I’ve been told time and time again by my daddy, “not to make things harder than it already is.” That was during my hormonally-charged, incorrigible teenage years. Today, I find it difficult to ignore the significance of that statement.

I should not make things harder than it already is for you. You must be stretched for time. So if I’m able to help lighten your load a little, I’ll do it. I understand that some of you are still unfamiliar with the concept of syndication and subscribing to a blog. This post will walk you through the process, step-by-step.

If you’re ready to subscribe to a blog, I assume you’re already familiar with the term, RSS. If not, here’s a little refresher course for you.

Syndication, from an RSS point of view, is simply put, sending you the latest updates or changes from a website or blog. And how do you receive these updates? Through something called an aggregator or feed reader.

You’re going to need a feed reader if you’re going to subscribe to blogs. There are desktop feed readers, which you have to download to your Mac or PC, and the slightly more popular, web-based feed readers.

I shan’t go into detail about the features of each feed reader for obvious reasons, but I will point you to a resource that will (The feed readers reviewed there are only web-based).

For desktop-based feed readers, I would recommend the following:

·        FeedDemon – Windows based (it’s not free)

·        Pluck RSS Reader – Windows & Mac based (Free)

·        NetNewsWire – for Mac users. Integrates well with the Safari browser (it’s not free)

The choice of feed readers is entirely up to you. But for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to demonstrate with a feed reader of my choice, Bloglines (a FREE web-based reader). I will walk you through subscribing to a blog which, I believe to be worthy enough of sitting in your feed reader – ChalkTalk (talk about shameless!). Alright, let’s get started!

Creating Your Account With Bloglines

1.      Go to Bloglines.

2.      Click on Register.

 Screenshot 1

3.      Fill out the short form to create your account. Click Register and follow Bloglines’ directions. It will send you an e-mail to verify if it was truly you who signed up or your mischievous computer-literate cat.

 Screenshot 2

4.      Check your e-mail account now and click on the confirmation link which Bloglines had sent you. Congratulations, you’re now an official Bloglines account holder.

5.      You should now be looking at Bloglines’ recommendations of feeds, nudging you towards adding them to your new feed reader. If it’s relevant to your interest, then add them. If not, don’t clog up your reader with unnecessary feeds.

6.      If somehow, you’re not already logged into your account yet, you can do so now.

 Screenshot 3

Subscribing To A Blog With Your Bloglines Feed Reader

7.      Now let’s try subscribing to ChalkTalk.

8.      Upon logging in to Bloglines, you will see a page that looks like this.

 Screenshot 4

9.      Look at the left pane, with the three tabs. Notice that My Feeds is highlighted. You should also see a single default feed from Bloglines in your feed reader if you had not added any feeds yet.

 Screenshot 5

10.  Go to the ChalkTalk blog now.

11.  On the right, you will see a column showing Subscribe Here with four orange buttons.

 Screenshot 6

12.  Click the top most button which looks like the one below.

 Screenshot 7

13.  The next page you will see, is this.

 Screenshot 8

14.  On the right side of this page, you’ll see a box that says, Subscribe Now!

 Screenshot 9

15.  Look for the button that says SUBBLOGLINES and click on it.

 Screenshot 10

16.  It will now take you to your Bloglines feed reader with a page that looks like this.

 Screenshot 11

17.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom of that page and click the Subscribe button. For the moment, don’t worry about setting your Bloglines preferences. You can play around with that at your own leisure. But, I would suggest placing your feeds in folders; for organizational purposes.

 Screenshot 12

Voila! You’ve just completed a subscription process. You will find your feed on the left panel of your Bloglines’ My Feeds page.

Part 2 of How To Subscribe To A Blog to follow.

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