How to Build an RSS Feed





How to Build an RSS Feed Using Google Reader

Disclaimer: Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., is not affiliated with Google or Google Reader in any way. We just like their easy-to-use Reader product. There are many other RSS Readers out there, Google’s among the simplest and most widely used.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Essentially, an RSS Reader aggregates all of your blogs into one, easy-to-read and organized location where you can choose how you want to be notified of the information.

Why Would You Want RSS?

RSS Readers can help you organize your blogs or news feeds without having to visit each site individually. You can visit your RSS Reader whenever you feel like it, even clear out all post without having to read them.

Getting Started
To get started with Google Reader, you need to have a Gmail account. If you do not have a Gmail account, see the section below on “Setting up a Gmail Account.”

Setting Up a Gmail Accoun
t
  1. Go to mail.google.com.
  2. Click on “Create an account >>”.
  3. Enter in the necessary information to create your account and click “I accept. Create my Account.”
  4. Remember your login information to use it to sign into Google Reader.
Setting Up Your Google Reader
Your Reader is basically ready to go after you’ve created a Gmail account. If you haven’t navigated away from the Gmail page, you can click on “Reader” in the upper left navigation bar (following “Gmail,” “Calendar,” “Documents,” & “Web”). Or, visit google.com/reader.

How to Add Feeds
There is more than one way to add a blog feed to Google Reader. That method typically depends on the blog, not the user, so if you’re having difficulty adding a blog feed one way, try the other.

Adding Feeds Part I: Adding a blog feed using the RSS Button
  1. Find the blog that you want to add to your RSS feed. For this example, let’s say that you want to add Inside the Minnesota Capitol to you RSS feed. Go to www.insidetheminnesotacapitol.com.
  2. Find the RSS Button and click on it, seen here:
  3. Depending on the type of feed it is, click on “Subscribe to this feed” or find the Google Reader button and click on it. (Note: Depending on your browser, sometimes in the URL box, on the right side, there will be a RSS button.)
    1. If the button gives you a pop-up that doesn’t give you the option to select Google Reader, see “Adding Feeds Part II” below.
    2. If doing the steps above doesn’t direct you back to Google Reader, see “Adding Feeds Part II” below.

Adding Feeds Part II: Adding a blog feed using Google Reader subscription box
  1. Find the blog that you want to add to your RSS feed and copy the URL. For this example, let’s say that you want to add Inside the Minnesota Capitol to you RSS feed. Go to www.insidetheminnesotacapitol.com and copy the URL (http://www.insidetheminnesotacapitol.com).
  2. Go to Google Reader (google.com/reader).
  3. Towards the upper left corner, find “+Add a subscription.”
  4. Paste the URL into the box.
  5. Select “Add.”

Doing either Part I or Part II should add the blog to your RSS Feed. Now that it’s added, there area a few ways to organize your feeds.

Add a Feed to a Folder
  1. It’s easiest to add the individual feed to a folder right after subscribing to it. (If you’ve navigated away from it, go back to Google Reader. On your left hand side, you’ll see under “Subscriptions” your feeds. Click on the individual feed, not the folder, if you’ve already set those up).
  2. In the main pane (should have the name of the feed at the top of it), you’ll see silver/gray boxes. Click on the arrow in the “Feed settings…” box.
  3. If you have folders set up…
    1. Click on the folder you want to add the feed to.
    2. That’s it!
  4. If you don’t have folders set up or want to add a new one…
    1. Click on “New folder…”
    2. Enter in a name for the new folder, select “OK.”
    3. The folder should display itself under “Subscriptions” on the left sidebar with the feed connected below.

Other ways to add folders:
  1. On the left sidebar under “Subscriptions,” hold your mouse over the individual feed you want to add to a folder. You should see a blue/gray arrow appear to the right, click on that. Follow the same steps above.
  2. In the upper right hand corner, right next to your e-mail, select “Settings,” then “Reader Settings.” That will bring you to another window. Select “Folders and Tags” to add just folders, or select “Subscriptions” to unsubscribe or assign folders to each individual subscription.

Change Views: Full Post vs. Headline Only
The default view for Google Reader is to preview the entire post. However, many people like to read just the headlines instead of all the content. To do so, read the instructions below.
  1. In the main pane, in the blue title bar, find “Show: Expanded – List.”
  2. The default is “Expanded,” which should be bold-faced.
  3. Select “List” to bold-face. This should list just the titles and not the full body post.

Display Read Items vs. Only New Items
The default in Google Reader is to display the read items (they are blue/grayed out). To show only new items, follow the instructions below.
  1. In the main pane, underneath the blue title bar, find “new items – all items.”
  2. The default is “all items,” which should be bold-faced.
  3. Select “new items” to bold-face. This should not display the old, read items.

Your Privacy

It is important to know how to change your privacy settings. You can view and change your privacy settings at any time by visiting “Google Account Settings” under “Setting” while in Google Reader. These settings apply to all Google services.
 
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