Looking through the Mac360 server logs I noticed that only around one in four readers uses RSS. What’s the reason for the low numbers?
If you view a dozen web pages a day, then RSS is just what the news doctor ordered. RSS brings the news to you.
What is RSS? Formally, Really Simple Syndication. It’s a family of XML file formats which allows you to subscribe to news headlines and summaries, and have them show up on your computer.
Simply subscribe using Safari or a good RSS reader, and the headlines are retrieved for you to view when you want.
Why are only one in four Mac360 readers using RSS? Without a formal survey, we can only speculate.
Around 30-percent of our readers are using Windows browsers. They’re probably captive readers, stuck at work, toiling over a hot keyboard attached to a Windows PC.
RSS is available on Windows, though not as well implemented, and not embedded in the so-called browser of choice, Internet Explorer.
A recent poll showed that less than five-percent of PC users have an RSS reader.
We suspect that number is higher among Mac users, certainly among Mac360 readers.
What’s so difficult about RSS that the other 75-percent of our readers haven’t climbed on board the RSS bandwagon? Maybe our articles are too boring and we’re the only ones with a 25 percent penetration rate.
RSS is an extra step. It’s an optional step. It’s a step to try if you haven’t already. Try the free, try the standalone, try and buy, but, try RSS.
The easy way is to use Safari, as the implementation of RSS is about as easy as it can get.
I’ve tried nearly every decent RSS reader for the Mac and I have a few favorites. The Safari RSS reader is a good way to start and I find I use it plenty, too.
Click Here for the Safari RSS feature and how-to list.
Safari usually finds an RSS link on a page, but not always. For example, on Mac360, the RSS links (we provide RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, and Atom) are found in the lower left column of the home page.
Grab the RSS 2.0 link and drag it to your Safari URL window. Save as a bookmark. That’s it. Repeat with other sites that have RSS links.
What you get is a list of recent articles. By arranging a bunch of RSS feeds in your Safari bookmarks, say, put them inside a single folder, you’ll have a single page which updates automatically through the day.
When you find an article headline and summary of interest, click on the headline, and that web page opens (I use Right Click or Click to open in a tab, so as to not lose the RSS page). It’s a simple process that yields excellent results and much higher productivity.
Safari’s RSS is decent, quick, simple, and a great place to get started.
Once you’ve collected a few dozen RSS links, you’re like to need more organization. Safari is fine for basics and I use it.
Each RSS reader has a set of options for saving RSS headlines, organizing by category, and other features.
Tera got us onto an RSS feed very early two years ago. Today, both of us have a couple of hundred web sites that we’re able to track and view without actually clicking on a bookmark.
The web sites send us their headlines and a summary. We review what we like, ignore the rest, click and view only what’s interesting.
Truly, you can scan 100 web site headlines and summaries in the time it would take to view five or 10 web sites and scan headlines of each. Less time, more productive.
If you have not tried RSS, try Safari first, then try a standalone reader as your bookmark list grows. If you’re already an RSS user, share with other readers what you use, how you use it, and why.