Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How To Follow Blogs and Make Bloggers Happy

This post is for my friends and family that are new to following blogs and my definitions may not be all accurate and stuff and things.

What is a blog?
A blog is like a journal.  The blogger writes posts about topics they are interested in.  For me that is Wyatt, food, and fitness.  There are a kazillion blogs out there.  I love to follow bloggers because you get to know the writers personally and you can find up to date information about topics you are interested in.  I follow blogs on couponing, raising children, religion, makeup, fitness, friends, food, and cloth diapers.  Whatever your interests may be, there are several bloggers blogging about it on a daily basis.

How to get blog updates:
A blog is a website that the blogger updates as often as they want to.  You can check the website frequently to get updates but that is the old skewl way.  You can subscribe to email updates so that every time the blogger writes a new post, you get an email letting you know what the content of the post is.  On my site, look for the WANT EMAIL UPDATES? box in the right hand side. 
The hippest way to get blog updates is to use an RSS reader.  RSS is just a standard way of providing data to software so that the software can notify the blog readers that there is new content.  RSS Readers also allows the blog reader to organize and manage their subscriptions. For me, that means putting my blogs into folders (food, fitness, parenting) and letting me know which ones are read/unread.  It also allows me to favorite ones (ex: recipes I want to try).  Read more details here on Wikipedia.  

How to know if a site offers an RSS format:
In Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer, you will see the RSS block or orange button indicating that there is an RSS format.  In Firefox, it is hidden because nobody ever clicked the button.  Click it for fun and you can see the RSS version of the data.  Most sites that publish content frequently provide an RSS version of their data. You can follow news that way too. 
Safari (see the RSS at the end of the address bar)

Firefox (see the icon immediately after the address bar)

RSS Readers:
Now that you know about RSS, you can pick your RSS Reader Software and get started.  I use Google Reader when on a computer and FeeddlerRSS on my iPhone.  Feeddler just uses Google Reader.   Go here http://www.google.com/reader/ and create an account to get started.  Or find a different RSS Reader software if you are anti Google.  Google Reader provides a nice how to page. Once you have an account, you can click Subscribe and enter the web address for pages you would like to receive content updates for.  Most blogs will provide short cuts for you to subscribe in a reader.  On my site, click the drop down next to Posts under Subscribe and you can simply click add to Google.

How to Make Bloggers Happy:
This is the most important part.  Even though there are all these fancy ways to receive updates (email, RSS readers, etc), go to the bloggers site occasionally.  They love to see the traffic (I get 2 hits a day).  They love to count the number of people subscribing to their blog in Google Reader (I have 5).  They love, love, love to get comments (I get less than 1 a day). They love friends on Google Friend Connect (I have 6).  They love email subscribers (I have 6). I am pretty sure I will have people sponsoring me soon with all of this traffic.  

Enough rambling?  I thought so.  Does this confuse you more?  Maybe so.  I would love to help make it clearer.  Maybe you could ask me a question in a comment??  Exciting for me and you!



At April 4, 2012 at 9:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is awesome! Love it!

At April 4, 2012 at 1:52 PM , Blogger Beth said...

You sound like me when I get started on nutrition/biochemistry! Can you give tips on making blogger behave? It is such a pain to add pictures and move them around. I also can't cut and paste or link to websites...
Also, for another day, how about computer tips like how to "clean" your machine to make it run better...?
I love your regular posting and seeing it in my email inbox in the morning!

At April 4, 2012 at 2:38 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

I get notified in email, did you count me?? Unless I comment I usually just read it from there too.

At April 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM , Blogger FunFiveMinutesAgo said...

Oh I counted you!!!

At April 5, 2012 at 9:55 AM , Blogger FunFiveMinutesAgo said...

I don't have any of the blogger problems you have. Are you using new or old blogger? Try switching back and forth and see if that fixes. I will work on some other computer tips ;)

At April 8, 2012 at 1:01 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

Readers need a way to get notified about comments....I may never remember to check back to see what you replied with. Can you just txt me instead?


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