Monday, 23 July 2012

Finding & subscribing to other blogs

Do you regularly visit other blogs? Reading (and preferably commenting, but only when you have a genuine comment) is an important aspect of connecting your own blog with the blogosphere.

The kinds of blogs you should seek out are:

  1. industry peers/competitors (if you are blogging for fun then you probably won't see others as competitors, but even if you blog for business you may still view competitors as potential collaborators or blogging buddies. And if not, you still want to keep tabs on them, don't you?)
  2. related blogs (where the content complements yours - not just the obvious, think laterally here)
  3. mentor blogs (for example, more experienced bloggers who are generous about sharing their learnings, acknowledged experts or just bloggers you admire)
  4. anything that catches your eye or that looks interesting!

Finding blogs
Do searches on Google as well as Google blogsearch and also try some of the specialist blog communities such as FoodBlogs, Technorati, or BlogCatalog.
Once you find two or three great blogs, check out their blog rolls for ideas of blogs they follow.

Keeping up with blogs
The great thing about blogs is that (unlike a normal website) you can subscribe to them, meaning whenever they are updated you receive an alert. This is much more convenient than bookmarking, which relies on you remembering to return to a website. With website, you go to them, but with blogs, they come to you.

First of all you need an account with a feed reader or aggregator. A simple option is to add feeds to your email client, such as Outlook or Macmail. This way, any new blog posts from those blogs you subscribe to will appear alongside your email. If your email client doesn't offer this, then you'll need to use a dedicated feed reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines.

This is what my Google Reader looks like
I have a Google Reader account, although I confess I use Feedly, which is a kind of user-friendly magazine-style feed reader which is actually powered by Google Reader. Feedly provides a handy bookmarklet which you just click on when you find a blog you want to subscribe too. It also presents everything in such a way that it's easy to skim through for new posts and read the summaries.

Feedly's user-friendly format and subscription 'bookmarklet'
make it a popular tool
Once you have a neat way of subscribing to and keeping up with blogs, it's just a question of checking your feed reader once a day for anything new and exciting.

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