Never miss another website update with RSS feeds

Keep up to date with new posts on your favourite websites with RSS feeds

Many websites are frequently updated and some are updated several times a day. News based websites are among the most updated and as stories break, they appear on the site. Subscribe to RSS feeds to keep up with all the changes on your favourite websites.

What is an RSS feed?

An RSS feed is basically a list of updates to a website that are stored in a special file format. XML is used, which is a lot like HTML and tags are used to define the content like headings, text and links.

Whenever a website is updated with a new article, a brief description consisting of the headline and a few introductory sentences is added to the site’s RSS feed. All you need to do is to access that XML file to see what is new on the site.

Viewing an RSS feed is quicker and easier than visiting a website and trying to work out what is new. Sometimes website updates are obvious, but not always, and it also takes time and effort to visit a bunch of websites and see what is new.

RSS feeds can be fetched automatically and a list of headings and descriptions is sufficient for you to decide whether the full article is worth reading. If it is, you can click a link and go straight to it on the website. However, you need an RSS feed reader to do this.

There are websites and applications that can be used to subscribe to RSS feeds and these show the latest updates whenever you access them. Digg is one example of an online RSS feed reader and it offers free accounts.

Safari used to be able to store RSS feeds and it enabled you to browse the website updates in the sidebar. The feature was called Shared Links and if the Safari sidebar was opened they were on the @ tab. This feature has been taken out of Safari and it no longer has the tab in the sidebar or the ability to read RSS feeds.

Let's see how to view RSS feeds on your Mac now that Safari has abandoned them.

1 Find RSS news feeds

Go to one of the websites you frequently visit, such as a news website or something else that is frequently updated.

Look around the home page for an RSS link or the orange button that is always used to indicate an RSS feed. Not all websites have RSS feeds, and some might collect them all onto a page dedicated to listing all the RSS feeds on the site. It varies a lot, so just explore the sites and use the search facility if it has one.

Tip: Any website built with WordPress has an RSS feed at www. website .com/feed

I found lots of RSS feeds on the ABC News website for example. Right click an RSS feed or the orange button and copy the URL.

RSS feeds at the ABCNews website

2 Sign up at the Digg website

What can you do with a link like that? Add it to an RSS reader like Digg.

Go to Digg and click the Sign Up link to create a free account.

Sign up to Digg RSS news reader

3 Sign into Digg

After creating an account at the Digg website, sign in and click the Reader link at the top of the page.

Log in to the Digg website and go to the RSS news Reader

4 Add an RSS feed to Digg

On the next page, click the Add link at the bottom to add the RSS feed URL you copied - press Command+V to paste it in.

Add an RSS feed to Digg

Click Add again and then confirm that you want to add the feed. It appears in the feed list - you can see some of my other feeds in the screenshot above. It is how I keep up to date with the latest tech news.

5 See the news stories

All you need to do is to select a news feed on the left to see a list of the latest posts on the right. Click a heading to read more, click the description to open the story in a tab.

Digg reader lets you subscribe to RSS feeds

Add RSS feeds to Feedy

There are several RSS feed readers in the Mac App Store and Feedy is one example. Install the app and run it. Like Digg, down in the bottom left corner of the app window is a plus button to add an RSS feed. Paste in the RSS feed URL copied from a web page like ABCNews above.

Add an RSS feed to the Feedy app on the Apple Mac

After adding a feed you get to choose an icon for it. There is also a slider that enables the number of articles to be selected. Usually All is best, but you can limit the number if you prefer. Click the Subscribe button to finish.

Configure the RSS feed in the Feedy app on the Apple Mac

This is how Feedy looks after adding a couple of tech news feeds (other topics are available, I just like tech stuff).

Feedy RSS feed reader on the Apple Mac

Double clicking an item in the news feed opens a larger window so you can read the whole article. If it does not display correctly, click the world icon in the bottom right corner of the window. This displays the full page the article is on.

View options in Feedy RSS feed reader on the Apple Mac

There are other RSS feed readers in the Mac App Store, such as Monotony and Feedly. They are great for keeping up with the latest news. I follow tech stories, but you can follow sport, arts, general news, and many more topics. You just have to find the RSS feed URL on the website you want to follow.

 

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