This page is a response to requests from writers at conferences and in online groups who have said they need help learning how to subscribe to blogs.
Why should a writer need to know how to subscribe to blogs by RSS feed? Perhaps your favorite blog does not offer e-mail subscription, and you want to know when there is new material. Once you learn how to manage RSS feed subscriptions, you can use them to track other blogs that offer great information for writers. Also, when you set up your own blog, you’ll need to be familiar with the concept to get subscribers yourself.
Subscribing in Your Browser
Newer versions of Internet Explorer have a feeds subscription feature built in. Here’s how-to information for Internet Explorer. I use Mozilla Firefox for my Web browsing. I’m told by technical types that it is the best because it is faster and more secure. Firefox is a free download here. There’s an add-on for tracking RSS feeds in the Firefox browser available on their add-on site. It works from the Tools menu once it’s installed.
Subscribing in Your E-mail Client
Some e-mail programs allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds and receive them in a separate folder. Windows Live Mail (free) and Outlook 2007 (not free), both Microsoft products, are the two that I am most familiar with.
You can find instructions on how to set up your feeds in the various versions of Outlook by searching the Microsoft support site. I have copied the basic set-up instructions here, but there is much more information on the site, so it’s worth a visit.
Add an RSS Feed through the Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 Account Settings dialog box (from Microsoft site).
- On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.
- On the RSS Feeds tab, click New.
- In the New RSS Feed dialog box, type or press CTRL+V to paste the URL of the RSS Feed. For example, http://www.example.com/feed/main.xml.
- Click Add.
- Click OK.
I used to use Google Reader, but Google stopped offering it recently. I’m currently using Feedly, but I don’t like it as much as I liked Google Reader. Other options are listed in this article on Cnet, “Google Reader Is Done: Here Are a Few Alternatives.”
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