RSS Feeds are a powerful time-saving function that most modern websites have today. This article is a quick look at how you can use them to streamline your reading.
If you’re already using RSS feeds, then feel free to skip this article – it’s pretty basic, yet we had to write it as some people still don’t know what RSS feeds are!
Simply put, most blogs or websites that publish content on a regular basis also generate a “feed” (like your Facebook feed) of all these pieces of content, and pushes it out through various protocols. Using an app called an RSS reader, we can subscribe to these feeds and thus read that content without having to open up the actual website in our browser ever single time.
There are two pieces of technology that make this work:
- The site/RSS feed.
- RSS reader applications.
Setting Up RSS Feeds
The first thing that you want to do is to get your tools in order. With the closure of Google Reader, the solution we’ve found and have been using is Feedly.
1. You can sign up for a Feedly Account here (sign in with your Gmail account). Feedly is a web-based RSS reader and service. It looks like this:
2. You can then install Feedly’s standalone applications to your tablet and phone as well (Feedly is a Chrome/web app on the desktop).
3. You then want to select some feeds to add. Here are some to start with (clicking on this will launch Feedly if you are logged in):
4. You can now add these feeds to your Feedly account via the Feedly clipper:
Feedly automatically keeps track of read/unread articles across all your devices for you.
Now that you’re set up with RSS feeds, here are some best practices to prevent them from spiralling out of control.
Group your feeds together into logical categories.
This just makes sense and can be done by topic of interest – e.g., productivity, offshoring, business psychology etc.
Subscribe to sections on big sites
Certain websites publish dozens of articles a day and are more like newspapers or magazines, not blogs – e.g., Lifehacker.com.
What you want to do for these sites is to locate the RSS feed for the section that you are interested in, not for the entire site. Otherwise, you’ll end up with hundreds of articles in your RSS reader very quickly and get overwhelmed.
Use a Reading Service too
Using a reading service like Instapaper alongside RSS feeds is a powerful way to streamline your reading and add archiving capabilities for capturing important articles.
- Open a Feedly account.
- Install the apps.
- Select and add in feeds.
- Start reading!
Discover the 1 Lifehack of Highly Successful People
This one lifehack led to the biggest breakthrough of my career. People like Steve Jobs and Oprah have used it to catapult their success, and now you can too.