If you been blogging for any amount of time, you've heard the term "RSS feed". Well, what the heck is that anyway?!? And why do all these people want me to subscribe to it? How do I subscribe to an RSS feed? Why on earth should I bother subscribing to a blog? {{snicker}} Hi Ladies!  I am Laurie Turk with Tip Junkie and this is what was going through my head when I first started reading blogs and I thought that you might have the same questions. Therefore, today I'll answer all of your questions with pictured instructions to keep it easy and uncomplicated. Most blogs have a few ways to subscribe so that you find out when they post something new!  But let's not get ahead of ourselves...

What Is An RSS Feed?

1. First off let's talk about, What is an RSS Feed? RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. For bloggers, it's basically a technology that updates 'RSS Readers' when new content (such as a post) is uploaded. Many people refer to it also as a news feed. Think of it as an electronic mail carrier that delivers new information when it's posted onto a website or blog.  It's all completely automatic! rss feed icon2. How can I find a blogs RSS Feed? On most blogs including WordPress blogs, you'll find an icon that looks similar to this orange speaker button.  That's the universal icon for an RSS Feed.  You'll find it in many colors and shapes but universally with the "speaker" dot and lines. If you click this button, you'll be prompted to enter in your e-mail address or click an RSS Reader like "Google Reader".  It's completely free and then you'll know when new content is posted on that blog. For Blogspot.com blogs, go to the bottom of any blog and you'll find a link that says Posts (Atom).Click on that link and a new page will pop up. This is the RSS Feed default address which you'll need to copy & paste into your RSS Reader. (See picture above #1.)  OR you can click on the drop down menu and choose a reader: e-mail, Google, Yahoo!, etc. 3. That brings us to, What are RSS Readers? There are tons of them out there. From my experience Google Reader and Bloglines are the most widely used. RSS Readers are basically free programs that constantly check your favorite blogs for new content. If there is something new - it bolds the title of the blog and gives you the number of new posts. It's a more efficient way to read blogs and to make sure you don't miss anything on your favorites. I have so many blogs I love, I have divided them up into different categories: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Crafty, etc. * For Google Reader simply login/register to your Google account. * Click the +Add a Subscription button on the top left to add your favorite blogs. * Copy & Paste your favorite blogs RSS Feed URL. * Don't forget to go back to Google Reader to read them. ;) A heads up, if you want to leave a comment you'll have to go to that persons blog. To find out how many subscribers you have, simply click on your Blog then click on the 'Show Details' link on the top right of your feed.  I want to give a "shout out" to the 9,518 Tip Junkie Google Feed readers!  {{high fives!}}  You ROCK!

How Do I Add It To My Blog?

4. Now that we know what it does and how it works, let's talk about How do I use my RSS Feed to promote my blog? a. The first way is to put the RSS logo and links onto your side bar in a prominent place. Making it easy for people to sign up. I would suggest giving your readers an e-mail and a RSS Feed option. I would suggest that you use FeedBurner which was recently bought by Google and it's seriously so easy.  Go to FeedBurner and register. Next click on Publicize (see above image) and then choose how you want your RSS Feed to look and what RSS Readers you want to include. Get your Chicklet code and then copy & paste it in the sidebar of your blog (choose html gadget option). b. Next you're going to want to upload a Subscribe via E-mail option. To do this click Publicize then click on Email Subscriptions on the left sidebar in FeedBurner. Follow the prompts and then copy & paste the html code below your RSS Reader code in your sidebar. It will look like this (above). You can also have it be a link if you copy & paste the 2nd code in FeedBurner just be sure that you choose the Blogger option. c. Once you get a following, I would suggest that you add the FeedCount Chicklet under your RSS Subscriber options. This gives your blog instant credibility. It's a cinch to do it with FeedBurner. Simply click on Publicize then click on FeedCount follow the prompts and copy & paste the html code into the sidebar of your blog. The Feed Count will automatically update as you receive new subscribers. Easy! That's it! I hope I answered any questions that you had and made it easy for you to promote your blogs' RSS Feed. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I'll either answer them in a new post or add it to this one. Are you looking for more Blogging Tips? Check out my previous posts: 1. Blogger Questions and Tips 2. Blog Etiquette 3. Who's Linking to my Blog? Thanks Julie for letting me guest post!  It's an honor as we've been such long time blog friends.  I just adore you!  {{hugs!}} Tip Junkie ~ Laurie Turk Once again, I'm Laurie Turk the founder and managing editor of Tip Junkie.  If you have any questions about RSS Feeds or blogging questions feel free to share it with us!  You are not alone, we've all had the same questions at one point or another. If you're a crafty gal and love to decorate, host a party, or loves free printable be sure to check out the  Tip Junkie Facebook page. It's full of crafty eye candy!

Creating Memories that Endure,

Laurie