24 January 2010

Why FOLLOW a Blog?

Look way down below in my blog for a little section called “FOLLOW”. This is where you can FOLLOW my blog or any other blog. Well, you ask, why would I want to FOLLOW your blog or any other blog? Well, let’s look at why you might want to FOLLOW a blog, and if so, what methods can be used.

Maybe you have a blog or two, or twenty that you are interested in, but you forget to check to see if the blogger has added any new stories or articles. Maybe you just get tired of checking, so you don’t. You might miss something important to you unless someone or something notifies you of new postings. That’s what the FOLLOW feature is all about. It keeps track of the blogs you are interested in and lets you know when one has been updated by using one of several methods or tools.

One of the tools available to you for reading and keeping track of blogs is the Google Reading List. It’s free and easy by signing up for a Google Account.    All you need is your email address and then create a password. The Google Account will give you access to a variety of Google products, including IGoogle, Picasa, Google Calendar, and access to a free Gmail account. The calendar at the bottom of this blog is made using Google Calendar.

The Google Reading List (above) will keep track of all the blogs you are following and let you read and manage them in one location. If you want to go directly to the blog site, just click on the blog’s link. As you click on a blog on the left, the right side displays all the posts to that site. Clicking on an article’s title will send you to the actual blog site.
If you have a blog of your own hosted on Blogspot, you can also view these blog posts in your Blogger Dashboard which looks like the one below. Subscribing to a blog will add it to your dashboard and then you can also add your “followed” blogs to your dashboard.

IGoogle is another option and can be customized to add the Google Reader.  Create a personalized IGoogle page/homepage. You can add different widgets to personalize your page. One of these is the Google reader. It will automatically display a title and a link  to each of the blogs that you follow. Using IGoogle as your homepage gives you immediate access to blog updates. When you hover over the title the article displays as a popup. Here is a Google Reader widget from an IGoogle page.

The section below, in the middle column, entitled “Genealogy Blogs – News Feed” is one way of following blogs. I set up a blog feed that automatically updates whenever one of the blogs I have added is updated. The most recent post is listed at the top. In this type of feed, only one new post for a blog is displayed at any time. You can click on the header for that blog and the link will take you to that blog where you can see more articles posted.
Followers are also important to bloggers because it helps a blogger know who is reading the blog. Knowing my audience helps me determine what my readers would be most interested in. Posting comments to a blog also helps me understand my readers and give them what they want.
So, if you are interested in my blog, please follow  it. Or click on any of the genealogy blogs in my feeder and follow them. Make following blogs easier!