RSS explanation for non technical people

on March 27, 2011
(2 minute read)

In just one sentence, RSS is an easy way to read a lot of websites through one place. This is very helpful since you skip the annoying part of having to go from one website to another to read the new stuff individually.

To do this, you will need a RSS reader and some RSS feeds. The best RSS reader nowadays is Google Reader: it is free, you don’t need to install anything in your computer, it is easy to use and does everything you want. If you have a Google account you are all set up, if not, create a Google account and keep reading.

Once you have the Reader you need some feeds from websites. Feeds are little files that warn the RSS readers when the content in the website is updated. Adding a lot of feeds from websites you like (i.e. news, blogs, museums, magazines, etc.) and adding them to Google Reader will allow you to read all those websites from one place without the need of jumping from one website to another and saving way loads of time.

To get the RSS feeds you need to visit the website and look after an icon like these:

Always look for something orange in the website to find it. Some of them may not have them so look after “feed” or “rss” links and click them. Once you click them, you will be redirected to a different page, follow the steps to add the feed to Google Reader.

Once you have a few feeds you can visit Google Reader and enjoy reading all your favorite websites from one place.

You can add as many websites as you want and group them with tags and folders when they become too many.

Once you get used to Google Reader, if you have a smart phone have a look at some Google Reader apps for your phone and enjoy offline access to the most recent content so you can keep up to date reading articles and news while traveling to work, waiting for someone or eating breakfast!

Disclaimer: This explanation of RSS is intended for people who don’t care what RSS is but how can it be useful for them. To learn what really RSS is and in a more detailed way, visit the RSS article in Wikipedia.

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