Thursday, February 16, 2012

What does it mean to "subscribe" to a blog and how do I do it?

Not really finance related, but this may be useful to some people.

If you look over on the right hand side of this page there is a link that says "Subscribe to Finance Clippings".  If you click this link you'll see a bunch of options.   So what exactly is all this stuff?

There are a variety of ways you can view this (and any other blog).  The two most common ways are either to bookmark it and then go the actual page of the blog whenever you want to see what is new, or get the blog "syndicated" to a reader.  The first is pretty obvious, but let me talk about the second as it is the better option.

I use gmail, and part of gmail is something called google reader.  Google reader is an "RSS" feed reader which basically puts all your blog feeds in one place.  When a blog is updated, the blog posting automatically shows up in your reader.  It's sort of like email for blogs.   Google reader is great because you can subscribe to lots of blogs and quickly navigate through the posts - skipping over the boring stuff and then stopping to read the good stuff.  You can star your favorite posts to come back and read them later.

Here's a screenshot of my google reader...
You'll notice all the blogs I subscribe to are on the left hand side.  When a new posting is made by one of these bloggers, the post will show up in my reader.  I usually look at them while I am eating lunch.

I also subscribe to other non-finance blogs, but the screenshot only shows the finance stuff.

So how do you get a blog to show up in your reader?  

If you click on the subscribe link in my blog and select google and then google reader, then the feed will automatically be added.  

If the blog you are interested in doesn't have that feature then you just need to click on a button that says RSS and you should get a link.  Click the button on the reader page that says "SUBSCRIBE" - its the big red one, and paste this RSS link in there.  The blog should show up.

If you don't want to use google reader, there are lots of apps that can fetch blog feeds.  You can get these for your phone, or your computer.  Reeder is a popular one for Apple products.  There a hundreds for windows - just google RSS reader.  Personally though, I like Google reader best.