Subscribing to a Blog - The Basics

Basic information on how to keep up with your favorite blogs by Joe Beine

Reading and Subscribing to a Blog - the Basics

A blog (short for weblog) is like an online journal. It can be about anything the blogger (blog author) wants to write about -- politics, golf, the Beatles -- whatever interests the blogger might have. I have a genealogy blog and I'll be using it as an example throughout this article. You can read my blog here...

Genealogy Roots Blog

The latest entry (blog post) is at the top followed by a few previous entries. You can usually read older posts by looking in the archives - see the links in the sidebar on the blog's homepage.

But what if you don't want to visit a blog every day just to see if there are updates? And what if you want to keep up with more than one blog? Almost all blogs have a "feed" that allows you to subscribe to the blog and be notified when it's updated.

Subscribe to a blog's feed (sometimes called an RSS feed)

Ack! This sounds complicated. Ok, it is a little techno geeky, but it's actually kind of simple. Just think of the title of any blog post as being like a newspaper headline. Using a thing called a news reader (or feed reader) you can be notified whenever your favorite blog is updated. Then all you have to do is click on a blog headline that interests you to read that specific blog post.

Some popular news readers are Google Reader, MyYahoo, and Bloglines.

Here's where to go to set up my blog's feed in your news reader...

Genealogy Roots Blog Feed

When you get there you'll see a bunch of news readers to choose from. For example, if you use MyYahoo, click on the MyYahoo logo and my blog's feed headlines will show up on your MyYahoo page.

Sometimes you may see a blog with a "subscribe" link or a feed link that takes you to a page full of gibberish. What you're seeing is the blog's raw feed data - pretty much useless to us mere mortals, but useful to a feed reader. You can usually copy and paste that feed URL into your news reader, which will then give you links to the blog's recent posts.

Subscribe to a blog by email

Some blogs may have an email subscription option. Subscribing by email allows you to receive each blog post sent to your email address. My blog has an email subscription option in the sidebar on the right side.

Happy blog reading!

Genealogy Blogs

Directory of Cool Genealogy Blogs

Cyndi's List - Blogs for Genealogy