Subscribing: Really Simple!

I was never particularly interested in subscribing to blogs until I read that RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” It had me at the word simple. Here’s the how to & the why to for using RSS readers.

How To

1. Choose & sign up for a reader: Downloadable software is available but I prefer keeping online things online. Try Bloglines, Google Reader (just use your Google account name), or My Yahoo. I’m currently moving over from Bloglines to Google Reader.

2. Add blogs: See the orange logo on the top right-hand corner of this page? Clicking that logo anywhere on the web will allow you to subscribe to the website where you found it. You might sometimes see text instead: look for “subscribe to feed,” “xml,” “rss,” “atom,” or “subscribe with (name of reader),” and click there. Do this on all the sites you frequent – hopefully including Simple Makes!

If you can’t find that logo on the website itself, Firefox users can use the find the RSS logo (blue instead of orange in the current version of Firefox) to the right of the address bar url.

3. Organize blogs: If this is going to be a time-saving tool, you don’t want a long unmanageable list of website titles. In bloglines, I use the folders (create ‘em on the left toolbar). I have a folder per blog topic I like to read: one for home, family, green, craft, and web2.0. I also have a personal category for my friends’ blogs. Every day I limit myself to opening and reading only one folder. I subscribe to a LOT of blogs, but this way I can read every blog I like at least once a week. Also, I can weigh whether to keep subscribing to a particular blog; if it hasn’t had any content I’m interested in during the whole week, I may unsubscribe.

SimpleMom also has an excellent (and more visual) post on rss readers: read hers here.

Why To

What used to take hours, pre-RSS readers, now takes no time at all. You’ll save precious time:
* typing in one website (your reader) instead of the url for every single blog you like
* never gingo to a blog that hasn’t been updated since when you last checked
* never rereading a post with realizing it
* never digging through your history to find that url you can never remember
* seeing all the blogs displayed at once, making it easier to scan through them all to find just posts you’re interested in reading
* by clicking “keep” or “save” instead of bookmarking every single post you want to reread later

Simple Makes Feed

What a convenient time to say, I’d love to have you subscribe to the Simple Makes RSS feed! Just click that link or the big orange button at the top-right of every page.

…and you?

I’m just getting started with Google Reader and haven’t tried the others. Share your thoughts on the pro’s and con’s of each tool and method of reading RSS feeds in the comments here. Or, if you’re not keen on the idea of using subscriptions to read blogs, let me know why! I’ll also try to answer your questions and help with any trouble you run into while trying to subscribe.

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