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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 91: Subscribe to Websites with RSS

Level Medium

Platform All

Cost Free

Information from websites such as newspaper sites or weblogs updates frequently throughout the day, week, or month. You could waste time visiting each site you like, looking for new content, much as you’d go to the newsstand to check for the newest issue of your favorite magazine. But checking all the sites you like every day is tedious and unnecessary. As with a magazine subscription that automatically brings each new issue to your door, you can subscribe to website feeds that push information to your online door.

Website feeds are special XML files that contain all the latest updates to a website or to a section of it. Place the address of any number of these feeds into feedreader software (also called a newsreader or news aggregator) and you can see, all in one place, when new items have appeared on your favorite sites.

This hack explains how to subscribe to feeds and lists the different types of information they can provide you.

How to Subscribe to Website Feeds

To start building your website subscription list, you first need a feedreader, either in the form of desktop software or a web-based application. A feedreader lists the newest content available on the sites you choose all in one place. This hack uses Google Reader (http://google.com/reader) — an excellent, web-based feedreader. (See the following “Other Popular Feedreaders” section for more options.)

If you use Gmail or Google Calendar, your ...

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