March 9, 2021

How to follow blogs

Chances are that you've run across at least a few blogs or news websites that you find interesting -- maybe even this blog!  You'd love to read their new posts but you know you'll never remember to check the websites regularly.  What do to?

It's pretty easy, actually.  Use either of these services to subscribe to your favorite sites:

NewsBlur, my favorite, has a very nice free tier.

Using them is straightforward: you subscribe to the feeds to you want to follow, then you only have to remember to go to the NewsBlur or Feedly website every few days or so.  They will show you in one place any new content from the sites you follow.

Subscribing to a website/blog's feed is usually simple.  For NewsBlur, click the "+" icon in the bottom left and paste in the website URL.  For example, for this blog, you would paste this:

https://www.gsharratt.com

Alternatively, you can paste the URL of the feed into NewsBlur (and you'll have to do this if the website URL doesn't work).  You can often find the feed URL by viewing the page source of the website's main page and searching for "rss" or "atom".  For this blog, for instance, the feed URL is:

https://www.gsharratt.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

For websites that have multiple feeds, it's best to use the feed URL.  Websites with more than one feed will usually provide a page listing all the feeds.  Find the one you want, copy its URL, and paste it into NewsBlur.

How does this newsreader magic work?  It makes use of the RSS or Atom feeds that most (but not all) blogs and many other websites publish in parallel with their regular web (html) content.

Once you have subscribed to your favorite blogs and other sites and get in the habit of regularly checking your newsreader, you won't ever want to give it up.