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Friday, August 26, 2011

Subscribe?! Reader?! Follow?! Your Blogging Questions Answered

Here are some of the answers to the most common questions I receive!

What is a blog? 

A blog is a type of website which is usually described as an online diary of sorts. Blogs are typically interactive, by allowing visitors to leave their own comments and thoughts on postings (think diary entry), and generally welcome response. A blog tends to consists of text, pictures, video, and links to (mainly) other blogs. More often than not a blog has a theme, popular ones of choice being cooking, baking, crafting, home improvement, faith and motherhood. A blog is ultimately a public space for a blogger (author/writer) to share their voice. 

Ok, so what does it mean to subscribe to a blog?

Think of this like subscribing to a magazine, but electronic. When you subscribe to a magazine you know there is a new publication out because you receive it in the mail. When you subscribe to a blog, you are signing up (for free, unlike magazines) to receive a notification, through e-mail or reader, that there is a new post (entry) for your enjoyment! 

Hold it right there, I have NO idea what a 'Reader' is! 

Not to worry! I actually just learned within the last year too! After I started reading blogs, but before I learned about a reader, I had a ridiculous amount of bookmarks of blogs and Word documents saved with web addresses. What a mess! My life completely changed for the better when I learned about Google Reader. A Reader reads RSS feeds. Your head spinning yet? I hear ya! RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication: 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 (thanks Wikipedia for the definition). Ultimately the purpose of an RSS feed is to have your chosen websites and blogs release their latest posts and news to one place on your computer. This eliminates the crazy amount of bookmarks and allows you to efficiently navigate the internet by instead of visiting your 20+ favorite sites you visit one place to learn the updates of those blogs and sites, your Reader. 

I use and know Google Reader so that is what I'll walk you through. 
  • Sign into your gmail account or create a new one
  • In the top left corner of your gmail account, there is a navigation tab titled 'Reader,' click it (this will open a new window
  • At the top left in the new window there is a button that says 'Add a Subscription,' click it
(Click photo to enlarge)
  • You will stay on the same page but a box will appear where you will type in the blog address (example: or RSS feed 
  • Blogs that are using blogger (orange square with a white 'B' in the center will be in the upper left hand corner of the site) allow you to very easily add a blog to your Reader through the actual blog site by clicking 'Join this site' under Followers
(Click photo to enlarge)
  • Once you subscribe to a blog you will be notified on this Home page when that blog has a new posting, in the picture notice the blue titles that have a (1) at the end. By clicking on the blue link I can easily access an blog I desire, which will appear in a new window allowing you to conveniently close the window when you are finished and be back at your reader to move onto another blog
I hope this has helped clarify some questions! PLEASE if do not hesitate to leave a comment with further questions or shoot me and e-mail!

If you are more of a video visual learner, thank goodness for youtube! 

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