How to subscribe

I’ve had a few ask me how you “subscribe to a blog”.  First off, you need a news reader.  A news reader is a client that allows you to read RSS feeds in the same way that your email program is a client that allows you to read email.

Think of it this way.  When you turn on your computer, you don’t go ask all of your friends if they have anything new to say to you.  That would take forever!  You just open your email client and look for new messages.  News readers work the same way.

When you get online, it would take a long time to go and visit all of the web sites you enjoy.  I’m not sure how you would even do this.  I suppose you could work through your list of bookmarks.  But how do you know whether any of them have updated their site?

A news reader is your fix for all of that.  A news reader shows you when items you have subscribed to have anything new to offer.  You can subscribe to a blog such as this one, and your reader will tell you when you have any unread posts in that blog.  Similarly, you can subscribe to the comments on an individual blog post.  Then you will see in your news reader any time that a new comment has been added.

Many store websites allow you to subscribe to an item or department, so that when anything changes (such as price or availability) you will see it in your newsreader without having to check the website over and over.

Actually, Facebook’s main wall is something of a news feed.  It is a constant stream of information you have subscribed to (your friends’ status updates).  And should you want to, you could even view that stream through a newsreader.

So, how do you start?  Well, first you need to pick a reader.  I use Google Reader because it is easy, it integrates with all my other Googly goodness, it’s free, and it works with my computer, my kindle, and my phone!

Once you set up an account at http://www.google.com/reader you’ll need to start subscribing to some feeds.  Why not start with this one! 🙂  Just look for the letters “RSS”, the word “Subscribe”, or the orange graphic at the top of this post.  Click on it, and tell it you want to subscribe with your Google Reader account.  It’s that easy!

Another way is to simply click on “Add Subscription” right in Google Reader, and enter the address of the website or feed you’d like to follow.

Watch this video from Google.  It will probably make more sense that what I said anyway.

EDIT…

Per suggestion from a friend, I have also added a “subscribe by email” option.  I’ve not used this myself, but for those who would rather not figure out feed readers, this is the easiest option.  (I’d still recommend you give a reader a try though!)

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  • An easier method (if you have a Mac & use Mail). Choose add RSS feed from file menu, paste in the feed URL, check the Add to InBox choice and the feeds show up in a separate folder in the InBox of Mail.

  • If you want to use one of those nasty Macs. 🙂

  • Per suggestion from a friend, I have also added a “subscribe by email” option. I've not used this myself, but for those who would rather not figure out feed readers, this is the easiest option. (I'd still recommend you give a reader a try though!)

    If you use this option, let me know how it works!

  • No, I like using one of those awesome, non-Microsoft Macs. 🙂

  • Whatever floats your boat. 🙂