I’m assuming you already know what an RSS feed is and want to find a better way to utilise them.
In a previous post I’ve covered how to follow someone’s blog from mobile devices and Google Reader, but if you want to keep up with blogs and web sites on your PC or MAC and don’t want a Google account, here are the best ways to do it.
There are RSS readers in all the modern browsers (IE9, Firefox using addons, and Chrome using addons) and Outlook 2000 onwards. If you want to keep things very simple just search for the words RSS feeds in my xxx browser and you’ll get full instructions on how to do this. Outlook is slightly more functional but is a little fiddly to setup but if you open your RSS Feed folder within Outlook (see right) there are full instructions in there telling you how to get started. Outlook has the advantage that it’s probably always open so you can see new feeds easily. If you want a dedicated tool for the job then read on.
There are many RSS reading tools out there but I found an excellent article on about.com that covered a short list very well indeed so I’m not going to re-invent the wheel.
The list includes Google Reader (requires a Google account) which is my personal weapon of choice because I can read blog posts on my PC or mobile devices seamlessly, but the rest of the options are dedicated software applications.
I took the top 2 in the about.com list and installed them on my desktop.
These were NewzCrawler ($24.95 with a 14 day trial) and FeedDemon from NewsGator (Free lite version but with a small ad area in the bottom left, full version £13.50) and had a quick play. I preferred FeedDemon just because it was a little simpler to setup and use, but that’s just my preference as both were excellent. If I went this route I would need the paid version of FeedDemon just for the search functions. All these products can take in a Google Reader feed which I would find useful. FeedDemon can also sync between multiple computers so if you have a desktop and a laptop/netbook this may be very handy indeed, particularly if you take your laptop home for downtime use.
On the MAC take a look at NetNewsWire from NewsGator.
In conclusion if you want to read RSS feeds and keep up to date with web sites solely from your PC then I would trial a copy of NewzCrawler and FeedDemon and buy the one you like most. At under £20 they are good value for money as they will save you lots of time and ensure you don’t miss anything you should know about.
If money is an issue use your email client or your chosen browser, they may lack a little of the functionality of a dedicated software application but they are free.
Good luck and let me know how you get on.
Here are links to some pC, MAC and online based RSS reader options: