This tutorial was written on January 29, 2008. It seems like yesterday but five years later – in 2013- Google announced they will no longer be supporting either the Google Reader nor iGoogle .
Writing instructions on how to subscribe to an RSS feed is kind of like writing instructions on telling you how to get a life mate. I’m most familiar with my own experience, which may or may not be “right” for you and your situation. In other words…there are MANY different ways to subscribe to RSS feeds but for this post, I’ll cover my favorite way to subscribe which is by using iGoogle.
iGoogle used to be known as your “personalized home page”. If you’re already a user of Google services (such as gmail) then you too can have an iGoogle or personalized home page.
Stuart Maxwell and Rowan Simpson have both helped to remind me that not EVERYONE uses the Firefox web browser. You probably need to know that I am using the latest version of the Firefox browser . According to Life Hack’s post on how to get started with the Google Reader, MSIE 7+ also supports the Google Reader.
Below, I’ll share screenshots with you. To see the screen shot, just click on the image and it will open in a new window.
Here’s a screen shot in Internet Explore when you are not signed into your iGoogle account:
Notice the blue arrow is pointing to the text which is inviting you to JOIN the Google family. (It’s a lot like Invasion of the Body Snatchers…. just relax and go along with it. Donald Sutherland was much more miserable than the assimilated masses in the 1978 version of the movie.)
In Fire Fox, it’s much more sublte:
Click on the “iGoogle” link and you’ll see a similar screen to the one displayed in MSIE. Follow the instructions. Once you’ve been properly assimilated into the Google machine… it will be EASY to add RSS feeds, along with lots of Productivity Modules (thanks Mashable) to your iGoogle page! No thinking OR emotion is required!
Here’s a screen shot of my iGoogle page. On my page, I have selected several modules including my gmail account, the dictionary word of the day, the weather, my horoscope and some news sites. You can easily drag and drop each module to a place where it suits YOU and your preferences.
Micheal Sync has a post on the screen shots of the six different “themes” available to you to customize your iGoogle page . I’ve chosen the “bus stop” theme for this iGoogle page. (Ok, I have more than one.)
NOW that I have my iGoogle home page set up, I’m ready to easily subscribe to an RSS feed.
Here’s an interesting blog called The Thriving Writer.
See where the blue arrow is pointing? To the image in the address bar that looks like this, except tiny?
Click on that image…right there in the address bar. This symbols tells you that THIS site wants to stay in touch with you and offers an RSS feed!!! When you click on the image, you’ll see a screen like this:
This is the page that appears. See the arrow? It’s giving you a choice as to what tool you want to use to subscribe to this feed. The “default” here is Google which is good, because I’m basically lazy and love to pursue the softer easier way! The fewer clicks in my life the better… so I can just click the “subscribe now” button to proceed.
By the way, in the white box below “previews” what the feed looks like.
By clicking the “Subscribe Now” button, I’ll get this page:
I am offered a choice. I can add this “feed” to my iGoogle, so every time I log on, I see what’s new on the blogs and web sites I want to follow OR I can use my gmail account and get this information via email. I am choosing to add this page to my iGoogle, so I choose “Add to my Google homepage”. (Remember, not everyone chooses that option. If they choose email, they’ll get an EMAIL every time you update… which is why some people unsubscribe from feeds that post more than once per day!)
When I click on that choice, I am taken to my NEW iGoogle page where you’ll see an arrow pointing to my latest RSS feed
And THAT is how EASY it is to subscribe to an RSS Feed.
Andy Beard and I explored the subject of RSS feeds briefly and from my observation and Andy’s feedback, your RSS subscribers don’t have to share as deep a level of “trust” with you in order to subscribe to your feed. As you can see, I easily subscribed to the blog owner’s feed and unlike a traditional email newsletter subscription, she probably has no idea I did so. I didn’t have to share my email address with her and in order to “unsubscribe” from this feed, I merely click the little “x” in the corner of the box. VIOLA! I’ve unsubscribed with even less effort than it took to subscribe.
The lesson here is, act like everyone is an RSS subscriber. They’ll get bored easily if you don’t update your blog often. They’ll also get annoyed if you update TOO often. All they see is the titles of your blog posts, so make those winners every time!
And THAT is how to Subscribe to a blog’s RSS feed using Google.