How to Get Those Hard-to-Reach RSS Feeds

Has there ever been a site you really liked, and you really wanted to subscribe, but there’s no sign of a feed anywhere? Or maybe an old favorite reorganized their site layout, and now that you want to subscribe, you can’t find the button. Perhaps you just want more sources of news for a particular topic. It’s happened to me plenty of times, and apparently I’m not the only one, as there’s a new service out there at CtrlQ.org that aims to let you ferret out those hidden or hard-to-find feed links. It’s simple, surprisingly powerful, and a lifesaver for feed addicts such as myself.

The simplest way to use CtrlQ is to just enter a topic, like Linux, Star Trek or tea. CtrlQ will give you a list of feeds related to that topic.

ctrlq-plain

You may notice in the above screenshot that you have the option to preview the feed contents, which gives you a pretty good idea of the type of content the feed provides.

ctrlq-showfeed

While this is certainly a great feature, it does not seem to work perfectly with every site’s feed. Sometimes it only shows a partial list, sometimes it shows none at all.

There are times where you know a site has got to have a feed somewhere, but it’s tough to find. If you need to search a specific site to find all its feeds, you can use a Google-style keyword of site: before the location you want to search. For example, if you’re trying to find all the feeds available at Rifftrax.com, you’d enter site:rifftrax.com.

ctrlq-sitesearch

This works just as well when combining keywords and site name, as shown here:

ctrlq-price

Sometimes you need to be more specific about your keywords. Perhaps you want results where your search term in displayed in the title, or as part of the feed’s URL. CtrlQ has this covered as well, and you can use more Google-like options such as allintitle: and inurl:.

ctrlq-intitle

There’s no revolutionary technology involved in this site. It’s just a clever combination of Google Feeds API, jQuery, and AddToAny. It may not advance the state of the art, but functionally it’s just packed full of handiness. I often find myself in search of feeds for a new topic, and doing so with Google can be a real hassle. Even if you find a site with the topic you want, they might not have a visible feed. Once you’ve found it, they might only update once a month. If you had started your search with CtrlQ, you’d not only be able to quickly browse a full list of feeds on that topic, but you could preview the contents of each one to see if they’ve got the right style and post schedule for you. As someone who’s wasted a lot of time on feeds that I ended up removing eventually, this is a killer feature for me. CtrlQ is going to remain in my bookmarks for quite some time.