New to web site feeds?
For those new to web site feeds, here’s a description of what they are and some examples for how to get set up. Web site feeds let you, in one place, be notified of updates from multiple different web sites that you select. There are two ways to receive these updates: (1) via a “feed reader” or (2) via automatic additions to the “bookmarks” or “favorites” in your browser. Feed readers are more popular because they are easier to manage and act much like a personal newspaper. In the reader, you get a quick summary of what’s new, then you click to go to the full article on the web site.
Three major types of readers
Readers come in many varieties, but there are basically three different categories of readers:
- Standalone. Some readers work as their own separate web pages (e.g., Google Reader, Bloglines)
- Home page. Some are built into a home page environment (e.g., My Yahoo, also Google Reader if you use iGoogle)
- Desktop. Some are separate programs that you install onto your computer (e.g., FeedDemon)
There are many more reader options out there than the few examples listed above, but these are some decent options that are commonly used. If you’re really interested in knowing what all readers are out there, Wikipedia has a big list.
Examples for how to get set up
Below are examples for getting set up in two types of readers: a Home page reader and a Standalone reader. In the screenshots below, look for one or more red boxes pointing out what you should look for. Note: These examples were current as of July 2009 — things may have changed since then, but this will give you the general idea. The examples include:
- Setting up feeds on a My Yahoo home page
- Setting up feeds with Google Reader
- Setting up feeds directly from a page
Here’s an example for setting up feeds through My Yahoo (which may also be through a partner, like AT&T’s version of My Yahoo). This process will add a new “portlet” on to your My Yahoo home page. Then, you’ll have some options as to how the content is displayed. Be sure that you are signed in to My Yahoo when you do this, or your changes will be lost when you close the browser window. If you don’t have a My Yahoo account, you can go here to set one up. Be aware that you may already have an account if your Internet service partners with Yahoo (as AT&T does).
- Click the “Add Content” button on your My Yahoo home page:
NOTE: If you go through a Yahoo partner, your home page will have a different header, like this one for AT&T:
- Click the “Add RSS Feed” button in the Add Content section:
- Copy and paste a feed address, then click “Add”. Note that, in this example, the address scrolls off the left side of the box, but all of it is still there. A list of feed addresses is here:
- Success! (hopefully). The feed now shows up on your home page. If you click on a movie title, it will take you directly to that film talk on . If you have not yet signed in to My Yahoo, do so now or you will lose your changes (it is best to sign in before doing any of this):
- Move your mouse over the title and the first lines from the film talk will pop up:
- Click “Options”, then “Settings” to change how Yahoo displays the feed:
- For example, Select “headline and short summary”, then click “Save”:
- Success again! (hopefully). Now Yahoo displays both the title and the first few lines of the film talk:
Google Reader is a “standalone” feed reader — that’s all it does. However, you can view your Google Reader feeds via iGoogle, which is much like My Yahoo. This example shows setting it up in standalone mode.
- Go to the Google Reader home page. Either login to your Google account or create a new account:
- Click “Add a subscription”, paste a feed address, then click “Add”. A list of feed addresses is here:
- Success! (hopefully). Google Reader shows you a list of your subscriptions and shows you the current articles from your new subscription. If you click on a movie title, it will take you directly to that film talk on :
- Customize at will. Now you can use various ways that Google Reader allows you to change how your subscriptions are displayed:
In this example, we start from the site, browsing a web page. We’ll use the built-in capabilities of the Firefox browser (version 3.0) to subscribe to a feed for a My Yahoo home page. The process is similar for Google Reader and in other web browsers that have a feed icon near the top of the browser. Be sure that you are signed in to My Yahoo when you do this, or your changes will be lost when you close the browser window.
- OPTION 1: Click the feed icon, then click the RSS feed selection. You’ll find the icon near the top of the browser window:
OPTION 2: Click a feed icon near the bottom of the page. Scroll down to the bottom, but before any comments on the page:
- Select “My Yahoo” then click “Subscribe”. Before you do this, the browser shows you a preview of what you will get via the subscription, including a short description. Besides My Yahoo, the drop-down list will provide other reader choices, such as Google Reader:
- Success! (hopefully). After a series of page flashes, you should now be at your home page with your new subscription displayed. Click “Keep It” to save the subscription. If you have not yet signed in to My Yahoo, do so now or you will lose your changes (it is best to sign in before doing any of this):
- As in the above example, Move your mouse over the title and the first lines from the item will pop up. Also, you can select “Options” to customize how the feed is displayed (the options button is hidden in this screen shot):