How to read a blog

You might read a great article on the internet today. You really enjoyed the author and found their blog. The only problem is the issue of remembering the url and going back to it frequently to see if anything new is up. This is a drag.

Blogs changed the way we read online and gave us an easier way to take in content.

Blogs became such a hit because of content organization. They are different from any other type of journalism and changed much of how we learn things and get our news. That means we want to be able to find our favorites time and time again. I remember having a bookmark system in my internet browser to organize the blogs I read. I would check them several times a day to see if a new post was up. Over 10 years ago when blogs first came on the scene, people had to find ways to read certain blogs as often as they posted.

The beauty of blogs was having access to the same person sharing information over many different posts. It was a journalistic game changer. Think of what the internet would be like without blogs. But how do we read blogs?*

Times have changed. The nearest thing to compare blogs to is a daily newspaper, which many of us subscribe to. We want our paper delivered to us daily. You can do the same things with blogs. While many people know how to stay up to date on their favorite sites, others might not. Following blog is easier now than every before. Whenever I read a great blog post I want to come back to the author over and over for more of their content. I’m sure you do as well!

Here are the easiest ways to read a blog.

Use an RSS reader.
RSS stands for real simple syndication. It is the tiny bit of code in blogs that allows them to be subscribed to. This means you can read blog posts in secondary locations (not the original blog). This software constantly updates the sites you subscribe to, saving you for traipsing around the internet looking to see if that pizza blog has a new post.

For years Google Reader ruled the roost of RSS readers. Sadly, in just a few days Google Reader will shut down. Have no fear! There are plenty of other options if you want to stay with a basic RSS reader. Feedly appears to have the most support and if Michael Hyatt likes it…I’m in.

Use an app on your phone/tablet.
RSS changed the game and allows for other methods of blog subscription. Whenever mobile computing (phones/tablets) became a legitimate method of content consumption we started to see specialized apps developed for reading blogs.

Imagine reading a magazine you edit yourself. Updated multiple times a day, you always have fresh things to read. Amazing!

I use Flipboard on my iPad daily. Prismatic seems to be another really great option. I can send multiple RSS feeds into the app as well as my twitter, Facebook and other social feeds into Flipboard. All of this is done through RSS. It’s as simple as putting in the website url.

Sign up for emails subscription
Back in the early days of blogging an email subscription was the only way besides bookmarks to read your favorite blogs. It fell out of favor for years, but has started to make a comeback. They can be as simple as a text document delivered into your inbox or an elaborate html based email which looks just like a mini-website.

I subscribe to a handful of blogs via email. They have to be great to get inbox real estate.

Follow the writer in a special list on twitter
People reading blogs differently put the nails in the coffin of Google Reader. Before Twitter and Facebook you either link chased or used Google Reader.

Once people realized the potential Twitter and Facebook had for their writing everything changed. I have a few twitter lists of certain people (less than 20) I follow. I don’t subscribe to their blog through another service. I just look for updates that look particularly interesting. They are collected by subject; Methodist Pastors, social media writers and food writers.

What is your favorite way to read a blog?
Let me know in the comments

*Tiny soapbox here. You own a blog and your write a post.  A blog is a website inside which an author or authors make independently (but hopefully related) standing posts.  Whenever I see people referring to single posts as “blogs” it gets confusing and slightly aggravating. The beauty of a blog is how it creates a new communication medium…and the language of “posts” are part of the new medium. Remember, you own a blog and you write a post. (Chad steps off soapbox)