flickr photo shared by Oblong under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license
One of the challenges with blogs is how to follow. Although you could simply ‘check in’ regularly, this is not only frustrating, but also a little tedious. Another way is to follow via links post through social media and other outlets. This is ok, but dependent on publishers sharing, which is not always the case. Here then are some other alternatives for how to follow a blog:

  • Email Subscription: The most obvious way to sign up for a blog is to subscribe by email. Platforms provide a means to add what is called a ‘subscription widget’. This is an add-on which allows visitors to enter their email address and subscribe to notifications via email.
  • Following: In addition to subscribing, most blogging platforms have the built-in ability to follow. This means blogs are posted to a central feed found on the dashboard and depends on having an account. Although you can easily follow multiple blogs this way, this method still has the problem of you having to check-in to find out and is not much different to simply checking the blog itself. It is also restricted to the platform in question.
  • RSS Reader: Another alternative following a blog (or multiple blogs) is using an RSS reader. RSS stands for ‘Rich Site Summary’ and is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Most websites have an RSS feed. You know if you have found a feed when the link ends with XML. Although many email applications have RSS readers built in, they can be a little clunky. An alternative is Feedly, an application which allows you sort all your feeds and information in one place, although there are many others out there.
  • If This Then That: IFTTT is an application which allows you to create recipes connected with different applications and websites. It allows you to easily automate a lot of processes. For example, by using the application on your mobile, you can set a recipe to automatically save your photographs to Dropbox or Google Drive. Using IFTTT, you can create a recipe where if there is a new post associated with a particular RSS then it will send you an email.

Like so many things online, there are no simple solutions, what is important is finding the method that works best for you.

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A Guide to Following Blogs by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

6 thoughts on “A Guide to Following Blogs

  1. Hi Aaron

    Thanks for sharing. We talk less about how to subscribe to blogs compared to when I first started blogging for a number of reasons. Social networks and the mobile web have played important roles in these changes.

    My thoughts are email subscription is a ‘must have’ for an educators blog. Those who are less tech savvy prefer to be notified by email while more experienced are more likely to use RSS. Where possible I would add the email subscription link near the top of the sidebar as better to make it obvious for less tech savvy who are less likely to look for it.

    Personally I prefer using Feed readers than following because it is platform independent. RSS isn’t as popular as it once was however Feedly is the more popular choice now. Here is our information on how to use Feedly –

    Worth also considering apps like Flipboard. Most people now read content on mobile devices which has also lead to an increase in sourcing content from their social networks and a decrease in reliance on RSS. My instinct also feels there has been a shift towards more consumption of content via Facebook and away from some of the other social networks. I’m still pondering my thoughts on Facebook.

    There has also been some really interesting changes to how to read content on student blogs compared to how we did it when I first started blogging.


    • Thanks Sue for the comment.
      I have taken on the position of eSmart co-ordinator this year and have started a school-based blog going back to some of the basics. When someone asks a question, I respond. I repost here to keep my own repository.
      I agree about Flipboard and Facebook. I have written about other mediums elsewhere (
      Like your advice about putting email subscriptions close to the top. Never thought about that.
      At this stage, I have not even broached student comments. I am wary of some getting the educational bends. Pushing the idea of the class blog first. From little things big things grow.


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