This post is part of a series about how to use RSS feeds to simplify you web surfing. The other parts are located here:
Today we’re going to learn what RSS feeds are and how to use them. I’m a real estate investor, and this is a real estate investing blog, so we’re going to learn by setting up a RSS reader (Google Reader) and adding feeds related to, you guessed it, Alberta real estate investing.
Most people use RSS feeds to keep track of sites that change often: the news, blogs, sports teams. You can use an RSS reader instead of having 20 bookmarks to check up on. It’s also handy for sites that are updated regularly, so you catch it when there is an update, but you don’t have to check it every day.
What is RSS?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a way to get the bare-bones of an update to a website. Think of it like getting your news from the Edmonton Journal in a stream that is only the text and pictures. It’s none of the formatting or the layout, and far fewer of the ads. Just the facts as they come out of the paper, when they get published.
It’s going to be much easier to understand what RSS feeds are by actually looking at some, so here we go!
How do I use RSS?
First, go to http://reader.google.com. Also, while you’re playing around on Google it’s a great idea to get Gmail setup also, but that’s another post. Anyways, now you should be at a page that has something like this (and if you click on the picture you can see a full size screen shot):
Ok, now you can start getting things setup. Enter your current regular email address and a password. Again, if you don’t have a personal, easy to use, and at least semi-professional address, go set up Gmail. You can also check your other email accounts from within Gmail, so it’s well worth it anyways. I check my @chrisdavies.ca accounts this way.
Anyways, enough about email. You’ve entered your current email address, your password, the “make sure you’re a real person” word, and accepted the terms of service.
Now they’ll send you an email with a confirmation link. Go check your email and click on the link in the email. Now you should see this smiling face!
That link should take you to this page! Take a minute or two and watch this video from another Chris about Google Reader, and then click over to Part II: how to use RSS feeds for pleasure and profit in real estate.