I want to subscribe to Laura’s Notebook RSS feed
Erm, okay… so what is all this Subscribe and ‘RSS’ stuff about then?
Many sites now provide feeds of their content which you can subscribe to, such as this site. This simple technology allows you to use software called a ‘feed reader’ or ‘aggregator’ to read content from sites instead of visiting the site itself. Don’t be put off by the acronyms like XML or RSS – this is genuinely easy to do.
Why would I want to use feeds?
If you like to keep up to date with a number of websites, you can now do so more easily with a feed reader. You no longer have to go from site to site checking for new content. This technology allows you to keep up to date with the content from a large number of sites. Using a feed reader you can subscribe to a sites feed.
You can now read the sites content in your feed reader and the site’s feed will automatically update. The feed reader will usually have a way to visually let you know when there is fresh content from a site you are subscribed to, so you can see at a glance which feeds you need to catch up on. All the latest news from Laura’s Notebook will be added to the feed automatically.
How to do it
First, you’ll need a feed reader, or ‘aggregator’. You can install a feed reader on your computer so that you have access to it on your desktop, or if you prefer you can use an online feed reader. If you are not comfortable installing software on your computer then an online feed reader might suit you best. There are many feed readers available. Netvibes and Google Reader for example, are popular online choices for many people and are very easy to use. Sign up with them and when you log in you will see a subscribe button prominently placed on the screen. You will then be brought to a screen where you can enter the url (web address) of a site or feed. If you enter a website address, the feed reader will attempt to discover where that site’s feed is and subscribe you to it. If the feed reader cannot find the feed you will have to enter the feed manually.
Some sites offer feeds/updates by email too, and also many browsers have RSS features built in too.
How do I know where a site’s feed is?
A lot of sites include a text link or button which leads to their feed (e.g. Subscribe, Feeds; or display an orange button). In addition, browsers such as Firefox for example, will display the orange button icon in the website address bar next to the website address if there is an RSS feed for the site.