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>Blog Feeds Tutorial or Primer or ???


I’ve been blogging now for about 2 years — 1.5 with Romance Worth Killing For and my personal blog for about 6 months prior. Once RWKF got off the ground, I shut down my personal blog–I didn’t have enough to say for two blogs.

Somewhere along the line, I (obviously) decided I did have enough to say.

Today, I figured out feeds. For those of you who don’t understand feeds, like I didn’t understand feeds, this might serve as a rudimentary start. And all those feed experts out there (yeah, I’m talking to you, Spy and Linda) can tune in and offer their experience.

A web feed allows users/readers to subscribe to a blog. Most people subscribe to several feeds and use a feed reader (or aggregator) to combine all the feeds into one location where the user /reader can view all of the fresh information at the same time.

The obvious benefit to the user is that they can get notified by whichever aggregator service they want to use when new information is posted on one of the user’s flagged sites/blogs. No more skipping around from one blog to another to see who’s posted yet that day or whether they’ve posted something you want to read or not.

But there are benefits to the blogger, too. Typically, a blog with an available feed enjoys increased readership, because access is easier–and that’s why we all blog, right…to be read? Also, if you subscribe to your own blog, you can see how many other people have a feed to it (but only those utilizing the same service as you). And if you’re counting hits, it’s important to know that those who read your blog through a service won’t be shown on your hit stats–so you may have more viewers than your typical hit counter shows.

I use Bloglines. Linda turned me on to it a while back, but I didn’t feel like figuring it out, so I skipped it. Now I’m on board, and I love it. I only subscribe to about a dozen blogs (nothing compared to Spy’s 100+), but I’ve found it very convenient, and blog hopping has become fun again. I find myself more willing to read and comment when I’m not thumbing through tens and tens of blogs looking for topics of interest. Now I just click on a blog, scan it and either read or click to the next blog.

Because there are so many feed reader services out there, I suggest using Addthis, because it allows the user to add the feed to the feeder of his/her choice vs. the “blogger feeder” or the “blogline feeder” or the “yahoo feeder”.

To add a button with your feed info:

  • click on the “Get your free widget”
  • choose “feed widget” from the top drop down list
  • select your widget style
  • select where you will place your button
  • enter the URL of the blog where you’re placing the button (i.e. http://joanswan.blogspot.com/)
  • choose your blog platform
  • select “no stats” if you want no strings (or you can get stats by creating an acct. with Addthis)
  • click “get your free button”

A new window will display the HTML code for you to add to your blog template to incorporate your new feed button.

Wha-la. You’ve got a feed. (BTW, Edie — your blog needs one!)

How’d I do? How many of you use feeders already? How many of you have them linked to your blog?

And a thanks to Spy for getting me with the program.