Don’t know what RSS is? Wishing that you hade one place online that you could keep an eye on all your favorite blogs? Then a RSS reader is your best buddy!

I just realized the other day that not all bloggers know what a RSS reader is, despite the fact that it’s really simple to use. You don’t even need to know what RSS is, just to use the reader.

No learning of code. Nothing. It’s as simple as reading the newspaper, only more fun since it’s your blog friends that’s writing the news!

For me, it’s also an excellent way of staying up to date what you’re are all up to, while I’m out traveling.

RSS explained short version

Thanks to Blog on travel for leading me to commoncraft that made this video.

So do you wanna be an “Easy Reader”?

1. Sign up/Log in to www.google.com/reader/.
2. Click on Lifecruiser’s RSS Feed subscribe button:

Lifecruisers RSS feed button

3. Click to add the blogs feed to Google Reader
4. Begin your new easy reader life!

That’s all you have to do. And you lived happily ever after. You’ll be grateful for this time saver!

RSS explained long version

If you’re like me, you wanna know more about it, then you can read the whole post :-)

More information about RSS in this post:

  • What is RSS?
  • What use do you have of RSS Feeds?
  • How to get a free RSS Reader
  • How to subscribe to RSS Feeds
  • How to subscribe to a blog step by step
  • Check your own blogs RSS Feed
  • Problems with the RSS Feed

What is RSS?

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a kind of XML format (a set of tags similar to HTML) created to share headlines and all kind of blog content. It’s like a kind of news announcement for your blog. It’s also called feed or channels.

Your Blogger-blog’s RSS default feed is located by the link: http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Atom is a format similar to RSS, located by the link: http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/atom.xml

You also can see what your RSS address should be according to your used template, by looking in the template code. Locate these lines at the top somewhere:

For a WordPress blog it’s very similar, example:

If you have redirected your Blogger feed to FeedBurner (now acquired by Google) it might look like this too:

(If it’s a WordPress blog, just cut out the word blogspot from above)

What use do you have of RSS Feeds?

RSS feeds is a way for you to subscribe to and get a quick list of the latest story headlines from all your favorite blogs in one place.

It’s a must when you know a lot of bloggers you want to keep track of. Making it much easier for you to scan through a lot of blogs fast when you’re behind in your blogging schedule!

There is also other ways of using your feed, for marketing of your blog/site or even to advertise within, but I’m not covering that in this post – it would be too long.

How to get a free RSS Reader

You need a RSS reader first, even called news reader or RSS aggregator, to read the blogs RSS feed in a comfortable way.

I use Google’s free reader to read peoples RSS feed, mostly because I can reach it easily with my Gmail/Google-account. Direct link to Google Reader: www.google.com/reader/.

There are many others RSS Readers out there and if you want to read RSS in my.yahoo.com they have it too.

How to subscribe to RSS Feeds

To subscribe to a website or blog’s RSS, all you have to do is click on an RSS symbol somewhere, either at their blog or in your browser and choose how you want to subscribe to the feed.

Firefox also gives you an alternative way to subscribe to RSS feeds through the browser, called Live Bookmarks, however this procedure is only a good choice if you only want to reach them from your own computer and no where else.

So: choose the online RSS Reader application you like to use instead, for example Google or Yahoo.

I tested how Internet Explorer is handling this, since I use Firefox normally (+Windows Vista). When clicking on the RSS symbols in Internet Explorer 7, an option were given to save it to the Favorite Center in a Feed folder of my choice.

I suppose this means that you only can reach it on your own computer, which is a pity. This way though you’ll be able to use the RSS Desktop Gadget for Vista showing feeds right on your desktop.

I’ve tried to use that one, but didn’t really get used to look at it, so for me it didn’t work well. I wish that they had kept the other opportunity available too, to subscribe via another RSS Reader application.

How to subscribe to a blog step by step

Example to subscribe via a RSS Reader to Lifecruiser feed (in Firefox 2.x):

1. Log into already registrered Google account, if you aren’t logged in already.

2. Click on the this button:

Lifecruisers RSS feed button

(Or the same orange button in my sidebar saying something like: xx readers by Feedburner, right under the Follow The Ship subject line).

3. Choose your application (RSS Reader) you like to use, like Google.

4. Start your new blog reader life made simple :-)

TIP: Go to Manage subscriptions -> Add to a Folder -> New folder, to organize them, because you’ll fill it up quickly!

Another blog might have another RSS button (often an orange button) in it’s sidebar or top/bottom of the blog or just some text link saying something about RSS which you can click on to get a similar result.

Be aware of though that your RSS Reader is very quickly filling up with blogs, so try to organize them in categories already from the beginning, if you decide to read them this way instead of at their blogs :-)

Check your own blogs RSS Feed

Make it a regular habit to check out that your feed is working. Either subscribe to your own blog through your RSS Reader or by following the direct link to your feed. (See in the top of this post how the RSS feed links look like).

Problems with the RSS Feed

If you’re having some kind of problem with your feed in your Blogger-blog:

1) Check the template code that it says the right feed address (the blogger default RSS if that’s what you use)

2) Go to Settings -> Site Feed tab -> Post Feed Redirection URL field

3) See if any other redirection URL of your blog is written in that field. (You shouldn’t have anything written there if you’re not redirecting your normal Blogger feed).

4) Is it the right one you want there?

Example, one of my Blogger friends had her default feed URL in that field without knowing it, which made the RSS feed to break. Blogger obviously couldn’t handle a redirection of the default feed to the default feed URL. Kind of doubled up.

The RSS feed worked again when she deleted that text in the redirection field.

Another dear blogging friend of mine had the wrong RSS Feed URL in the Blogger template code, so it’s worth checking.

That goes if you’re having a WordPress blog too. Also check if you have some plugin installed that may cause the problem and don’t forget to scan WordPress.org for some answer.

So have you subscribed to my feed yet? I’m sure that I have to yours, since my Reader is full….

Captain Reader Lifecruiser

19 Comments on “Read blogs in one place by RSS”

    Sword Girl said:

    Yep, I’ve subscribed to your feed though the Google reader. It is soo convenient seeing everything from the Google homepage.

    Sword Girl’s last blog post..Any suggestions for a new camera?

    Larro said:

    Here is the entire “Atheist Blogroll” rss from my shared tag:

    Atheist Blogroll via Larro

    I’m also trying to maintain a toolkit of sorts for the Atheist Blogroll. Including a Google Custom Search Engine.

    Atheist Blogroll Toolkit

    Great post. Google Reader is an excellent way to keep abreast of blog posts you just don’t have time to click on and load the page…then move on to the next one. It’s all there for your perusal.

    Larro’s last blog post..I voted

    Sanni said:

    Of course I suck your feed :mrgreen: in my google reader – it´s easy and it´s fun. What I like most is that I can see when you´re up with something new. I´ve added a feedreader-alert to firefox and this tiny add-on tells me “Captain has posted”. All I have to do is be online :wink:

    Sanni’s last blog post..About Coffee, Candles and the Cookie monster

    Mar said:

    My google reader told me you had a new post so I had to drop by :wink: Can’t live without it but I truly don’t know much about RSS (in fact I would have loved to name my feed like me but didn’t know how so I left it like it is /mKvd or something strange like that),so pls excuse me, now I have to throughly read your post. Thanks, Captain!!

    Mar’s last blog post..off I go

    Andrew said:

    Thats really useful. Going to save me a lot of time. My favourite toolbar is filled with a list of about 70 blogs all out of order and mixed with normal websites that have been favourited. A nice read, and im enjoying my time here on this blog, im a new subscriber.

    Regards Andrew

    A. said:

    I found out about feeds a while ago, but I’ve been over-enthusiatic and if I turn my back for a minute there are hundreds of new entries!!! I’m going to have to be more selective I think….

    A.’s last blog post..Le Bois Plage

    TorAa said:

    I’m soon back – posting without my regulat glasses. Left at office. I tag you and wanted a tag for all A-members…

    PS. Can hardly read without beeing 11 cm away from the screen – then I am not able to type

    PS. Watched Packad og klart fra Fårö i ettermiddag. Vill tilbake;))

    TorAa’s last blog post..STOP THE PRESS – UPDATE

    Eric "Speedcat Hollydale" said:

    Thanks! this was the best (and easiest) info on RSS ever. I still have never used this, but now I think I’ll give it a go.

    Gattina said:

    Ah, you did it ! I have to come back for this Google Reader I was not feeling well with my bronchitis today it’s a little better.
    If you want to read about the 50th anniversary of the Smurfs, I have 13 things about them on my blog today; They are B e l g i a n and NOT French !! (I insist, lol!)

    ghee said:

    very detailed info,Captain!
    yes,i do agree that some people do not know how to use the RSS and the advantages of it :) Youre enlightening lots of people in the blogsophere!

    and i subscribed to lots of your rss readers ;)

    TGIF!!Lets enjoy it!!


    ghee’s last blog post..Jon Bon Jovi At Tokyo Dome!!

    Mark said:

    Very good post Captn’ I use mine all of the time and find it really useful, just like it says on the tin.

    Cheers Mark

    Mark’s last blog post..Wednesday Wanderings

    TorAa said:

    Thank you for the information. I tryed my best, but my crossed eyes were not able to read where to confirm my profile. OMG. What’s happening? Am I still too excited after the European Championship in Handball? Norway- Denmark. It ended 27-26, after a Norway lead 27-21 5 minutes before the end, and the Norwegian keeper saved a Danish shot 2 seconds before The End.

    btw. we will be away during the weekend. Visting friends in Fredrikstad. If the Weather is OK, then I’ll take pictures and make a blog about “Gamlebyen” – as far as I know the only fortified city in Scandinavia (Visby is another story, as it was build to protect – and not as a Military Bastion).

    Tor y Anna

    TorAa’s last blog post..Planning a far away Vacation – Silver Wedding to Argentina from Norway

    Dianne said:

    Wow! Thanks for all that information presented in a simple, clear manner.

    You should consider regular “Learning Cruises” – you’re a great teacher.

    Dianne’s last blog post..Creating Moments with Everyday Kindness

    Gattina said:

    I tried my best but remain baffled !
    I logged into my google account and read “Welcome to Google Reader”. Then I see a guy who wants to take me on a tour or start to add my subscriptions. But what subscriptions ?? There are News, Sports, Fun etc I am lost ! and when I click on your button I get a page titled “Lifecruiser” with all your previous post.
    So I will stay where I am until a miracle happens !

    Lifecruiser said:

    I’ll come back you about all this about Google Reader Gattina, promise, just give me some time to prepare instructions step by step with images :-)

    A. said:

    One question after re-reading your great post – is there an advantage in using FeedBurner rather than just letting people use the default feed?

    A.’s last blog post..Winter colour

    alex said:

    to last poster:
    The first advantage is – a good statistics.
    The second one – an automatic email sending. There are a lot of people who don’t use RSS yet but use e-mail subscribing.

    Virt said:

    I can’t thank you enough!!! What you wrote save me!!

    “The RSS feed worked again when she deleted that text in the redirection field.” My feed was not working and didn’t get any solution until now. I’ve been looking everywhere on the net for answers. You gave me that! I’m a “blog idiot”, so even though I’m still trying to understand why, IT WORKS! You gave the simplest spot on write-up on RSS FEED that I’ve read so far (it’s been 5 hours). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    Rob said:

    Hi all, i am using blogaverse.com for reading my favorite blogs in one place. Just add as many RSS feeds as you want and system automatically shows latest feeds from your blogs everytime

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