Sunday, July 22, 2007

RSS feeds make my blog reading experience so much easier

My friend John Cali has been urging his readers to subscribe to his RSS feeds for quite some time. I trust him, but dragged my feet. Finally, when I was looking at what I would want to have on my new web site, I read his RSS article here, and could see the benefits. Now I wonder how I got along without it. I love it! Thank you, John.

When I subscribed to newsletters via email I found I would often shuttle them off to a side folder to review later. Sometimes I read them and sometimes I would get behind and just delete them and start again with the current issue. I checked my favorite blogs for new posts irregularly. I was looking for a more efficient solution and this is it for me.

I wanted software that was easy to use and went with John's first recommendation, the free software, Feedreader. Here's what I like about it:

1. It's timely: When I'm online I receive newsletter articles or blog posts a short time after they are posted. No need to wait for newsletters or check the web site every day.

2. Easy to access and open: I have Feedreader minimized to my task bar for easy access at all times. It opens very fast and I can quickly check to see what I want to read.

3. Handy alerts: I have it set to give me a small popup which let's me know the site and title of a new post. I can open and read it or ignore it -- the popup goes away in a few seconds.

4. It's easy to subscribe to a post: I go to a web site, click on the Feedreader icon which opens to their site feed page, copy the URL, open Feedreader, press F3 and the URL automatically pastes in the subscribe window. I click OK and it's all done in four easy steps.

5. Unsubscribing is even easier: If I've read through some posts and find it's not for me I just right click on the site name in Feedreader and choose delete. Its gone.

6. Information is organized for me: Each site is listed in the left-hand column in alphabetical order. I click on a site and a list of the posts for the last few weeks appears in the middle column. If I want to view an article I click on it and it shows up in the right-hand column or I can open it in my browser. Unread articles are in bold, articles I've read are in normal text.

It's easy for me to keep a lot of information organized. No folders, no favorites or bookmarks unless I want them. If I scanned through a post I didn't think I needed it's easy to find and read again later.

I'm looking at a lot of new blogs and web sites now and appreciate how easy it is to keep up with posts or see if a site is one I want to stay with.

By the way, some sites don't have the orange icon or say RSS feeds. Blogger uses Atom feeds and I've found some sites that just say XHTML feed. The Feedreader site is the authority on the software, so check there if you are using it, but my experience is that it has accepted Atom and XHTML feeds with no problems.



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