RSS is Making a Comeback!

Avoid Page Ads by Using a Popular Feed Reader!

rss-glossy-blue-256x256Webpages have become ridiculously cluttered these days. To find anything useful today, a searcher must wade through all those advertisements, pop-up subscription banners and a myriad of health-skin-tummy-nails-teeth cures to get to the stuff they’re really looking for. It’s a growing problem. Fifty percent of the browsing market now rely upon personal devices to surf the ‘net with, space versus relevant content matters even more. Users want quality content and they don’t want clutter. What about using a popular RSS feed reader to access your favourite sites with instead?

What?

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Feedly Icon

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Flipboard and Feedly are the latest thing in capturing quality content. These two are now the most popular RSS feed readers around, servicing a growing need to grab the basic text (and relevant images) of a website’s web-pages but leave all the banners, ads and crazy formatting behind. It’s a really nice way of cleaning up the content by simplifying it. RSS seen on a tablet or phone is bliss!

It’s very interesting. RSS was on the way out. Just a few years ago, Google wrapped up its FEEDBURNER and RSS reader service thinking it’d all fizzle away. But there’s been a recent resurgence in apps that specialize in it, taking RSS to new heights!

RSS isn’t new. It’s been there right from the start. When the Internet was figuring out what it wanted to be when it grew up, RSS was there to wipe its nose and send it off to school. RSS was the constant when other elements of the web came and went.

What is RSS?

The official definition is: Rich Site Summary ; The layman’s version is: Really Simple Script (or Syndication.)

In general terms, it’s all about the text in a webpage, not its borders/columns, tables, banners or all those gimmicky ads. RSS is about the content’s text. Sites (most) store all their site’s webpages in another file on the site: The RSS page. It’s just text.

You can tap into that RSS text by putting its address into a feed-reader and have it collect the information and collate the data for you. The reader displays the feed (not the webpage) in a logical form. Not only is it a cleaner way to view the content but faster too as all the extraneous data seen in the original page it came from is bypassed. (If you’re on a pay-per-gigabyte plan, this is wonderful information)

News outlets update their web pages and feeds regularly. Often they have many feeds and break them up into separate topics like Sport : Classifieds : Latest : Celebrities : Finance : Movies and such. Some compile news feeds regionally so you get the feed that most relates to the area you live in.

How do I find a popular RSS feed for my new reader app?

Let’s use ‘NEWS’ as a feed example because they’re the easiest to locate and they update all the time. If you’re a first-time RSSer, adding a news feed first will give your reader something to show you right away. That way you know it’s working and how it works.

I live in Western Australia so, first I open a standard browser page and go to my favourite Australian news web site like the ABC. Then I look for the site’s RSS links or RSS Logo Popular RSS feed image. (The ABC is kind and provides a primary RSS link on it’s opening page. See example below)

ABC RSS feed

Tip: Government operated news agencies like ABC tend to display their RSS proudly and in prominent places. They label them methodically. Commercial outlets aren’t always so forthcoming. They have RSS but don’t display it. Just do a search in their search-bar and you’ll get it/them. (Note: Not all sites offer RSS.)

Following this link opens another page. As you can see, they’ve got it all nicely laid out – a popular RSS feed for TV guides, podcasts, sports, news, etc.

ABC RSS

Okay that’s the ABC example out of the way, but what about other sites?

My site, like any other WordPress site, has an RSS feed available simply by adding ‘/feed/’ to the end of its address. (http://www.mfp.com.au/angelwanderer/feed/) (If you click on it now, you’ll see the content in it’s unfiltered state.) In fact, many blogs are just that simple. By adding ‘/feed/ you’ll get to see any RSS file to: 1) Confirm it exists; 2) Enter it into your feed reader. Alternatively, look for that RSS icon –>Popular RSS feed image on your favourite sites and then click on it to establish its alternative address.

It’s not surprising that many people are now finding their own popular RSS feed/s and then sticking it/them into a reader app of their choice instead of waiting for a browser to load hundreds of things that are of no real importance. Now they get their news without all the mess!

Happy RSS’ing!

headshoulders2small-Michael Forman
Australian Author and Blogger

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One thought on “RSS is Making a Comeback!

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