No, I am not talking about stuff that you can buy and ingest to fortify your body. If you have been reading the other pages that we’ve created for you, you’ll realize that I am talking about feeds that are one of the most important tools in blogging. Feeds are basically an alternative way of accessing the content of a blog (or any other web site for that matter) without having to actually visit the blog in your web browser.
Try visiting various blogs and web sites, and you will see some buttons saying “Atom,” “RSS,” or “XML.” These are all types of feeds which you can also use in your blog. Let us say that over the course of time, you stumble upon many blogs that you would like to follow, or read regularly. Now this should not be so difficult if the number is a mere 10 or so. What if your list of blogs grows to reach 50 or a hundred? It would be such a hassle to regularly open each blog.
This is where feeds come into the picture. Blog platforms have a built in feature which come up with code – automatically – that allows readers to subscribe to a blog. This means that they can subscribe to as many blogs as they want, and use a feed reader or aggregator to read the contents of each blog as it is updated. The need to actually open a tab or window to visit a blog is done away with.
Now how do you add feeds to your blog? This, again, depends on the blogging platform that you are using. Let’s just say that you are using WordPress – perhaps the most versatile and feature-rich blogging platform today, and the one which this blog uses as well. Most WordPress themes have built-in feeds, meaning that you do not have to add a feed! Try scrolling down to the bottom of this page, and you will see two links saying “Entries (RSS)” and “Comments (RSS).” The first one is the feed URL for the blog posts while the second one is for the comments. It is that easy!
If you want to use a third party service for feeds, you can do so as well. Perhaps the most popular is Feedburner. This service is chosen by many bloggers because it makes it easy for readers to subscribe to the feed. It also provides additional features such as the ability to track statistics, which is quite important for a lot of people. Feedburner is compatible with various blogging platforms, and you can get step by step instructions on how to use it in their web site.
One last thing, remember that you want your readers to immediately see the subscribe button. As such, if you’re customizing your blog’s look, make sure to place the feed button somewhere on top where it can be spotted without the reader having to look hard for it. In this manner, you don’t lose out on subscribers simply because of inappropriate location.