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Posted: 2006-05-22 / Author: Reba Collins

Rss, Xml And Feed Readers? Huh? Help!

RSS, XML And Feed Readers

Have you seen them yet? The little orange graphics that say XML or RSS? Have you ever wondered what the heck they are? Yeah, me to. And, being as curious as a cat, I had to find out!

It wasn't hard to get most of the info I needed. All I did was search for RSS at Google and a ton of resources came up. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Hmmm...really simple? Yeah, it really is pretty simple and it makes keeping up with news, sports, entertainment and business, well...really simple.

Basically, what happens is, say you read the Wall Street Journal, CNN and ESPN everyday. You also read a couple of business newsletters weekly or when they get delivered to your email inbox and you read your niece's blog (short for weblog [web-log]) that gets updated 'whenever'. Okay, so you go to each of the websites each day and do your thing, right? Well, if those sites offer an RSS Feed (which they do - look for the little orange RSS or XML graphic) then you can have their content or articles sent directly to your computer. No more going through multiple websites, it's all delivered to you in an RSS Reader right on your computer. And oh, there are also web based readers as well, you just choose the one you prefer.

Now, what's so great about that? Well, let's take a one of my websites,, as an example. Let's say you set up all your news sites, newsletters and blogs so you can read them in your RSS Reader and then you find out that Gift Basket Wholesale Supply has a blog that's updated whenever new items are posted to the site. AND...that blog has an RSS Feed...voila!, you add Gift Basket Wholesale Supply's RSS Feed to your RSS Reader and you don't have to worry about checking the site for new merchandise ever again. Now, you're notified AUTOMATICALLY by way of a posting to their blog that is delivered to your RSS Reader. Isn't that wonderful? How many of your suppliers offer this service? Well, if I were you, I'd find out because your life could get a whole lot easier! And what's so great about an RSS Feed is you don't have to deal with any spam, you only get the content you ASK for! Cool, huh?

Okay, so now what are you supposed to do? You want to start reading your news and business reports in an RSS reader but you don't know what to do or how to get started. Well, I did the research...I found THE BEST resource for you to use to get started. It's CNET, a wonderful techie site that takes techie info and breaks it down for the rest of us. There's a page that explains RSS, and there's a great video as well. You'll also find links and reviews to all the different readers (be careful, some are free, some are not). You've gotta go there and check it out, here are direct links to both the pages mentioned.

How To Read RSS Feeds:

RSS: Feel The Need For Feeds? Video (you'll have to wait a second while the video downloads):

And lastly, I want to tell you what I use to read my RSS Feeds.

First, the desktop RSS Reader I use is called FeedReader. It's very similar to an email program and even makes the same tah-dah sound that Outlook Express makes for a new email when a feed is updated. The best thing's free, all you have to do is download and install it. Here's the link:

Second, I also like to use MyYahoo. To use MyYahoo, you just have to sign up for an account at, it's free. Most people already have one anyway. If you use Yahoo Mail or participate in Yahoo Groups, you already have an account. Just go to, be sure you're signed in and click the MyYahoo button at the very top of the page.

MyYahoo will let you customize your page and pulls only the information you want to read. To add an RSS Feed, click on the Add Content link, when you get to the next page click on the 'Add RSS by URL' link that's right next to the 'Find' button. On the resulting page you can enter the RSS Feed URL. (Don't worry, the video mentioned above will tell you how to get the feed URL, remember, there's a link above to CNET's video). It's that simple!

Lastly, there is one other RSS Reader that I've heard great things about, it's called FeedDemon. CNet has it as one of it's top rated readers and I've talked with a few friends that say they couldn't live without it. I guess, it's worth looking at, huh? Here's the link:

So, I hope now you're as curious as I was about RSS! Believe me, it's the way you'll be handling all the internet content you read on a regular basis, so go get started now and get a jump on your friends!

About The Author: Reba Collins has been making a living online for the last 7 years. Visit her site at

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