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Please can someone explain RSS feeds to me in idiot-proof terms

(10 Posts)
Bitzer Tue 11-Oct-11 13:27:46

I don't know why I don't get it but would really appreciate some help. I've just set up my own blog site. So far so good. I'm about to set up a simple email subscribe button, which I think I can manage. But all the other proper blogs I've looked at seem to have RSS buttons and I don't understand how they work largely because every time I've tried to subscribe to something by RSS feed it hasn't worked. And do I definitely need one? (I'm guessing I do if I'm serious about all this) Could someone point me in the right direction? Thanks v much

BadgersPaws Tue 11-Oct-11 15:07:54

RSS is just a very simple system of publishing headlines and updates in a simple format that web browsers or email systems can understand. So I bookmark the RSS address for a web site in my browser and I get little numbers appear in my tool bar showing me how many new stories I have from each of them to read.

Most blogging sites should be able to automatically generate an RSS feed for you, which one are you using?

Bitzer Wed 12-Oct-11 10:41:47

Thanks very much Badgers, I think I understand. So I've just signed up to the RSS feed for another blog and it gave me the option of directing it to my google homepage or something called newsgator, which I haven't got, but possibly that's because the site also allows you to subscribe by email so it doesn't need to offer an RSS email option?

I'm using WordPress.

Bitzer Wed 12-Oct-11 10:46:37

One more thing, Wordpress offers an RSS widget but when I dropped that in my side panel it asked me to 'enter the RSS feed URL here' - so should I be putting my own URL there? Or is the purpose of that widget to feed content from another site onto my own? Apologies for my ignorance, I really am completely new to all this. Thanks again

BadgersPaws Wed 12-Oct-11 11:03:02

"So I've just signed up to the RSS feed for another blog and it gave me the option of directing it to my google homepage or something called newsgator"

A RSS feed is really just a special type of web page and you need something to read it.

So your Google homepage could be set up to show it or you can get special apps, which is what I'm guessing newsgator is.

Some browsers can also work with them, Safari for example does and that's the one that shows me how many new stories there are for a web site in my bookmarks bar.

What browser do you use?

"Wordpress offers an RSS widget"

You should be able to use that to either display the RSS feed from your own blog or to display the feed from something else. So if you're a local blogger you might show the RSS feeds from other local blogs somewhere on your page. I don't think you'd want to show your own RSS feed there, but it's possible.

As a general rule your RSS feed is something that other people will consume and will use to be reminded to come to your web site to read the whole story.

I think that Wordpress just give you RSS out of the box with no further tweaking.

This page has some information about it:
codex.wordpress.org/WordPress_Feeds

So it sounds like you can just use:
http://MyWebSiteAddress/?feed=rss

There are also example on that page of how to show a link for that somewhere on your page.

Bitzer Wed 12-Oct-11 11:26:36

Thanks v much, Badgers.

I definitely don't want to show my own RSS feed on the site (presumably that would just be a duplication of 'recent posts'), and I don't yet see the need to show blogs from other local blogs on there.

All I want is to set up an RSS button (with one of those little orange icons) so that other people easily can get my RSS feed. And I'm afraid I still can't seem to see from reading the above how to achieve that. Putting my URL in the last link you gave me just offers me the option of subscribing to my own RSS feed.

footstep Wed 12-Oct-11 11:41:54

I've just had a look at my wordpress.com blog. There's a widget called RSS Links which will do what you're looking for.

To just show a button:
leave title blank
feeds to display = posts (unless you want to offer a feed for comments on the blog as well)
format = image link
image size = whichever works for you
image colour = orange (assuming you do want it orange!).

I don't know if this is available on all wordpress blogs, but I would guess so.

BadgersPaws Wed 12-Oct-11 12:32:13

Footstep might have the best answer...

But in general you just need to add a link to one side of your blog that points to http://MyWebSiteAddress/?feed=rss

So if there's a way of adding links to other blogs or sites of interest just use that, link to that URL and give it a name of "RSS Feed" or something.

Bitzer Wed 12-Oct-11 12:42:15

Just seen this. Will have a go now. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain, Badgers

Bitzer Wed 12-Oct-11 12:59:05

And thank you to Footstep as well

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