Do you wish you could find an easier way to keep up to date with your favourite websites and blogs? Do you worry about your social media accounts or website/blog being hacked? There is an easy way to do this and it involves using a RSS feed reader.
Today we will cover:
- What is a RSS feed?
- What is a RSS feed reader?
- Some RSS feed readers to try
- Subscribing to your favourite websites and/or blogs.
- Monitoring your own website and/or blog for hacks.
- Monitoring your social network accounts for hacks.
- Monitoring mentions on social networking sites.
A RSS feed is a file on a website or blog which contains the list of updates made to the site. The file is in XML plain text format. The feed can contian either an introduction to the article/post/update or the full news item. With either version there is a link that you, the reader, can click to read the full article/update on their website or blog.
A RSS feed reader is a piece of software you use to read RSS feeds. It can be on the web, installed on your desktop or available via your mobile device.
Once you have a RSS feed reader you “subscribe” to the websites or blogs you wish to keep an eye on for updates without having to actually visit all the sites everyday. This is a big time saver if you wish to follow a whole bunch of sites.
The RSS feed reader software checks all the RSS feeds you have subscribed to each time you use it.
You can read the update in your RSS feed reader or click the link provided to read on the actual site.
There are lots of RSS feed readers available. Here are a few you might already have heard of:
- FeedDemon – desktop software which we use at the moment.
Update: The developer of FeedDemon will not be continuing development of this product once the Google Reader closes July/13 but he did say:
If you’re using FeedDemon without Google Reader synchronization, it will continue to work beyond July 1. You can keep using it to read your feeds for years to come.
- Google Reader – You need a Google Account to use this online RSS feed reader. – Update March 2013 Google Reader will be closed down July 1/13.
- Internet Explorer – built-in RSS feed reader in the Internet Explorer browser. IE7 and 8 IE9 IE10
- Firefox – You need to get an add-on to read RSS feeds in Firefox.
- Opera – if you are an Opera user you can read RSS feeds in Opera Mail.
Check this list at Wikipedia for other RSS feed readers complete with information on each one’s features and operating systems they run on.
Subscribing to a RSS feed is generally pretty easy. The site will have a RSS feed icon like ours over on the left in our navigation column or they may have just a link to the RSS feed.
Make sure you sign up for the right one. Some sites have more than one RSS feed like ours has a feed for all posts and another just for comments.
With your chosen RSS feed reader open and while on the site you wish to subscribe to use the software’s subscribe function.
Now that you know how to subscribe to a RSS feed, add your own website or blog to your subscriptions. This is an easy way to monitor if you site gets hacked.
- If they post something you will see the new post in your RSS feed reader.
- If your feed cannot be reached by the RSS feed reader then you know to go and check why.
Monitoring you own social networking accounts is helpful 2 ways:
- You keep track of what you posted to your various social accounts. If you forget where you posted something you want to reread or share somewhere else you just look at the RSS feeds to see which account you posted it to.
- You will see if someone broke into your social networking account and posted something as you. If you catch it quick enough you can delete the post and change the password for the account. As least you know it was hacked and notify the service provider if the hacker was quicker than you and changed the password.
We monitor our mentions on Twitter in our RSS feed reader. Twitter doesn’t always show you all your mentions in your chosen social networking software or send you an email we found so we monitor the RSS feed associated with our Twitter account to catch the ones not shown so we can say thanks for the mention.
See if you can monitor your mentions on other social networking sites. It is a great way to build your brand if you acknowledge the mention with a thanks.
A RSS Feed Reader Has Many Uses
Above we have shown you a few of the many uses a RSS feed reader can be used for.
What do you use your RSS feed reader for if you are using one? Share with our readers in the comments section below.