Having discussed Del.icio.us and Blogrolling in a couple of previous posts, it makes sense to talk about RSS Feeds and Feeding too.

I’m not an internet expert. I’m way late to this party for there ever to be consideration in that regard. I just know how to tinker and figure things out. As a kid I could take things apart, but quickly lost interest in the putting back together. Bikes, stereos, lawn mowers, a Jeep…I took ’em apart. With age and maturity came the ability to focus long enough to get things back together. Woohoo…

Along the right side of my site, you will see an XML button, a +MyYahoo button, an Orange Square button, and a +MyGoogle button. Those are the entry into the world of RSS Feeds. Chances are, when you set up your blog you didn’t know what the XML dealy-bop in the settings meant and you prolly didn’t adjust the settings. I know I sure didn’t. Only later did I start noticing that a lot of the sites I thought were tricked out and fancy included these unknown buttons along the side. So, I started tinkering.

Essentialy, RSS Feeds let you know that a site has been updated, without having to actually go to the site. A Feed Reader (more on that in a sec) is used to collect all the feeds. The Feed Reader displays the post titles and usually a short amount of the post text for all of the Feeds collected. If you, when viewing the Reader, then see a post title that interests you, you simply click and go to the site to read the entire post/article.

Utilizing Feeds does mean that people aren’t going to automatically visit your site everytime. It means they will only visit when you have updated. And, for people that visit multiple sites daily this is now how they would prefer to interact with your site. The days of having 30 – 50 bookmarks in the favorites are long gone. A lot of people are now using sites like Del.Icio.us and Wink and Furl and Digg to find and manage new sites. The sheer number of sites out there means that you as the site author need to make it easier for your consumers to keep coming back.

So, first make sure your XML feed is turned on and working. In your settings you will have something that looks like this – http://jamoker.blogspot.com/atom.xml (note the .xml at the end) There are a couple of xml formats. Don’t worry about that. Just have yours turned on. (And, keep your specific .xml link handy for this next step.) Then, start going to the various Feed Services and getting the code. MyYahoo has the most users, so make sure you get that one. FeedBurner, Bloglines and Feedster (something is up with Feedster, you may not be able to get that one working) are popular too. And, don’t forget Google (which I think I got at FeedBurner too). They will surely continue to expand their presence. Once you have the ‘code’ and ‘buttons’ for each service added to your site, you can sit back and know (hope) that people are getting your Feeds.

If you get to the point where you have reached critical mass with your blog/site reading and want to start using a Reader or Aggregator, I’d recommend using one of the same above services. Either MyYahoo or GoogleReader are prolly the ones you want to use. There are others, but I’m assuming they will get swallowed at some point. With both, you can merely add sites/content by inputting the site feed URL (the .xml code). Once you have your Feed Reader/Aggregator up and running you can usully just click the “add my Feed” button on the sites you are frequenting and the process happens automatically.

As per my usual, here is a link and a link and a link and a link and a link and a link that surely explains all this stuff better. Post questions here or send me an email at ‘jamoker AT gmail DOT net’ if you want more personal help.

Enjoy…and, don’t forget to Feed Me…

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