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Sunday, December 28, 2008

6 Ways to keep up with Blog Updates using RSS


If you've been reading blogs for a while now, then you must've heard about RSS. Wiki defines RSS as "a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works - such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format." In simple words, it allows you to keep up with changes on Blogs, News sites, Photo Galleries, Video Streams etc. 

RSS is pretty popular now with nearly every Blog offering a RSS Feed. After exploring a few options, I've updated the Subscribe Box for my Blog too!

So here are 6 (Tried & Tested!) ways of using RSS to keep track of your favorite Blogs:

1. Online Feed Reader
They are in plenty, and I've already reviewed Google Reader before. These "Web Apps" allow you to easily add blogs that you read and keeps you updated with their new posts. You can even arrange blogs in folders/labels to organize your collection better (Say one for Tech Blogs, one for Music Blogs etc). 

One major advantage is that they can be accessed anywhere and work just like your email account. The disadvantage is that you need to be connected to net, and a slow net connection won't be very helpful!

Two of my favorite Online Feed Readers are Google Reader (Used earlier) & Newsgator (Popular thanks to FeedDemon). Here's the complete list.

2. Offline Feed Reader
For those who don't have 24x7 internet, or a slow internet connection (BITSians reading?), this is one of the best way to read blogs. Offline Feed Readers allow you to keep a list of blogs you like to read and fetch the posts whenever you connect to the net. The content is saved locally, so you can read/refer to the content later without the net. Some of them even let you download images in the post (Though it'll take more time).

This is helpful for those who read a lot of blogs (Like Tech-News Blogs/Tutorial Blogs etc). Also for those where internet is available for a short time/at a high charge (Blog Feeds don't include the template design, so they are 'lighter'). One major disadvantage is that Blog Readers tend to just read the post and not comment (Just a word about the post helps a Blogger understand what to write & how to write!)

Two of my favorite Offline Feed Readers are FeedDemon (Currently using - It's great!) & RSS Bandit (Pretty similar, but still lacks some features). Here's the complete list

PS: Google Reader also let's you read feeds offline, but you'll need to install Google Gears (Didn't work very well for me) 

3. Through Email Subscription
This one's for those who check their mail regularly and prefer everything to be available at one place. If the blog you're reading offers Email subscription (Mine does now! Yay!), just fill in the form and you're done. Otherwise you can switch to a web service (I found FeedBlitz the best) and it'll send you the updates directly to your inbox.

This works great for a few blogs (Ones with low frequency of posts), but who would like to see an Inbox filled with only Blog Updates? If that's the case, don't forget to make a Filter/Label for them (If you're using GMail, check Filters & other features I posted about!)

4. Blog Roll aka Blog Lists
Do you have a blog? Then I'm sure you have added a Blog List (You've added me haven't you?) which was launched in June'08.  You can tweak it to display sort blogs according to last post date, display the latest post title etc. A must-have for all bloggers! Here're the official post(s)!

5. 'Follow' Blogs using Blogger's Follower Feature!
This is one of the less popular feature, but it helps bring all your Blog related stuff to your Blogger Dashboard. Below the list of your blogs, there's a section in which you can add Blogs that you read. 

Try it out! Head to your Dashboard ( You may have to sign in) and scroll down. Click on Add, and enter my blog's url: http://irrashonallyurs.blogspot.com/. And you're done! 

The main advantage of this is that once you start "following" a blog, it is visible in your Blogger Profile, thus allowing others to know what Blogs you read (You can turn this off too). Also, you can show-off your Blog's Followers by using a neat Widget. Read The Official Post(s) to know more!

6. Use Live Bookmarks in Firefox!
Surely you've noticed the RSS button that is displayed next to the address bar when you're viewing my blog (Or any website with RSS Support). Click on that and subscribe to the blog. This will make a Folder for the Blog with Links to each post. And it keeps updating the list with new posts!

I used this feature, but it was too basic (Unread Posts? Search? Save/Export Blog List?). And it doesn't support OPML format. (It's used to export the list of blogs you are reading. Leave a comment if you want to know more!)


So which method do you use the most? Have you subscribed to my blog? (If yes, then what are you using?) Not sure what to use/how to switch? Do let me know!

12 comments:

Ramana KV said...

Google reader seems to work fine for me.. Haven't tried others..

You have some nice sketches here..

HitesH said...

gr8. ty. it is a very useful info ...i ll make sure i try all :P

RaSh said...

@Ramana: Thnx! Your artwork is really impressive too!

@Hitesh: I've updated a few links I had missed (Thnx Mustang for pointing out :D). Do check them out!

Utkarsh Sinha said...

I've tried rss owl.. an offline rss reader.. its quite good :) and I didn't know about the email subscription thing.. thanks for informing :)

RaSh said...

@Utkarsh: RSS Owl? Sounds nice.. will surely check it out. Do try out FeedDemon!

Oh and if you're interested about email subscription, check out FeedMyInbox - Another nice site!

Mainak said...

Blog lists are my favourites - one can go from one blog to another & keep discovering new blogs

RaSh said...

@Mainak:
True! Infact thanks to the new way in which Google "reads" blogs now, Blog lists also help you get the "link juice", ie. if more people have you in their Blog List, you rank higher in Google results.

Keep Bloggin ;)

Ryan said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sarah

http://www.lyricsdigs.com

RaSh said...

Hey thanks for dropping by! I'm glad you left a comment. Its inspiring to know that people like reading my blog! :)

Keep Reading!

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