I get a lot of feedback that many don’t “get” blogs. What is the purpose? What is the advantage of a blog? I think one of the issues behind this is that folks who are new to blogs don’t yet know about blog readers. If you want to keep up with the latest posts on a few or many blogs on the internet, it can be a big hassle to visit each blog website individually, checking to see if anything is new.
Enter blog readers. A blog reader is an ‘aggregator’ of blog content. You ‘subscribe’ to one or many blogs in the blog reader, and let it do the work for you. The blog reader pulls the newest posts from all the blogs that you have subscribed to, and it pulls all those posts into a single “inbox”, much like your email inbox. You can then browse and read all new blog posts in one list. Any time you find that you are no longer interested in the blog, you just “Unsubscribe”.
Avid blog fans almost never visit the individual blogs that they are interested in. They let their blog reader do all the work.
Where do you find a blog reader? As usual, there are many choices. Some are used on a website, so there is no software to buy or install. Others must be downloaded and installed on your computer. Here is an incomplete list of popular blog readers:
Google Reader (this is the one I use, I like the fact that it uses my existing Google/Gmail account to log in, no new username/pw required)
Bloglines (like Google Reader, you use this one on a website)
Newsgator (they offer both a web based reader and one that you download and install) Note that blog readers are sometimes called “RSS Readers”.
As blogs become more popular, they are being supported in software/websites you may already use. Examples include:
Once you have selected your blog reader, go to your favorite blog, and look for the “Subscribe” link. Sometimes this link is also labeled “RSS” or “ATOM”.
On Jons Blog you will find a subscribe button on the right hand column, below the archives. Click the colorful “Subscribe” button, then choose the reader you have selected.
There are other cool things that you can do with a blog reader, but I’ll save this topic for a future post.