Posted in Blogging, NBI

NBI Tips: A Non-Techy Intro to RSS, Feed Readers, and Why They’re Important to Bloggers

bigrss

So you’re a newcomer or wayward blogger who’s joining us for this NBI! You’ve taken the first step and posted your hellos on the forum, and people are talking to you, taking interest in your blog! These folks also have really neat blogs, and you’d really like to get involved by following these blogs and seeing what they’re all about.

But how do you do that? There’s so many!

Let me talk about RSS feeds, feed readers, and how they can work magic into your life.

About RSS

Wikipedia calls RSS a Rich Site Summary, but I’ve always heard it meant Really Simple Syndication. Both of those are correct and sound somewhat complex. But all you really need to know is:

  • Most blogs, including yours, have an RSS feed automatically built in.
  • An RSS feed allows you (and your readers) to magically know when a blog posts something new! Yay!

Because it’s so handy, I feel that it’s important to make sure your RSS feed is posted somewhere in a prominent location on your blog. But you can worry about that later. Let’s talk about feed readers.

About RSS Feed Readers

feedreader1
I have new things to read!

A Feed Reader is an application that allows you to subscribe to the RSS feeds that you want to follow. Consider it similar to a Facebook timeline that only shows you updates for blogs you want to read.

There are many different Feed Readers out there. The one I use is Feedly. I find it very simple to use, and highly suggest it. You can create a free feed reader account using any of your existing accounts: Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Since I’m most familiar with Feedly, I’m going to detail how it works below to give you an idea what a Feed Reader is about.

About Feedly

Feedly is a web-based feed reader. You can also pick it up as a mobile app, which is cool. I do most my blog reading on my PC, so I just bookmarked the Feedly site (like you would any other) and come back to it whenever I’m curious if I have new things to read.

When there’s new content to check out, it’ll post the number of new updates next to the blog’s name. You just click on the blog name and all the posts appear for you to read. You can also click the title of the post in your reader to hop to the actual blog, in case you have comments or thoughts you want to leave.

Adding a new subscription to Feedly is a snap. Unlike other feed readers of the past, all you need to know is the blog’s URL address.

To Add a New Feed to Feedly

  1. Log into Feedly.
  2. Enter the URL of the blog you want to follow in the search bar located in the top right corner.
    searchrss
  3. Click the +feedly button next to the blog’s name at the top of the window.
    selectrss
  4. Select your category, or make a new one.
    rsscategories
  5. Enjoy an organized way of reading all these great new blogs you’re discovering!

Hope this helps!

Do you already use a Feed Reader? If so, do you have a favorite reader? What do you recommend? 

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Author:

I'm a technical writer by day, gaming gal by night. I have a wide array of gaming interests, though I most often blog about MMOs, RPGs, and Nintendo fanstuffs. Like what you just read? Check out my Webcomic and Fantasy Fiction projects! https://aywren.com/fantasy-fiction-webcomics/

9 thoughts on “NBI Tips: A Non-Techy Intro to RSS, Feed Readers, and Why They’re Important to Bloggers

  1. Thanks for the great article! I had this exact quandary starting at the beginning of NBI2015. I wanted to do a better job of being able to keep up with other bloggers’ posts, and simply adding it to a favorite bar wasn’t gunna cut it.

    I started with trying out The Old Reader feed reader, but after a recommendation from Murf, I switched over and gave Feedly a whirl. I like the nice, simple layout, and it makes it easy to organize the blogs. I’m also one to read blogs by PC, but it’s nice to know there’s a mobile option if I ever upgrade from my dinosaur flip phone. +feedlied you (is that the proper term? *shrugs*)

    Thanks for the tip about searching for blogs via URL. I missed reading that text, and some of the blog titles I previously tried entering had no results. Directly entering the URL did the trick. Thanks again!

    Like

  2. One other small tip that I just recently picked up. Since no one but you will see the titles of your feeds, feel free to modify them to your liking. For example, with newer blogs from this year’s NBI2015, I added #NBI2015 to their feed names rather than create a separate category. For blogs that don’t reflect the Twitter handle or the community name of a person, I sometimes add it to the blog to make sure I am reading who I think I am reading!

    It isn’t much or even useful for everyone, but it can help keep things organized.

    Like

    1. That’s a great tip. Thanks, Murf!

      Glad other folks are enjoying Feedly, too. I was sad to see Google Reader go, but I’ve found my joy in Feedly, so it’s all good. 🙂

      Like

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