Sunday, July 24, 2005

Bloglines primer

I make the mistake of assuming that everyone already knows about Bloglines – but I’ve lately realised that many dedicated bloggers/blog readers don’t. So here’s my good deed for the week, a tip: if you follow blogs regularly and find it tedious to surf sites every day, do yourself a favour and get a Bloglines account. Registration is easy and you can then “subscribe” to any number of URLs, which means you don’t have to go to individual blogs to check if there’s a new post; just keep the Bloglines window open and you’ll get updates there. I started using the thing myself because my office computer at the time was this creaky creature from 1982, which would emit otherworldly groans and then hang if I tried to open more than one Internet Explorer window at the same time. So it was pretty much a necessity if I wanted to save on time while blog-surfing. Now it’s an enormously practical option because I like to stay in touch with what’s happening on around 90 blogs (that’s the current figure and it keeps increasing) and there’s no question of visiting each site. (As it is, I’m not much of a blog-reader, I just keep an eye out for stuff that’s of interest and glance through it.)

The flip side of using Bloglines is that you might still miss some interesting posts if you jump from one update to the next in a hurry. But then, the only real solution to that is to limit your blog-reading. The other disadvantage is that if you regularly track your “site hits” with Sitemeter, BlogPatrol etc, you might not want people subscribing to your site on Bloglines, because then you won’t have an accurate picture of how many visitors you get (unless Bloglines now has its own facility for tracking, I have no idea).


  1. Ah, my friend! You need to switch to Mozilla, and stop using Explorer. The power of tabbed browsing will help you too!

  2. Get Firefox. It has lot of other cool built-in/extensions support eg.adding searchengine shortcuts, smart keywords, & so much more I can't even start listing them down.
    Add BugMeNot to the list of things many people don't know about. Any site which asks for free registrations, like NYT articles go behind a free registration wall (after a week or so?), can be bypassed using this. And if you integrate BugMeNot with FF, well, then voila! just rightclick and yr userid/passwd is right there at the snap of your fingers. See, I already showed you one good use of FF.
    Enjoy :-)

  3. Ah. Two people already evangelising Firefox. Scooped. Darn.

    "because then you won’t have an accurate picture of how many visitors you get (unless Bloglines now has its own facility for tracking, I have no idea)."

    The flip to that is Bloglines tells you how many subscribers you have. you, for instance, have 23. (Hm. Most of them have private subscriptions. Wonder why?)

    And one thing that some bloggers do is adjust their feed to only show headlines and the first few lines of text. That way, your reader scans those few lines and decides whether to click through to the blog for the whole thing. It measn you must make those first few lines fascinating.

    But I find this a bit counter-productive.

    I used to have my feed set that way, till I realised that when I was scanning bloglines myself, I was getting irritated with the bloggers who made me click through for the complete post. Negates the time savings from using a feed reader. For a few, very few, I'm willing to spend the extra few minutes. For the rest, I just went on to the next feed and started ignoring them.

  4. I suggest using Thunderbird, again from Mozilla. I have subscribed to some 40 blogs, and keep refreshing every 10 minutes, which tells you why I never get any work done.

  5. Please start using firefox. It will help you greatly