Sunday, April 02, 2006

Subscribing with RSS: A Step-by-step, How-to guide.

If you already know why you want to subscribe to your favorite blogs, you and I have something in common. If you already know how, on the other hand, then until recently you were miles ahead of me.

If you don't know why you'd want to subscribe to your favorite blogs, let me tell you. If you are like me, the number of blogs you want to read has outgrown your ability to keep track of them. I've started using my link list as a way to save their addresses, but even that doesn't allow me to know when my favorite blogs have been updated, and it takes time to click through that many sites. Time is one thing I never seem to have enough of, and as much as I enjoy reading blogs, I've found that I just can't click through every one of my favorites every time I get a chance to read. An RSS reader will allow me to keep track of the links, and know when each blog was last updated.

I've had my blog set up to provide RSS feeds since I started blogging. RSS = Really Simple Syndication. I vaguely understood what RSS did - a visitor could subscribe to my site and be notified when it updated. What I didn't know, was how they did it. I decided to find out, and on the assumption that some of you don't know either, I'm sharing what I learned in a step by step "how-to" guide.

I've decided show you two different ways to subscribe - an online reader, and a feed aggregator that you can download to your desktop. The online reader is remarkably easy to use and can be accessed from any number of different computers, but limits you to fifty feeds (sites you can subscribe to). The aggregator is a little more complicated, but not much, and will let subscribe to a limitless number of feeds.

My forums will be home to a reading/discussion group, a place to share tips on writing and getting published, and an online critique group. I have no idea if there is enough interest among my visitors to justify my having a forum, but I can think of only one way to find out. I hope you'll add it to your list of favorite stops.

I'm using this little learning adventure as an opportunity to introduce my forums. I've posted the how-to guides there, and since there are dozens of different RSS (and XML) readers,I hope those of you who are familiar with other readers will tell us about them there, and share their relative advantages and disadvantages.

The How-To Guide to subscribing to your favorite blogs using RSS is here.

Just want to tour my forums? Click Here.

Mark Pettus,
Sunday, April 02, 2006

6 comments so far. Thank you, Blogger Mr. Faust, Blogger Adam Hurtubise, Blogger Shesawriter, Blogger S. R. Hatcher, Blogger Mark Pettus, Blogger anne frasier,

Let me know what you think

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at 11:13 AM Blogger Mr. Faust said...

One more for your list: I subscribe to The Bluff via Bloglines

at 11:47 AM Blogger Adam Hurtubise said...

Thanks, Mark--

I have a better understanding now.

I'm not there yet, re: syndication and readers and feeds, but I'm getting there.


at 6:40 PM Blogger Shesawriter said...

I'm not there either. The syndication thing and feeds still puzzle me.

Look, I just write and post. LOL! That's about all I can handle.

at 7:52 PM Blogger S. R. Hatcher said...

I thought great strides had been made by getting a blog set up. I have yet to figure out adding links. Pathetic I know. But I'll check out the information you've posted.

at 9:07 PM Blogger Mark Pettus said...

Faust - Thanks. Care to show us how it works? I registered for bloglines and was told to wait for an activation email. I'm still waiting. :(

Adam, Sharon, Tanya - I know how you all feel. About an hour into researching for this post I thought to myself that this might be a sign I'm taking this blogging thing way too serious...

As for the reading side, though - the Technorati thing is so easy - it's a real shame they won't allow limitless favorites.

at 5:02 PM Blogger anne frasier said...

my attempt to understand this feed business gives me a feeling of vague disquiet. and technorati dissed me with code that refused to show up in my template. not sure what that was all about, but i hope to shake off the rejection soon. ;)


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