How do YOU follow blogs?

Nikki Parkinson Life 44 Comments

UPDATE (March 15, 2013): Google will shut down Google Reader on July 1, 2013. As an alternative for reading blogs on my iPad, I’ll be using the Flipboard app. Details here. You can also import your feed to Bloglovin. Check out how via Grit & Glamour

 

This was a simple question that I put to the Twitterverse this week.  And I’m really glad that I did.  See, the overwhelming response to this question was met with two words:  Google Reader.

And do you think I had a Google Reader account when I sent out that innocent tweet?  Nup.

Do I have one now?  Yup.

Am I addicted already? Most definitely.

Now, if I lost you back at Google Reader.  Let me put you in the picture.

All blogs have what’s called an RSS* feed.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  You will see this symbol (on the tee below) on most blogs.  If you have a blog, then make sure it’s clearly visible.  Case in point:

@mandaashby says: blogs that make it hard to find the RSS button should be slapped 🙂


Once you have RSS feed addresses for your favourite blogs, then keeping track of when those blogs are updated is so, so easy.  And no, it doesn’t mean a whole of time spent browsing the interwebs.  That’s the whole reason you need to embrace the RSS.  Once you have a way of filing those RSS feeds away, you can skim over the posts that don’t interest you and then join in the conversation on the ones that do.

Before being enlightened as to the popularity of Google Reader and subsequently jumping on board this week, I did use RSS feeds but I used them a little differently – and perhaps not as efficiently.

1.  Mailbox folders. Some RSS feeds I have feeding right into my mailbox (not my inbox) – into special RSS folders.  You’ll find these RSS folders on both Outlook and Mac Mail systems.  Adding an RSS feed to Mail is super easy.  Just got to File; then Add RSS feeds. In Outlook it’s just a matter of going through your Account settings to add a new account under the RSS tab and follow the prompts.  I still like this system – especially for blogs that carry a lot of technical info that I may like to refer back to.

This is how my RSS feed look in Mac Mail

2.  WordPress plugin. I owe this idea to Mrs Woog. I use this plugin to highlight blogs that Styling You readers may be interested in following and reading.  I probably have about 60 blogs on my list but I’ve set the plug-in to show the 20 most current posts.  I’ve also set it to display one post per feed, the post name and the blog name.  You can play around with this plugin to suit your needs.  There are also similar ones available if you’re a Blogger blogger.

Wordpress plugin: RSS Blogroll

WordPress plugin: RSS Blogroll

3.  Bloglovin’. Now I’m a bit of a latecomer to this gem of a reader too.  I’d see these gorgeous widgets on other blogs and wonder what it was all about without really exploring further.  I was prompted to make time to explore by one of my best friends.  She’s not a blogger but she is a fashionista of the most stylish kind.  She ONLY catches up on the fashion blogs she follows via Bloglovin’.  Geez, I thought, I’d better jump on the Bloglovin’ train.  Now up until this morning, I thought Bloglovin’ was just for fashion and beauty blogs but thanks to @MummaInHeels I looked a bit further into it and found that it does have a category for almost all blogs.  Once you have set up an account, following blogs is as easy as adding the blog name to the search area.  When that blog comes up, you hit the follow button.  Now all those blog posts will be added to your Bloglovin’ feed.   A blog may also have the Follow me on Bloglovin’ widget on their blog, if so, just click through and you’re following.  And yes, there’s a Bloglovin’ iphone app or an android app for following blogs on the move.

bloglovin'

My feed in Bloglovin’

And then there is my new bestie, Google Reader.

1.  You need to set up a Google account – if you don’t already have one.  I did. So this week when I realised the gigantic hole in my geek reputation, it was just a matter of going to the Google home page, clicking on the More button and then clicking Reader.

2.  I discovered that I already had three blogs feeding into the reader because of the way I’d followed those blogs using the Google Follow widget found on most Blogger blogs (as an aside, I’m a latecomer to this too and have now added a Google Friends Connect widget to my wordpress blog … that’s how a lot of Blogger bloggers follow other blogs.  I needed to get with the program).

3.  Then I loaded up my reader with every blog I follow.  You just need to add the RSS feed address to the Add a Subscription tab and, voila, if you keep the Google Reader tab open in your web browser, it’s all there and easy to see when a blogger has posted something new.

4.  But wait, there’s more.  What if you had spare time waiting in a queue or waiting for a friend at a cafe and wanted to catch up on some blog reading?  With a smart phone, it’s as simple as adding an app and linking up your Google Account. @mummycino recommends and uses Pulse for her iPhone.  I downloaded the free verion of the app, MobileRSS.  And love it.  It’s like having my Twitter stream with me at all times … but on steriods.

5.  One last thing on Google Reader and RSS feeds.  If you are a blogger, make sure your RSS feeds are set to display the full text and not just an excerpt.  In WordPress, you can do this in the Settings-Reading section of your dashboard. The consensus is that Google Reader readers want to see the whole post in the feed.

@CelloBella (Without full post) It’s rare that I will end up going to the blog to read more or comment. That first line would have to be amazing

@KellyBeanTalker Yes, I much prefer to see the whole post!

@walshandj I guess I would rather see the whole post, but the thing that really annoys me is an excerpt with a big ad after it!

@lizosauraus really, really annoys me to see an excerpt. In most instances, I will not click through. I set up google reader for a reason but if I read the full post and want to join the discussion, or want to see more of the blog, I will happily click through.

@rahest full post in google reader please! I understand why some put partial, but is a put off for skimmers like me 🙂

@MakeupbySaraMay I get really annoyed when blogs only do an excerpt in reader, and I unsubscribe from most that do.  I subscribe to you, but I probably read it less than I would if the whole post appeared in reader. It’s just easier to skip it.  (trying to help, sorry for being blunt) xx

Sara, I’m SO grateful for you being so blunt. Truly.

It turns out I was inadvertently guilty of just that and have since discovered it was because my site was offering two different RSS feed addresses.  That’s now fixed and if you’d all like to copy and paste my correct RSS feed into your reader – http://www.stylingyou.com.au/feed/ – I promise you’ll get a full feed.

So how do YOU follow your favourite blogs?  What blogs do you recommend that I add to my Google Reader?

*There’s a really fantastic and detailed post about RSS over at Relatively Chic. I suggest once you’ve got your head around the above that you check it out.

Excited to have this post included in the Independent Fashion Bloggers Links a la Mode: Tech Weekly Roundup.  Click on some of the links below for some more great blogging tips.

 

Blogging: So Much More Than What Meets The Eye

Edited by Maggie Battles

 

Modern fashion mavens use technology in a variety of ways that might not seem so obvious to some. We use photography to showcase our style & search for new tips on how to improve our technique. We use gadgets for optimizing our own blogs and more gadgets for reading other blogs. What goes on in our blogging world is not always what meets the readers eyes, and this week we have a collection of tips for how to make our own sites better. Each week of Links A La Mode: Tech is what you might call a “Show & Tell” of what information has proven useful to us. This is a fantastic opportunity to seek help, trade info and hopefully make our blogging lives a little bit easier. Thanks to everyone who participated this week and I can’t wait to see what you all bring to the table next time!

 

LINKS À LA MODE: TECH – April 19th

  • IFB: How are you getting your blog noticed?
  • Mimosas In Bed: Top Five Reasons Why Fashion Bloggers Should Have A Tumblr
  • Miss Viki: Science Fashion: Posing in Outer Space
  • Pens & Lens: Let’s Get Technical: Blogging Using A Netbook
  • Relatively Chic: Pretty as a Picture: Blog Photos Made Easy
  • Style Eyes: Optimising Your Blogger Fashion Blog – A Beginners Guide
  • Styling You: How Do You Follow Other Blogs?

 

Comments 44

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  1. Oh thank you thank you! Just last week my Blogger Dashboard told me I couldn’t add any more blogs to it as I’d reached my limit. What the…?

    So, now I can follow and read as many as I want?

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! xx

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  2. OH MY GAWSH!!! GOOGLE READER IS THE BEST!! I’ve been using it for maybe 3 years now and it is by far my BESTEST friend. @fuyume also recommended an awesome rss importer for bberrys: Viigo. You can import your google reader as a channel there, but mobile rss for iphone/itouch is my fave and rss 5000 for ipad (even though I don’t have an Ipad) is my fave. I love the interface.

    On Bloglovin’ I know a lot of people who use this and I actually love the platform and look of this reader much better, but I can’t use it b/c I am soooo knee deep in my google reader and there’s no way to import it. Although you can follow blogs that are not even listed there by putting their address in, so I could access all the blogs I read by importing them in which is nice if you don’t have a humungous blog addiction like I do and importing one by one would take a million years. Also there is no tagging!!! Can not live without tagging.

    Ok so some tips for google reader since you are new to it!
    Making folders in google reader has changed my life. I read a lot of different kinds of blogs and you can organize them nicely that way.

    Also if you want to save a post for more in depth reading later OR to comment later TAG! TAG! TAG! I have quite a few different tags: “comment” “commented” “blogging tips” “contest entry” “share” “new store” “for me”, I have a few more for blog posting purposes but really it’s a wonderful way to keep track of things you want to go back to.

    Forgot to tag something? No worries! The search guy in the left corner is mega super useful and really good at searching in your blogs for “sweet pea guacamole” or “blow fish shoes” you read about and forgot to tag (true story in my life).

    Lastly- Use google suggestions. It’s in the “Browse for Stuff” at the top of the sidebar. Google suggests blogs based on your current subscriptions and they are typically on point. Also google has wonderful bundles that are a grouping of blogs based on topics.

    Hope these are helpful!! I’m sorry I’m maybe over commenting but I get excited easily and I’m loving your blog! And I LOVE Google Reader. Thanks!!!

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      Hi Jamillah, you can come and “over-comment” any day. That is such great, helpful information. I’m going to set up lists and follow-through with your recommendations. Thanks so much!

    2. I think you can import all your blogs from google into bloglovin. I just signed up to bloglovin today (lol I bet everbody has been signing up since the announcement). Click on your username in the top right corner and then “settings” and then scroll down to “other” which where you can import.

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  3. Done, done and done! I have now gone through and checked off every point on your list – great advice as usual!!! (Now I actually need to sit down and write a blog for people to read…..)

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  4. I subscribe with Google Reader and load to my iGoogle desktop. I love it. Every time I hit ‘home’ I get to see what’s been updated and what I may have missed. Love, love, love!

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  5. Awww. You’ve got The Mother Media up there. I feel so very spesh.xxxx

    And yes, G-Reader rocks except when it won’t let me unsub to the blogs that I’ve already unsubbed from. Ugh! And ooh, are you using g-reader on your iPhone?! You should. Makes blog reading so much easier!

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  6. I use feeddler app on iPad, I also put things into a favorites from google reader, this way, if you are in a hurry you read the favorites first and them the others.

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  7. Couldn’t survive without google reader. Came to your blog after reading it in my reader while at the hairdressers. So happy you are going to full feed!

    Although lately every few weeks I have had to declare reader bankruptcy and mark all as read!

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  8. Right! Next week (got a bit on in the next 5 days – work, conferences, presentations, headaches) – I am going to read this again with a fine tooth comb and absolutely do this. Thanks for sharing!

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      Hi Penny, oh, that sounds like an intense lead up to Easter! Once you have Google Reader set up it will actually save you time in keeping up with your favourite blogs. Your’s is on my list already!

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