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RSS Feeds and Readers: Simple Steps

According to an October 2005 Yahoo publication, 96% of Internet users have never knowingly used RSS (Real Simple Syndication). Are you one of them? I was until today.

Yes, I confess that I’ve been blogging since last June, but I just downloaded an RSS reader so that I can receive RSS feeds. At least I know I was in good company, with 96% of Internet users!

If you are an English-major type like me, I am writing to you today to help you climb on the RSS bandwagon (Translation: to help you receive RSS feeds). And why should you climb on? By doing so, you will receive regular notifications when your favorite bloggers have posted something new. Special note: These notifications are not email, so you will not have more email to sort or ignore.

Here’s a way to automatically receive feeds from blogs that advertise RSS or that say, like my blog, "Subscribe to this blog’s feed."

Step One: Go to RssReader. It’s free. Follow the instructions and wizard. The steps are a bit complex, but you will be able to follow them if you simply breathe and believe what you read.

Once you have successfully installed and run the RSS reader, here’s how to get my feed. (Feel free to practice on me, since you know I am sympathetic.)

  1. In the right panel of my blog, underneath the ARCHIVES, find the link "Subscribe to this blog’s feed." Right click the link.
  2. Left click "Copy shortcut." Nothing will happen.
  3. In your icon (system) tray–probably at the bottom of your screen–find the RSS reader icon. Right click the RSS reader icon.
  4. Left click "Open RSS reader."
  5. Near the upper-left corner of the screen, you will see a box with the word Add and a green plus sign (+) above it. Left click Add.
  6. You will see my Business Writing URL (web site address) in a box. Left click Next
  7. You will see the feed title "Business Writing." Left click Next. You now have a choice of which folder to put the feed in. Just left click OK for the folder My Feeds, or name a folder. If nothing has gone wrong, you will now see posts (feeds) from this blog. Congratulations!

What does this post have to do with business writing? Well, now you can receive my posts–and those of other bloggers–without having to visit to see whether I have updated my site. Also, you can become part of that elite group–the 4% (but growing!) of Internet users who knowingly receive RSS feeds.

Let me know if these instructions have succeeded for you. Like any writer who cares, I have tested them step by step several times, driving my dear husband nuts in the process. (Thanks, Michael!)

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

2 comments on “RSS Feeds and Readers: Simple Steps”

  • Thanks Lynn!! I’ve been meaning to figure out this RSS feed thing, and your step by step got me to finally do it. Very helpful – thanks again.

  • Jenny, congratulations on taking that step successfully! I had thought I would be burdened by more information–like email. But I value getting the brief notices that new information and photos have been published, and there’s no email involved.
    Let’s spread the word.


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