The Easiest Way to Keep Up With Online Content

We live in a world of information overload. Once you find online content that really interests you, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to keep up with that information. It could be that you prefer to read the latest newspaper headlines online, or you may stumble upon an interesting website relevant to your business or a hobby you enjoy, but you are unsure of the best way to keep track of the new content posted on these various websites.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to keep up with all the various websites that interest you without having to type in the url address or sorting through lists of bookmarks?  Well, there is a way to keep track of this content, and it is as easy as checking your email. This two-part series will take a look at RSS feeds and describe how to effectively use these feeds to keep track of information posted online.

 

What is an RSS Feed?
As you are surfing the web, you may notice that many web pages, especially ones with a lot of content, will have a little orange icon on the page along with the words RSS or “subscribe to our feed.” (insert image of icon here, or a screen shot or two of the icon on an actual page)

This icon represents a link to a web page’s RSS Feed.  RSS is an acronym for Really Simple Syndication and is used by bloggers, news organizations and other online content creators to “push” their new content to individuals who subscribe to the content’s RSS feed. This technology is advantageous to a business or organization that generates any kind of content because RSS feeds allow content owners to ensure their audiences receive new content as soon as its posted online. But RSS feeds are also extremely useful for end-users too, everyday people just like you and me, who want a fast and efficient way to keep up with interesting and relevant web content.

 

Why Are RSS Feeds Important?
RSS feeds are important for many reasons. The biggest advantage of using RSS feeds is the benefit of having the online news and information you want to come directly to you without you having to find it on your own.  With only a few clicks, you can organize as many feeds as you want in one of many free “feed readers.” Once you are subscribed to a page’s feed, all you have to do is check your reader for updates, much like you would check your email for new messages.

 

Why Should I Use RSS feeds?
Subscribing to RSS feeds will allow you to keep track of all kinds of online content.  Here are a few examples of the kind of content you may want to keep track of using RSS feeds:
• News headlines
• Sports scores
• Weather reports
• Special interest blogs (photography, cooking, boating, gardening, woodworking, etc)
• Political blogs
• Personal development blogs (leadership, investing, weight-loss, self-help, etc)
• Press releases from other businesses (even your competitors)
• Items for sale on sites like Craigslist.com
• Weekly coupons from local grocery stores
• And much, much more…

The options are limitless. If there is a topic you are interested in, you can find useful information about that topic online and keep track of the content using RSS feeds.

Now that you have an idea of the usefulness associated with RSS feeds, perhaps you are ready to start subscribing to some websites and blogs. On Thursday we will walk you though how to select and set up an RSS reader and begin following websites and blogs right away.

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