Subscribing to RSS Feeds

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Three years ago right now, I (Steph) was pregnant and on bedrest with my youngest baby. It was during that time that my online life was changed…or at least the way I spent time online, all because someone mentioned Bloglines on their blog. They talked about how they were able to subscribe to blogs and be instantly notified when someone updated…..WHAT!? Up to that time, I would go from blog to blog via my bookmarks or blog links from my own blog. It was an okay system, but I hated spending the time checking so many blogs just to see that….nope…that blog did not have anything new posted today either! When I saw Bloglines mentioned, I signed up for an account and my life was forever changed!!

According to my analysis of our statistics, half of our readers are subscribed to our RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) and the other half of you are not. Of those that are subscribed to our RSS about 68% are subscribed using a Google product (Google Reader or iGoogle), 13% are subscribed using Bloglines, and the rest of you use various other forms of blog subscription applications. So, half of you just might be convinced to try a subscription app today. 🙂

What does it do? Basically, it puts all of the blogs and sites that you subscribe to in one online application, so you can read them easily. When I first started using Bloglines, like I said, I was on bedrest, so I had a lot of time to read blogs. I had an icon on my menu bar that would pop up instantly whenever blogs that I was subscribed to were updated. During that time of my life, no blog entry went unread…almost as soon as it was posted. I am very happy to say, that is not the case now. In Bloglines and Google Reader, the blogs that have updates are bolded and then in parenthesese it shows how many posts there have been since I last looked at that blog in the application. No more surfing from blog to blog to know who has made updates and who hasn’t…..ahhhhh the freedom!!!

In Google Reader and Bloglines, you can easily subscribe to a blog by the click of a button or a drag and drop. You can also sort the blogs by categories, for instance, I have these categories: digital, paper, crafts, decorating, childhood friends, friends, and tech. When I subscribe to a blog, I just select from the drop-down menu, which category the blog belongs in and I am set!

I asked our team which subscription app they use and what they love about it and here is what they said:

Aggie: “I use Google Reader and I love it! I used to use Bloglines but it didn’t update as fast as Reader did so I exported my entries/RSS feeds to Reader and never looked back!

I love how I can “mark it as unread” so I can read it again – certain entries that require focused reading and not scanning Cheesy
And I even catch up on my favorite galleries through Reader, if you notice certain galleries (DD, MSA, SSD) has the RSS button on the URL bar in Firefox – I just go to my fave scrapper’s gallery and add it to my reader too.”

Janet: “One of my favorite things (because I am nosy curious is that when you go to Google Reader you can click on show details and you can see how many people are subscribed to a particular blog.” (Bloglines has this feature too…I am curious too, Janet…heehee! 😉 )

Ana: “I use Bloglines and I love it. I like the feature of “keep new” that you can mark a post if you want it to be there, kinda as a favorite/bookmark.” (I love that feature too!)

Kelly: “Another fun feature of Google Reader is the “next” feature which allows you to click on the “next” button that you drag into your internet bar and then it just takes you to the actual “next” blog that’s updated in your list. This way you can see the actual web blog pages and not just a generic view from your reader. I’m sure that the advertisers on blogs appreciate this too since you miss their ads when you read through the reader. Personally, I love a good ad here and there… gotta keep the economy moving, ya know? Wink (Just doing my part, honey! Don’t look at paypal and we’ll be just fine…)”

Karen: “I love blog readers (I use Bloglines) because I can sort the blogs I read as well as read them all in one place. I read marketing blogs for work and scrappy blogs for fun, and it’s much nicer to be able to have them categorized than having to pick and choose from Firefox bookmarks dropdown.”

Amy said this, “I’m still trying to convince my mom to get on a reader…Her main complaint is that she doesn’t get to see all the pretty blog decorations if she reads them in a reader.” Well, Amy, I found a subscription application that would work great for your mom! It is a no fuss, no frills, no clutter subscription application that is just that…for subscriptions. It’s not a reader at all, in fact! It’s called Rososo. Here is what the Zen guy had to say about it. This is how the Rososo guy described it:

“This is the idea of Rososo: How can I follow my bookmarks without a feeling of obligation, of accumulation? Billy and I solved it in the simplest possible way. We present the user with her bookmarks, detecting the updated ones with RSS. But we don’t show the updates themselves. RSS means “Really Simple Syndication”, but we’re not syndicating anything — and the results are more peaceful.

As a bonus, you get to read your bookmarks in context. Compare an article on zenhabits.net or slashdot.org to a syndicated article from that site in a newsreader. You lose all the personality. The font, the layout, the whole mood of the site is lost. Rososo lets you read your bookmarks as the author intended.”

If you would like to get started using a subscriber here are some helps:

Google Reader for Beginners

How to get started with Bloglines

I’m excited to see how many of you change the way you spend your on-line time and start using a subscription application!! Go for it! It WILL change your life! 🙂

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