I’m sure you have a few websites or blogs that you enjoy reading. Do you almost check back on these sites regularly, daily or multiple times a day even, to make sure you don’t miss their updated posts?
Multiple times, these sites tell you to subscribe to them. What does that mean? Does it mean you have to pay some membership fees? Are you signing up for all these silly promotion emails that you always mark as spam anyways?
Well, the short answer is no.
If you’re constantly checking on the same few sites weekly, daily or sometimes a few times a day for new and updated content, there’s a simpler and easier way by just subscribing to these sites. This way, the site will push their updated content to you, without you having to power up your browser, type in the URL, wait for the site to load and scroll through where you left off.
Here are some ways you can subscribe to your favourite sites:-
In the older days (or maybe you still do that today), most people would bookmark these sites on your browser. You might even take the extra effort to create and organise the different types of sites / blogs into different folders.
Additionally, there are a number of other Bookmarking services out there that will allow you to save your bookmarks and interesting links in the cloud. These “Social Bookmarking” services are free and sometimes even include other features for sharing and organisation. Check out social bookmarking tools such as Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon and more.
A lot of browsers these days, like Google Chrome, even allows you to sync your bookmarks to your Google account, so you can access them even with a friend’s or public computer.
Bookmarking is a common practice. Heck, I even have a number of bookmark folders on my browser. But I wouldn’t suggest you do that to sites or blogs with regularly updated content, like news sites or blogs. It’s a good practice for sites that you don’t check too regularly or doesn’t refresh their content too frequently. Like company sites or certain articles you like, but not necessarily interested in other contents in the full site.
Subscribe by email
Many sites, including mine, has an email subscription option. This means that you will receive an email of new posts whenever it’s published.
This is what you would call an email newsletter, aka e-newsletter. There are several ways a website / blog will send you email updates.
- Daily email : When the site posts several posts daily, they usually send you a daily digest with a consolidation of their posts for the day.
- Push email : Email is sent as and when a new post is published.
- Other promotions or announcements : Sometimes separate from your new post updates, you’ll get occasional promo emails.
Most blogs, like this site, will send you “Push Email” where every time a new blogpost is published, you will receive an email of the content. You won’t even need to visit the site. You can however, still choose to click on the email link to go to the site, should you choose to visit the site for more info, other content or perhaps share the article and comment.
Subscribe via RSS news feed
E-newsletter subscription is common as everybody online has an email address. However, if you subscribe to more than a handful of sites, you will be flooded with multiple emails in your Inbox. Furthermore, you might not even have time to clear them or read every single one.
That’s where RSS News Feeds come in. This subscription method is handy of you subscribe to multiple sites and email would not be feasible.
News feeds, technically known as RSS (Really Simple Syndication), it’s a format used to push content from your favourite websites or blogs to the reader of your choice. This is also shown here in this blog (found on the right sidebar navigation) represented by the below icon, which is a standard RSS icon.
What RSS News Feed does is basically turn the content of the post and present it in a format with just the content (text, posts, videos, etc) without the whole site’s look and feel and navigations. Yes – it pulls just the content!
You will need a News Feed Reader though. How do you find one? The most popular news feed reader is Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader). It’s a free service that you’ll only need a Google account (Gmail account is fine) to login. All you need to do when you click on the RSS icon, it will allow you to add that site’s feed into your reader of choice, in this case, Google Reader.
In Google Reader, you can then opt to organise your subscriptions into the respective folders, according to the content / site type.
There is no limitation on the number of news feeds you can subscribe to. There’s no limit on how many folders you can create. As you can see from the screenshot above of my News Feeds subscriptions, I have a lot!
Instead of clicking on RSS icons on the sites to subscribe to news feeds, you can also browse and subscribe to sites straight from Google Reader.
With the giant red button marked “Subscribe”, you can browse the site or enter the URL of the site that you’d like to subscribe to its News Feeds.
Google Reader is a handy tool, although it might not be the prettiest of the bunch. There are a lot of other News Feed Readers out there (paid or free) that will sync to your Google Reader, allowing you to access from multiple devices be it on the desktop, email client, browser or mobile. Check out these prettier alternatives:-
- Desktop : FeedDemon (Windows), Omea Reader (Windows), Reeder (Mac), NewsBar (Mac)
- Email Client : Outlook (Windows), Mozilla Thunderbird (Windows, Mac)
- Browser : Feedly (Chrome, Firefox), NewsBlur (Web)
- Mobile : Flipboard (Android, iOS), Pulse (Android, iOS, Kindle), Feedly (iOS, Android), gReader (Android), Reeder (iOS)
Mobile apps like Feedly, Flipboard and Pulse makes news feed reading like flipping through a magazine with their beautiful layout and intuitive browsing features.
Note : In the next blogpost, I will write about my review of Feedly, both on the Chrome browser as well as on my Android tablet and mobile.
When you subscribe to a website / blog with RSS News Feeds, you will be pushed their latest content as and when it’s published. This eliminates the need for you to check the website for the latest news. Push happens instantly, so you are sure you’re getting the latest post from the site. You can choose to read all the articles or select those that interests you, whenever you want with your favourite news reader.
As mentioned, RSS news feed subscription is handy when you subscribe to multiple sites / blogs with multiple contents that you can glance from one reader.
As you can see, there are multiple ways for you to catch up with news and updates from your favourite websites and blogs without having to visit them individually. I subscribe to RSS news feeds of all the hundreds of sites that I want to catch up with. As you can see from the screenshots, I subscribe to a lot of tech sites, so I can curate the best content to share with you all.
Let me know, do you subscribe to your favourite sites? If so, do you bookmark, subscribe by email or by RSS news feeds?
Hope this post was helpful. And remember, if you enjoy it, please remember to *LIKE*, *SHARE* and *COMMENT* on this post. Now that I’ve explained how to, I hope you choose to *SUBSCRIBE* to my blog!