How-To: Blog Descriptions

Blogs are a very informative way to keep up with many topics: current news, technology, food, fitness, personal opinions, and much more. Some blogs are great just to browse during your free time. But many of us don’t have a lot of free time, so it’s much more efficient to sign up for notification alerts whenever the blog manager posts a new article. The process to sign up for blog notifications, however, varies from blog to blog; many blog managers prefer email, while others prefer RSS feed subscriptions.

Recently, we encountered this issue within our own offices at Black Mountain Software while RSS-feeding our own blog, and it made us think: If our own staff members don’t know all the different processes for blog subscriptions, our readers probably don’t either. So, we decided to write an article describing the different processes available for users to sign up for their favorite blogs, and the pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of Different Blog Subscription Processes

Email Signup

Email signup is perhaps the most common method for signing up for blog notifications. This process consists of a form in which visitors input their email address in order to receive Inbox notifications each time someone posts a new article on the blog. Some blog managers do have additional fields besides the email address field that you must fill in, such as name, age, etc.Keyboard-with-white-keys-and-social-media-icons-thumb-large

The cons of email signup include a potentially very full Inbox if you subscribe to a lot of blogs or a blog that posts a lot of articles.

RSS Feeds

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Basically, the RSS process is simply using a tool called a RSS feed reader to subscribe to various blog feeds. For instance, if you want to subscribe to a blog, but you don’t want to fill up your email Inbox with notifications each time the blog posts something new, you can subscribe to the feed, and then access it using your feed reader whenever you wish.

Some of the most common feed readers include Microsoft Outlook, Feedly, Mozilla Thunderbird, and The Old Reader. The process for subscribing is simple, and is basically the same between all readers. If you use Outlook, there is a handy, step-by-step tutorial that shows exactly how to subscribe to RSS feeds.

The cons of RSS feed is it is sort of “out of sight, out of mind” which means you may not see timely updates to the blog unless you remember to access your RSS feed.

Social Media

Some blogs offer a feature that allows visitors to sign up using their social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. This saves time for the signup process, and each time the user visits the blog, they simply have to authorize the connection between the blog and their social media account. This also allows the user to receive blog posts via the email account they used when signing up for their social media account.

The cons to this process are it allows the blogger access to your social media information such as friend lists and demographics, and just like email subscriptions, it can inundate your Inbox with emails. It can also make it more difficult to unsubscribe. Be sure to read the fine print carefully before signing up for a feed that is linked to your social accounts.

Keeping up with your favorite blogs can be a simple, yet organized task, depending on your choices. You can have notifications sent to your email Inbox, or you can have them sent to an RSS feed reader, where they can be accessed at a time of your choosing. If the blog offers it, you can simply sign up using your social media account to save time during signups and sign-ins. Just choose the process that is best for you, and start keeping up with your favorite blogs now.

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