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RSS Feed Readers

One of the technologies that have really come to the front for many people since the creation of Blogs is RSS, or Really Simple Syndication. This is the technology or file format that allows you to subscribe to blogs and websites and be constantly notified of any new content.
Every day, RSS feeds allow me to keep track of hundreds of websites and blogs, reading their new content without ever actually visiting their site. While I am sure that many people have spent hundreds of hours on their designs and whatnot, I really just want to keep up with all the new things they are writing.

BloggingPro runs thanks to the WordPress blogging software, and this software automatically creates an RSS feed for you to subscribe to, but it is not the one we prefer people to sign up with, as there is no way to track how many of you are reading.
RSS IconYou can subscribe to our feed by putting in into your favorite RSS feed reader, or clicking the RSS icon on certain browsers. The reason I am asking you to use a feedburner address, is so that we can continue to track the basic readership statistics of those subscribing to BloggingPro.
If you already have a site that uses RSS feeds, and would like to be able to track how many people are reading your RSS feed, getting a Feedburner account can help greatly. It only tracks those subscribing through your Feedburner link, but it should give you a good idea of how many people are reading. An easy way to make sure only your Feedburner account is used when people subscribe rather than the RSS files that WordPress generates is to use Steve Smith’s WordPress FeedBurner Plugin, which automatically makes sure that everyone subscribes via your Feedburner account.
Figuring out what to use to track and read your subscriptions is the important thing. Some people use more than one piece of software to track RSS feeds, others are fine with one, but which one? There are so many choices, and finding one that suits your needs might feel difficult.

Bloglines Screenshot

I prefer to use Bloglines as my main RSS feed reading service as it is online, and so it helps me keep track of what I have and have not read between my laptop and office computer, as well as allowing me to check RSS feeds even when on another person’s computer. The best thing about this service of course is that it is free, and in my experience has not had too much downtime, so it is very dependable. I have noticed the occassional glitch in how it marks feeds that are months old as new sometimes, and I don’t always like how it formats images and whatnot in posts, but for the most part it is all you will need to organize and read RSS feeds.
FeedDemon Screenshot

On my laptop when I am going to be on the road, I use FeedDemon. Before I hit the road for a trip, I download all the new content from the various feeds I subscribe to, and then even when I am not connected to the Internet I can read most of the content I am used to. This allows me to flag things I want to check out later when I am connected back to the Internet, and this is something that Bloglines can’t do, as everything is online, and there is no offline browsing mode for the service.
The downside of FeedDemon of course is that it is a pay to use application. You will be required to pay $29.95 to download a full copy of the application.
While it is not the most beautifully designed user interfaces I have ever used, or the simplest, FeedDemon is much nicer than most of the other Windows based feed reading programs I have tried, and so I would recommend it over some of the uglier free applications that are out there.
Apple OS X
For Apple OS X users, I have been told that there are not too many RSS feed readers that they would rather thave than NetNewsWire.
To me, it looks like a more polished version of FeedDemon. Interestingly enough you can find it on the same site as FeedDemon, being sold by the same people, for the same price. I don’t know why, but it really feels like a major investment in something you can get free online, but for the traveller like me, it is worth it. I did not notice any free OS X RSS feed readers, so if you know of one, leave a comment so that everyone gets to know about it.
I don’t know much about Linux feed reading applications, but so far Liferea has stood out the most in my searches. It is a Linux feed reader for those using GNOME, and of course like most software on Linux, it is free. It looks to be rather simple, but that could be said for many Linux applications, and simple is not always a bad thing. I know there are a few other applications, but I think most of you on Linux already know better than I what works best for you.
Adding to Your Daily Reads
Once you have selected the application or applications that you want to use when subscribing to various feeds then you have to find the feeds you want to read. Many of the websites you read, probably already have an RSS feed available for you to subscribe to, making it easy to get a great listing of feeds in your reader. One other thing I like to do is how I filled up my list a bit more.
I went onto Bloglines, and clicked one of my favorite websites, and in Bloglines it says how many are subscribed. If you click on the number of feed subscribers, it brings you to a page, and if you are lucky, some of the other subscribers have made their subscription list open, allowing you to look at the sites they have on their account. You can straight out copy all of what they read, or look around and subscribe to the things that interest you as well. A very helpful feature to find other interesting feeds in a similar genre.
Read More and Save Time
I have found myself taking in much more content than I ever did before RSS feeds. I bascially create my own news paper filled with the latest content from all the websites I love. If you have not jumped on board the feed reading bandwagon, I suggest you pop on over to Bloglines, create and account and add BloggingPro’s feed. Then add other RSS feeds from the sites you frequent, and let me know if you don’t get addicted too.