RSS Help Page

6:17:00 PM |

This post is to help new readers better understand RSS or Really Simple Syndication. This is a feature we've been using on our site, as we believe RSS makes it easier for people to access content without having to visit the site on a regular basis. Using a RSS reader, you can easily monitor news from dozens of websites, not just ours. You've probably seen sites on the web that display buttons similar to these:
ImageImageImage.

There is an effort by some organizations to standardize the RSS feed icon. The Mozilla Foundation has allowed various groups to use their icon and many groups, including Microsoft, are promoting it. This new icon looks like the one below.
Standard RSS button
If you're like many people, you clicked a similar button while at a favorite site and wondered what you did wrong. Although the page is readable, it isn't easily understood unless you know XML. What you were looking at was a RSS feed. As example, our original RSS feed contained items such as the following.
Image
As you might guess, this information is designed for other programs and web applications, not people. These programs parse the data and present it in a more useful format. Below, you see how our RSS feed displays on My Yahoo!
Click to enlarge
As a Yahoo! user, you would only have to visit your MY Yahoo! page to see which stories were new and if they appealed to you. If you liked a story, you could click the title and be taken to the full article on our website. This is an example where RSS feeds are displayed within a browser. A similar functionality can be enjoyed using a dedicated RSS reader.
Most RSS readers and services such as MY Yahoo! or News Is Free allow you to customize the information. For example, My Yahoo! provides several different options such as how many days to display and whether a summary shows. Typically, dedicated RSS readers provide more functionality such as saving items or forwarding them to others via email.
On our site, we provide options under the Update Notifications menu item on the top menu. As you can see, webmasters can offer RSS in many ways, not just the orange buttons.
If you're a regular reader, you know this is an area we play around with and test out new services. Sometimes we add and sometimes we drop. 
Our suggestion is to play around with different services and programs. We've created online demos to help you better understand RSS. Also, please note there are many other readers that can be found at popular download sites such as Snapfiles or Download.com
My RSS feed URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZoHornbill