a while, so thanks for the detailed post - I think I'll give it a try!

Moondreamer said...

Haha! Annieye, I wish I had a technoson!

Setting up an RSS feed isn't tricky though, I just hope I haven't made it sound more complicated than it really is!



You're welcome! Am really glad to be of help. Let me know how it goes (or if I missed anything out!)

And have fun with RSS feeds, they really are a great thing to try ... both as a blogger and a blog reader, I think.

I found the Feedburner links very helpful, having spent hours looking elsewhere and getting more and more confused!