I get a lot of questions about how to use RSS to track and read blogs and so I thought it would be a good subject of a post. I touched on this a bit in an earlier post.
Want to make it easy to keep up with multiple blogs? (I currently track over a hundred blogs) Use the blog's RSS Feed.
Every blog is published in two formats. One is the familiar HTML that you see here in your web browser. The second format, called RSS, strips out all the graphics, styling, and formatting and delivers pure text. The interesting part is that MSIE 7 (Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7) knows about RSS, and it will tell you if there are any new posts on blog since the last time you visited and how many.
It gets better. MSIE 7 (as well as most other RSS Feed Readers) can aggregate the feeds from multiple blogs onto a single page. The beauty of this is that at a glance you can see if there are any new posts on any blog you read, and you can also see the first few sentences of each new post. The result is that you can quickly keep up with what's going on.
Here's how to use RSS in MSIE 7:
- Look on MSIE's toolbar over on the right and locate the small orange square icon shown here. Click on it.
- My blog's RSS feed will be displayed. Near the top of the page there is a yellow box with the blog's name and the words 'You are viewing a feed that contains frequently updated content...'.
- Just below that paragraph is Subscribe to this feed link. Click on it. A pop-up dialog box will apppear. Leave the 'Name' and 'Create In' fields as is and click on Subscribe. There. That's all there is to it.
To check and read a Feed:
- Locate the Favorites Center icon (the gold star) on the toolbar. Click on it.
- Click on the Feeds tab near the top of the Favorites list.
- Mouse over an entry and the tool tip will show you how many posts have been added to that blog since the last time you looked.
- Click on it and the new blog posts will be displayed.
Want to have new blog posts delivered to your inbox instead?
Many blogs like mine now take advantage of Feedburner's ability to reliver feeds via email. Look for the 'Subscribe via Email' box in the blog's sidebar and enter your email address into the field.