I like to read content from a variety of websites. Some of these websites update regularly. Others are very infrequent. Remembering to check each one is a pain, and it takes precious time. Does that sound familiar?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of those updates delivered to one place? And what if, in that one place, it would summarize all of the updates, with a link to the website if you wanted to read more?
The awesome news is… there is a way! Plus, it’s free and easy!
This type of tool is known as an “RSS feed.” This is the common icon for RSS:
RSS stands for either Really Simple Syndication (my favorite) or for Rich Site Summary. (Apparently, it was originally RDF Site Summary). *shrug*
What it means to you is that you can have a single web page that collects updates from all of your favorite sites and puts them together for you. Not only that, an RSS feed can often categorize the content and group it so you can review similar material together. Pretty cool, huh?
There are a lot of options for RSS readers. The one I use is Feedly.
How To Use Feedly
To create an account with Feedly, you’ll need to login with information from an existing account. I used my Google account for this. (If you don’t have a Google account, I highly recommend getting one, even if you use a different type of email.)
Once you log in, you’ll see a menu bar down the left side of your screen. If you don’t see the bar, cursor over the icon of three horizontal bars in the top left. That will make the menu bar pop out. I keep mine pinned open for convenience.
Near the top of that menu bar, click “Add Content.” A new screen will have a window at the top, titled “Pick a blog or topic you are interested in:” Simply paste in the web address (URL) of whatever website you want to track. (Say, for example, http://lynnsense.com/.) Either click the option that appears below that window (if it’s the website you’re looking for. You may find that lots of other people are tracking it, too) or just hit Enter on your keyboard.
Viola! It should now be added to your RSS feed and appear as an item on the left menu bar. Whenever there is an update to the web page, a number will appear to the right of that item, indicating how many updates to that site since the last time you checked it.
Just click on that item, and a list of all of the changes will appear in the main window. Click on each one individually. Some websites will display a whole article, including pictures, others will present just a couple lines of summary, and you can click on the “View Website” button at the bottom of the summary to go to the website.
Super simple. Super handy.
Let me know how it works for you!
Do you have another tool that you like to use? Please mention it in the comments section.
P.S. – In addition to the Feedly site, you can learn more from Wikipedia – Feedly.