There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about what “subscribing” to a website is all about, what the heck “RSS” means, and what the orange buttons do that I see on Engaged Marriage and other sites.
I am going to use this post to explain RSS subscribing in very easy terms. I hope this allows everyone to quickly understand the process and the great benefits of subscribing to this site (and others) via RSS or email.
Why Would I Subscribe to a Site?
Do you have some favorite sites (EM included, I hope) that you like to visit on a regular basis? The “old” way to keep up-to-date on the latest updates on your favorite blogs and news websites was to bookmark them and check in every day or so to see if anything new had been posted.
This is a waste of your valuable time! You are doing all of the work by going out to check sites, and you either miss stuff on sites that update often or see the same old stuff on sites that don’t post new content very frequently. If you find numerous great sites, you simply can’t keep track of them effectively.
We all lead busy lives. We continue to find great sites on the web that enrich our lives and we want to stay up-to-date on the information they offer. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just get all the new posts from all your favorite websites and blogs in one place to read at your convenience?
Well now you can, and it is called RSS feed.
What is RSS in Very Simple Terms?
“RSS” stands for Really Simple Syndication. All you need to know is this service is set up to automatically “sync” content from your favorite sites.
It’s like subscribing to a personalized magazine but instead of it coming in your physical mail box each month when the magazine is published it is delivered to your “RSS Reader” every time your favorite website updates.
I am not a technical web-savvy guy, but even I can use RSS. That’s the beauty of it. You just have to change your habits from bookmarking to instead subscribing to sites you enjoy. RSS takes care of the rest, and it is so much more convenient!
What is an RSS Reader?
An RSS reader is a place you go to read the feeds you have subscribed to. The most popular ones are Google Reader and Bloglines. I personally use Google Reader and I love it. Just click on the link and sign up. You’ll be able to access it from any computer just by using your Google log-in information. If you use Gmail, you already have your log-in information set up!
If you don’t want to set up an account at a feed reader, you can also have blog updates sent to your e-mail. This way the updates are sent right to your inbox each time your favorite site publishes something new. I know many Engaged Marriage readers prefer this option, and I think it’s great for those who only particularly enjoy a few sites and may otherwise forget to check your Google Reader. By subscribing via email, you receive the exact same updates you would via a reader.
How Do I Subscribe to a Site?
This is the really easy part! Most sites will have an RSS symbol (usually orange) near the top of the page, and all you have to do is click on it. You’ll be able to select your favorite reader (such as Google Reader), and just like that you are subscribed!
If you prefer email, just look for a link to Email Updates or an E mail symbol. You click it, enter your email address and you are good to go. Please note that some sites (like this one) require you to click a verification link in an initial email to confirm your email subscription – this helps to cut down on spammers.
Also, in more web-friendly browsers (like Mozilla Firefox or Safari), you’ll see the RSS button right in the address bar. Again, just click it and you are set!
On Engaged Marriage, there is an RSS button in the upper-right corner of the site. You can also subscribe by email by putting your best email address in the opt-in box in the top right corner. On a related note, I have also provided buttons in this area so you can follow me on Twitter or become a fan of the Engaged Marriage Facebook page.
Thanks, but I’m a Geek & Want to Know More!
I hope you have found this summary informative enough that you now see just how awesome RSS/email subscriptions really are. Please take a moment to subscribe to Engaged Marriage right now via RSS or email. It’s free, you can unsubscribe at any time, your address remains private, and you will not receive any spam!
If you are a techie or just overly intellectually curious, please check out these links for more information on RSS. Also, check out the cool video below for a quick visual lesson on how it all works.