Aggregators vs Email?

Without further ado this post is dedicated to Mike who has been poking at me for months to explain to our readers how to easily subscribe to our blog posts.  You have two choices of subscription:  RSS feed or email, either is a time saver for all of you.  For those who crave thorough tutorials and even those who like to learn new things this is worth reading.

RSS FEED:

Though quite well-known amongst bloggers, it shouldn’t go without lauding:  Aggregators.  There are bound to be a few dozen of you who don’t know what you’re missing out on.  This post is for you.

If you find yourself tediously entering and re-entering the URLs of your favorite blogs throughout the day, just hoping that someone has posted a new entry, read on.  You need an aggregator.  I currently use Google Reader.

Google Reader is a free, online service that allows you to organize and monitor your favorite blogs.  When you are logged into your account, you are able to see when new entries have been posted on each of the blogs you ‘subscribe’ to.  Subscribing to blogs is free and many blogs have a “Subscribe in Google Reader” or “Subscribe to this Feed” button in their sidebar to make the process even easier.  Rsssymbol Otherwise, you can click on a blog’s RSS feed icon in your browser’s address bar (usually looks like a little square with three curved ‘sound’ bars radiating outward – example to the right).  The RSS icon will take you to the blog’s RSS feed, where there are usually some subscription options, including Google Reader.  Here is what my RSS feed page looks like.

There are many similar services to Google Reader, such as Bloglines, My Yahoo, NewsFire, and many others.  I’ve only ever used Google Reader, so I’m not too familiar with the alternatives.  All such blog-subscribing services are called aggregators (or feed-readers, rss readers, news readers, etc.).  Using an aggregator is an absolute life-saver if you’re following a long list of blogs on a regular basis.  An aggregator enables you to compose a virtual daily ‘personal newspaper’ of all of your favorite blog ‘articles’ (aka rss feeds or posts) which you can read one after the other right there under your account — or you can click on a link to each post if you prefer to read new posts in their original setting within a blog (my preference).

A lot of info?  Let me just say it is totally worth looking into.  The time you spend learning your way around Google Reader or another aggregator will easily pay off in spades.  One hour learning how to use an aggregator could easily gain you three hours more free time in the next week or two alone.

Visit this awesome video for a visual on this topic.

I must give credit for most of the RSS Feed content to one of my bloggy friends, Heather Bailey.  Why reinvent the wheel right?

EMAIL:

For those of you who don’t read a lot of blogs or just purely have no interest in aggregators you have the option of subscribing via email.  This means you’ll receive an email from our blog anytime we post something new.  All you need to do is enter your email address into the “GET OUR STORIES” field which looks like this and is located on the right column of our blog page.

Once you enter your email address and click on the subscribe button you’ll see a window like this:

See the word in green?  You must enter the text exactly as you see it into the field provided.  Once you’ve entered the text you will see a window like this:

Read the message inside the window above and follow the directions and shortly thereafter you’ll receive an email that looks like this:

Once you click on the link inside your email you’ll see a window like this:

This means your mission is complete and you’ll be receiving all of our new blog posts all nice and dandy right into your very own email box.

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