What The Heck Is An RSS Feed?

RSS - What The Heck Is An RSS Feed?

RSS is an acronym for "Really Simple Syndication" or as I read recently on one bloggers blog "explained the Oprah Way" RSS stands for: I'm "Ready for Some Stories".

If you are not familiar with RSS, it would be assumed you aren't using RSS to keep track of your favorite websites. When you come across a website you want to keep track of, you most likely "bookmark it" with your Internet browser so that you can later return to that site and stay up to date on it. What if you didn't have to return to the site until you KNEW there was new information of interest posted? With RSS technology there is no need to bookmark, you simply subscribe to the RSS feed offered on the website and updates are sent to you shortly after they are published! How cool is that?

Another way to explain RSS is to think of it as a subscription to your favorite magazine, newspaper or periodical. When you have a subscription to any of these, they show up on your doorstep or in your home mailbox and you read them or possibly let them stack up in your bathroom! Maybe you read them while in the bathroom! RSS is basically the same, except it is an electronic subscription to your favorite websites, web content, web pages, or weblogs and it is delivered to you via your RSS Reader (I will get to RSS Readers, not to worry) . The other difference being that you receive updates via your RSS Reader anytime something is updated or changed on your favorite sites.

RSS Readers

Listed below are three easy to use RSS Feed Readers to help you get started with subscribing to your favorite websites.

One of the most popular RSS Feed Readers is Google Reader, it is free and very user friendly.

If you use Yahoo!, for email or frequent Yahoo! and have an account, Yahoo's RSS Reader is also great and very easy to use. You will find the ability to add the feeds in "My Yahoo!"

Microsoft Outlook also has an RSS Reader included that you have most likely not paid much attention to. If you have Microsoft Outlook, there is a folder that is automatically installed called RSS Feeds and has automatically subscribed you to receive updates from Microsoft. You can add other feeds to your Microsoft RSS reader that are of interest to you.

Subscribing To RSS Feeds:

You have most likely noticed when you visited some websites or blogs an icon in your browser address bar or on the site that looks like one of these:

There are many different versions of RSS icons people use on their various websites, but this should give you a good idea of what they look like and what to look for.

When you see this icon in your browser address bar at the top, if you click on it, you will receive a drop down menu asking you which type of feed you would like to subscribe to. Choose RSS Feed, which will then take you to a screen showing what the feed will look like in your RSS Reader. You will also see a drop down menu asking you where you would like your RSS to be fed to. Choose one of the options and that is it! If you choose Outlook, you will get an email in your inbox which will automatically be put in your RSS Feed folder. If you use My Yahoo!, you will see it listed in your custom "My Yahoo!" page. If you choose Google, it will display in your "iGoogle" page, this is my favorite method, all article headings in one place make it easy to choose what I want to read. All three are easy and I encourage you to get started on it right away!

By subscribing to the RSS Feeds on your favorite websites, you will soon begin to understand the importance of having an RSS Feed on your own blog.

Here is what the RSS subscription button looks like in the address bar. By clicking on the little orange icon, you can subscribe to your favorite sites.

Sometimes websites also have something like this to make it easy to subscribe and you just click it and follow the prompts. Give it a whirl…it's easy and you will be so glad you did. I didn't include any links on this page directly to the RSS feed so you can practice by either clicking on the orange button at the top OR on the RSS feed on the left.

How To Create Your First Blog

There are a few steps that need to happen before you actually begin blogging. They can all be completed within an hour. The Step are written out and followed by images with instructions.

1. Identify a domain name - make sure to read the post about choosing a domain name. VERY important to have the RIGHT domain name.

2. Now that you own your domain name, you need to point it to a "domain name server" DNS server, so it is available on the internet, so you will need hosting.(see a video tutorial of how to register your domain name AND how to point your DNS servers)

3. Set up your hosting account. - Hostgators is by far the easiest and cheap too! Once you register, you will receive an emiail with your log in address for your CPANEL so that you can log in and begin setting things up. It will also provide the information regarding your DNS servers.

4. Log in to your CPANEL using the web address provided.

5. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and you will see an icon that says "fantastico", click it

6. On the right you will see a list of available services, click the one that says "WordPress" and the available Word Press services will come up on the right.

7. Click New Installation. Create your user name and password for your blog. It is a good idea to make your password strong, strong meaning a combination of numbers, letters and characters if possible. Follow the steps that you are prompted to follow. Make sure to have your user name and password emailed to you.

8. Log in to your blog using the link that you were advised to make sure and bookmark, which will take you to your blog "dashboard".

9. Click "Create Post" and start blogging….and KEEP BLOGGING. I know you probably don't care for the look of your blog at this point, but don't worry, we will fix that. When you first launch your blog, you won't have many visitors, so trust me, don't worry about the look….JUST BLOG!

10. Go to the video section of the website to learn how customize by creating your template.