Why does it always seem to take so long to hunt out the real bargains? And when it comes to cheap baby clothes, what parent has the time to trawl through all those websites when your little one needs to be fed/changed/hugged RIGHT NOW!!!
Well the good news is that you no longer have to. Thanks to some really clever websites, and commonly available features freely available in your browser, you can easily make sure that the bargains come to you! Here’s how:
RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication, but for non-techies, that doesn’t sound like a Really Simple Explanation! You’ve probably seen the icon on various websites though; it looks like this: Sometimes it appears on a webpage, but often, in modern browsers, it appears in the address bar or toolbar. Here’s an example from this website:
Clicking on the icon will give you the website’s “feed”, which is basically a summary of the latest content available. The great thing is that you can save this feed to get continual updates from any website, without having to visit it. For example:
- The “Baby & Kids” section from CraigsList.org
- Updates from your favorite Twitter feeds
- Just about any content on the web using Google Alerts
How do you set RSS up?
An RSS feed is similar in a lot of ways to a normal webpage. Just like you would view a normal web page by typing in its address (e.g. http://cheapbabyclothesblog.com), an RSS feed also has an address (e.g. the feed on this website is at http://cheapbabyclothes.com/feed). Different browsers will display the feed in different ways, but nevertheless, it’s always the same information.
You will often get an option to ‘subscribe’ to the feed, and store it somewhere for easy access. Internet Explorer, for example, will let you add the feed to your toolbar, and every time you’re online, you can see at a glance what’s new on your favorite website.
Because it’s such a common standard, there are many other options for managing your feeds. There are some online tools that let you store all your feeds in one place (Google Reader is a great example), and if you’re following many feeds, this is a great way to manage them easily. There are also many dedicated tools available (often for free) that are dedicated to managing your feeds in different ways: do a search for ‘RSS Readers’ and you’ll have plenty to choose from. They’re even available for smart phones, so you can be kept up-to-date when you’re on-the-go!
Where do you get RSS feeds?
Many websites have feeds nowadays (although not all). Sometimes, they’ll display the RSS icon prominently, and clicking on it will take you to the feed. Right-clicking on it will give you an option to copy the link, so you can paste it into your favorite RSS software.
If you can’t find a link on the site, your browser might still be able to find it. Internet Explorer has a grayed-out RSS icon in the toolbar that turns orange if it finds any feeds, and other browsers will show an RSS icon in the address bar when it finds one. You can simply click on this to access the information you want.
Creating and managing your feeds
Feeds are normally attached to a single website, so if you want to follow a few sites at once (say, your local CraigsList, along with a few local retailers and auction sites), it can get a little cumbersome. That’s where RSS readers come in, because they usually have a ‘master’ feed that shows you the latest content across all your feeds.
But sometimes you want to create your own custom feed. A great way of doing this is using Google Alerts. It’s just like using Google’s standard search, but it will keep searching on your behalf, and automatically email you whenever anything new shows up. If you sign up (it’s free), it will create your very own custom RSS feed that you can manage any way you like.
There are other ways of setting up your very own feed, depending on how technical you are. Yahoo! Pipes, for example, are a little more difficult to set up, but are incredibly powerful. They’re worth checking out even if you’re not comfortable with computers, because there are lots of free Pipes available for your own use.
So try it out: visit the most promising places online for getting cheap baby clothes, and see if you can subscribe to their RSS feed. Your local CraigsList is a great start, but don’t stop there. Twitter has many users offering cheap baby clothes, and there are several Facebook pages too (including ours) – all of these have RSS feeds available. Local retailers and classified ad sites are also great options, and you can always set up a Google Alert on a very specific search (say, “baby clothes sales in Little Rock AR”). As a parent, your days are busy enough: let the internet work for you instead by being your own personal concierge service!