Unfortunately, once you search for something on Craigslist you can’t ‘save‘ the search and more importantly you can’t ‘subscribe‘ to that search. How would you like to be notified when something first get’s posted to Craigslist, automatically? Wouldn’t that be cool? I’ve been asked no fewer than three times this week how to do this. That begs to be a blog post, so here you go!
The secret is RSS. It’s that funny little radar looking orange symbol. It stands for Real Simple Syndication. It’s really just a cool output of your blog posts, search results, and even Facebook notifications. RSS is the technology we need to bring a page from somewhere (like Craigslist) and use it somewhere else.
For this you’ll need a few things.
1. The Chrome Browser. It’s ok, you don’t have to give completely up on Internet Exploder (yet) but for this you’ll need to use the Chrome Browser. Here’s a LINK if you need it.
2. An RSS Reader. Up until the demise of the Google Reader I would have said the best reader out there was Google’s. For over a year now I’ve been using Feedly and couldn’t be happier! It’s free and works perfectly on all my computers, tablets and phones. If you’ve already downloaded Chrome here’s your LINK to the app in the Chrome Store.
That’s all you need. (I told you it was easy) In fact, you could go directly to Feedly.com and skip the Chrome browser altogether but where’s the fun in that?
Now, let’s go do a search on Craigslist. I’ve been looking for a truck so I’ll use it as an example. Here’s the actual search LINK. Today, there’s only a single truck that fits my search. The Search Results Page looks like this:
Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a little orange RSS . Don’t click on it or you’ll get a page of funny looking code (technically it’s an .xml file). It’s the RSS output we’re looking for.
Instead, right click on it and save the URL. Chrome uses the term “Copy Link Address”.
Next head over to your Feed Reader (Feedly) and click on the “Add Content” button on the top left. Enter the link you just copied from Craigslist and click enter.
Click the + button to add the feed to your Reader. On this screen you’ll have the ability to add it to a folder of similar feeds and rename it. I have feeds covering a wide variety of subjects so each of my feeds goes into a specific folder.
As new posts happen over on Craigslist that match my search I don’t need to go recreate that search. Instead they’ll show up right here in my Feed Reader.
In this same way I am constantly staying on top of multiple Craigslist searches, blog posts from sites I like, news events from the interwebs, and even Facebook Notifications. I read over 200 posts a day from various sources without going to the actual site! Next, you’ll want to learn the “Scoble Method” of Feed Reading.
Now start to think about all the ways you can have searches working for you. Want to see if someone posts something about a lost puppy – you can save that search! Looking for a place to live? Save that search!
RSS to Email
The next question you are going to ask is can I get this sent to my email instead? Yes you can. Why you would want to makes no sense to me but yes you can. Start an account at IFTTT.com (stands for IF THIS, THEN THAT) and then look for an RSS to Email Recipe. Here’s one https://ifttt.com/recipes/99479 Follow the directions connecting your RSS to your email (it’s simple) and you’ll be notified via email instead.
Once you get started with RSS you’ll wonder why so many others don’t.
BTW: The RSS for this site is https://areweconnected.com/feed/
Want to get deep? http://davewiner.com/ is someone you should follow.
He's an avid hockey fan, rides a mountain bike, sometimes rides a road bike, has a few motorcycles (he had a really fast one, bought a cool orange one, rode a really slow one, and wants a really small one). If that isn't enough, he makes cheese and sourdough bread, loves strong beer and good red wine, and poorly plays the Mandolin.