August 11, 2013
Because you’re waiting with bated breath (or, how to follow blogs)
Blogs are great. They are full of ideas and tips and inspiration. But keeping up on all of your favorite ones can be quite a chore sometimes. How do you know when one is updated? How can you keep from missing anything important? How can you make sure you never miss another post from Little Place Called Home? (I know that is of utmost importance to all of you.) Well, it turns out there are a lot of options.
#Good old fashioned bookmarks
Go to your favorite blogs and add the home page as a bookmark in your browser. If you want to get fancy you can organize your bookmarks into folders according to topic. When you’re in the mood to read just go down your list of bookmarks and see what’s new.
Who’s it for?
This is for someone who has blogs they check regularly, but doesn’t feel the need to be notified when new content is up. If you feel like ignoring all blogs for a while, you can, and there won’t be any annoying “unread notification” numbers staring you in the face. You can check the blogs you want to read when you want to read them. However, you might waste time clicking over to blogs only to find there’s nothing new. And it’s easy for bookmarks to become unwieldy.
#Follow on Facebook or Twitter
Most blogs have a Facebook or Twitter page that you can like or follow. For example, you can find a link to the Little Place Called Home Facebook page in my sidebar. If you like the page on Facebook you’ll see when I link to a new blog post.
Who’s it for?
If you already use Facebook and Twitter and enjoy spending a lot of time in those spaces, this could be a good option. One thing to keep in mind is that there’s no way to filter blog updates out so you can focus on your actual friends, and with Facebook you may not see every update. Facebook likes to decide for you what you want to see. It’s possible that they could get it wrong sometimes. While it’s a good way to stay informed, it’s not as dependable as some of the other options.
#Subscribe via email
Once again, this is an option a lot of blogs have. If you want to get an email with each new post from this blog, you can sign up below or in the sidebar.
Who’s it best for?
If you have a few blogs that you really want to keep up with, this is a great option. Everyone already checks email regularly, and this method will let you know every time your favorite blogs have something new. Many will just include the whole post in the email, so you don’t even have to click out to the website. If you’re savy with email filters and folders you could even organize your feeds by topic and have them automatically file away so you only see them when you want to. However, if you’re like me and don’t spend a lot of time keeping your email organized, and you want to follow a lot of blogs, email might not be the best option. It could quickly overwhelm your inbox and make it hard to find emails from real people that are probably more important.
#Use a feed reader
Find a good feed reader service and sign up! Some popular ones right now include [Feedly](http://cloud.feedly.com/#welcome) and [Digg Reader](http://digg.com/login?next=%2Freader). I personally use [Bloglovin](http://www.bloglovin.com). Once you set up an account you can just put in the addresses of blogs you want to follow. A feed reader will pull in the newest posts from all the blogs you follow and put them together in one big list. This way you only have to go to one place to see if there’s anything new. Many feed readers have a website for viewing all your blogs at the computer, but many also have their own iPhone and iPad apps that sync with your reading list. I use the Bloglovin app on my iPad almost daily.
Who’s it for?
This is great for the serious blog reader. If you have a lot of blogs to follow and you want to stay on top of them, this is probably the best option. A feed reader will aggregate all the blogs you subscribe to and display them for you in one nice list in chronological order. Most will allow you to organize blogs into folders so you can check all the food blogs you follow while you’re planning dinner or read all the lifestyle blogs when you want to look at pretty things.
Scanning is an essential skill when using a feed reader, however. Many feed readers will provide you with the number of unread posts you have waiting in your queue, and depending on the post frequency and number of blogs you subscribe to, this number can add up fast. You need to be able to quickly scan the list and pick out the ones you want to read. If you’re a person (like my mother) who feels a lot of stress with “undone” items in a list or feels the need to read everything that comes your way (like the entire newspaper even though its already a week old), you need to go into your feed reader with the mindset that you will not read everything and that is ok. That’s why most readers have a handy button to “mark all as read” and clear everything out of your queue.
So there you have it. Remember, to follow this blog you can like me on Facebook, sign up to get the email updates, or add my site to your favorite feed reader. Enjoy your blog reading!