A Beginner’s Guide to Using RSS for Reading Blogs

Ξ June 24th, 2006 | → 4 Comments | ∇ Blogging stuff, Costa Rica, Geeky Stuff, Life in Costa Rica, News and Comments, RSS Feed, Tutorial, Whatever |

rss.jpgI really do not know just how many Blogs are being published about Costa Rica, but for sure, there have to be about forty or so… maybe more. Some are really, really good! Some are… well… not so good. Who reads these blogs? I guess that depends on the type of Blog. Some are of a personal nature giving readers the chance to peek inside the personal lives of the blog writer. Others are geared to current events, news, information on living in, retiring to, or general information about Costa Rica. Sadly, there are also some SPAM blogs that really say nothing. They only want you to click on one of the ads you find there.

Some Blogs add new content (articles) every day. Others maybe once or twice a week or sometimes less often. So the question is whether there is a way to keep up with the blogs you like to read without having to go to that Blog to see if there is anything new. If you have a list of maybe 8-10 of your favorites, that can be time consuming. Well there IS, and this article will teach you how to do it in almost no time, and the good news is you already have everything you need to set it up!

The KEY to all this is RSS or Really Simple Syndication. It is likely that you have seen a link or maybe a graphic on many web sites and Blogs that looks like this rss.gif or maybe this rss2.png. Sometimes is is a text link that says: Subscribe to my feed or Subscribe to my Podcast. When clicked, all of them will provide a special web page that is kinda nasty looking, but is not there for you to read. It is there for a news reader to read and THIS is the key to keeping up to date with as many Blogs as you like in one centralized location.

Every time the blogger adds an article, this RSS FEED page is updated. The article’s title is shown and also an excerpt from that article, usually the first 4-5 sentences. They are links, so when clicked, they take you to that Blog or to that article, your choice! Now you have an easy way to see who just blogged something and you can then go to their blog to read the whole article!

Nearly all blogs create this RSS feed automatically. There are also companies like Feedburner who take the RSS feed created by the Blog and make it pretty. They ALSO provide a central link to that RSS feed. I use Feedburner and you can take a look at what appears there by clicking here or here. There are two as I publish two blogs.

OK… so how can you use these RSS Feeds to create a summary of all the blogs that interest you. To make this simple, as promised, I am going to use Yahoo or to be more accurate My Yahoo. Why Yahoo? No reason at all. This whole process is available on Google, My AOL, MSN, NewsGator and others. I happen to use My Yahoo so that’s what you get!

We are going to create a one page location where you can follow two of my Blogs and two others that I like to follow. This post is also available as a downloadable .PDF if you wish to have a printable copy. Click here to download.
You will need a Yahoo login before you can do this. It is painless, but required by Yahoo to use the My Yahoo feature. I am going to presume you have one or will make one for use here.

Here are the steps:

1. Login to your My Yahoo. I use their three column format.

2. On the right side, below the advertising, you will see a link: Add New Page Click that link.

3. On the next page, just below the Yahoo Banner, you will see a link like this: cust_addcontent.gif Add Content Click that link.

4. On the next page, you will see a box labeled Find Content and a click box labeled Find. Do NOT click that box! Instead, look just to the right and you will see in really tiny print: Add RSS by URL. That is the one you click!

5. On the next page, you will see a location to enter the URL (page address) of the RSS for the blog that interests you. How do you find that URL? You go to the Blog of interest and look for that little rss.gif graphic or any of the text links I gave above and you click on that link. THAT will tale you that nasty looking page I mentioned. You then just COPY and PASTE the URL into the box pn the Yahoo page and click ADD.

So, let’s say you want to add the RSS for The Real Costa Rica Blog. The RSS page is: http://blog.therealcostarica.com/wp-rss2.php so you copy and paste that URL to Yahoo and click Add.

6. On the next page, you verify the information is correct and click: Add To My Yahoo.

That’s it! When you return to your My Yahoo, the Blog Title will show and the last serveral articles and dates will be show right there! When the blogger adds a post, the RSS is updated and so is your My Yahoo. When they Post, YOU know it right away.

Now some variations.

Variation 1.

We will next add the Blog Costa Rica Jones. On HIS blog, the RSS link is called: Subscribe to my podcast. BUT, when you click it, you are asks to DOWNLOAD the page. That is NOT what we want! We want the LINK to that page. How do we get it? Simple! Right Click on the link Subscribe to my podcast and select “Copy Link Location”. This may vary by browser, but this is what Firefox uses. Now PASTE that link into the Yahoo page as I described above, click Add, then on the next page click Add To My Yahoo. You’re done!

Variation 2.

We are now going to add an RSS feed to My Dos Colones, another blog I frequent. On his blog, the RSS link says: Subscribe to my Feed. When you click THAT link, you get to his Feedburner page for his Blog. We discussed Feedburner above. That link actually shows his RSS feed all pretty and formatted, but the URL for THAT page is what we will copy and paste into Yahoo. You could, of course, right click to Copy Link Location as we did in variation 1 above.

You can now follow all of the above steps again to add blog after blog to your My Yahoo. When done, you will have a collection of all your favorite CR blogs in one handy location.

And now the cool parts!

Cool thing 1.

My Yahoo will allow you to add these RSS feeds from ANY web site, Blog, newspaper, whatever! Just look for the rss.gif graphic on any web site and you know you can add that content to your My Yahoo.

Cool thing 2.

Many sites now offer an instant, one click graphic that when click, automatically add that content to your My Yahoo. Here are two examples: For Hisfault – Rants from the Tropics look for this: addtomyyahoo4.gif Now when you click THAT link, it instantly adds the RSS feed for www.hisfault.com to your My Yahoo. you need do nothing! Here is one for The REAL Costa Rica Blog that works the same way: addtomyyahoo4.gif

On various blogs, you may also see: addaol.gif , addgoogle.gif , addmsn.gif and others. These are automatic, 1-click links to add the RSS to the reader specified. In fact I will be adding them to my blogs very soon. All work the same way.

At any time, you can now quickly easily add the RSS feed for thousands of blogs and web sites. Also, if a blog becomes inactive or you lose interest, you can just click the little X and Yahoo removes it from your page.

Here is a link that shows you a screen print of my personal My Yahoo and exactly how this whole thing looks when finished. I have maybe 20 links, but the screen shot only shows the first three.

RSS is really easy an now you can make use of it too.

RSS Links used in above examples:

The Real Costa Rica Blog


Hisfault – Rants from the Tropics – Costa Rica


My Dos Colones


Costa Rica Jones


and a couple more to play with!

http://www.abroadincostarica.com/index.rdf and



4 Responses to ' A Beginner’s Guide to Using RSS for Reading Blogs '

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  1. Jon said,

    on June 25th, 2006 at 8:14 am

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for this information and the mention of my site. I’ve finally gotten around to adding a link to your site on mine. I didn’t know what a feed was until after I started blogging. Actually it was about 6 weeks ago when I first began to investigate. I remember you mentioning that you like Opera as a web browser and this is what I use as opposed to IE. I’m sure you know, Opera has it’s own feed reader built in, so the first time you click on a subscribe link from a window in Opera, it creates a feed menu that you can manage for your feeds. Do you know if this feature in Opera is lacking anything that the others such as My Yahoo have? I haven’t used anything else in my short time with this, so I’m just curious.


  2. Erin said,

    on June 25th, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    Hey Tim, I love feeds! (Although I must admit, I also like going to the actual blogs, as they’re so pretty!)

    I actually have a browser called Flock which has feed reading built right into it. It’s pretty cool: you just click on the RSS and a sidebar pops up in the browser, and you can put the feed into any category you want. There’s a button on the browser–right near the home, back, forward, etc. buttons–just for the feeds. It has a little orange circle when there are new posts in any of the blogs… anyway, just thought that was worth a mention!

  3. Charles Herrick said,

    on July 16th, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    I do’nt know how it compares with your blogs but there is one with a woman in Nosara:
    gypsyjournalist.blogsport.com/ which talks about her trials and tribulations in Nosara. She mentions the rain, the dust, the scorpions,raising her 3 sons and the business she and her husband are operating.

  4. on October 21st, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    […] Posted by Tim on 21 Oct 2006 at 02:27 pm | Tagged as: Costa Rica, Blogging stuff, Geeky Stuff, RSS Feed, News and Commentary, Subscribe I have received several emails asking if people could just get updates to HisFault – Rants from Costa Rica – by email. They prefer to receive new Posts by email so as to not have to deal with RSS or visit a ton of blogs to see if anything new has been added. […]

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