A few weeks ago my lovely Little Blogger, Mayra asked me “I noticed you have no way to GFC??? How can one follow your blog?” and I kinda feel like a jerk because I never got back to her on her question. However, it did stick out in my brain as a great blog topic and because I can’t seem to think of anything else to wax intellectual about on a Saturday night and I’m still procrastinating about cleaning the bathroom… Here’s your answer, Internet!
In short, there are a lot of different ways to follow blogs on the web. This is the first in what may be a series of posts about different ways to follow other bloggers. It’s a vast and wide topic, so I’m breaking it down.
The Skinny on GFC
In the corner of the blogging universe that I hang out most frequently, Blogger is hands down the most popular blogging platform that I see people use. Among Blogger users, Google Friend Connect (GFC) tends to be the preferred method to follow and be followed. And what’s not to love? It’s handy. You click Follow on a blogger’s GFC widget, and it gets sent to the homepage of Blogger every time that person updates, and there’s a convenient list of who’s following you that’s easy to keep tabs on.
The downside to GFC is that it’s exclusionary. It only works for blogs that are hosted on Blogger… and not all awesome blogs are powered by Blogger. (For example, I’m not!) And chances are, somewhere along the way you’re probably going to find a few other bloggers that have chosen to use something other than Blogger to power their blog. Do you really want to not follow them because they don’t use the same blogging platform as you do? I didn’t think so… That’s a pretty silly reason not to follow someone.
So, now you’re probably thinking…. ARGH! I just invested all this time into following blogs on GFC and I have a whole huge list I follow and I don’t really want to start that list over… but I would like to follow some people who aren’t on Blogger. What do I do now?
Two words for you my friend, Google Reader.
Getting from GFC to Google Reader
It just so happens, that Google Reader and GFC play really nice together (which isn’t too surprising seeing as they’re both Google services). It’s pretty easy to get your Google Reader and GFC all synched up. If you go to Blogger.com and login, you should be seeing something similar to this….
Click where it says “View in Google Reader” and you’re all set… The blogs you follow via GFC are now synched up with Google Reader! I have noticed that sometimes if you follow a new blog with GFC, it doesn’t show up in Google Reader right away, so it’s helpful to click that “View in Google Reader” button the next time you want to go read blogs just to make sure everything’s all cool.
Following a Blog via Google Reader
This is where stuff can get complicated, so bear with me. There really isn’t a fool proof way to get from blog to Google Reader, despite being a pretty popular way to subscribe most blogs don’t include Google Reader specifically as a way to follow. What they generally include is a link to their RSS feed and make the assumption your browser knows what to do with that…. which it might or it might not depending on what you’re using, how it’s configured, whether or not the blog you’re trying to subscribe to is using something like Feedburner, the phase of the moon… so on and so forth.
This is the easy sure fire not to mess it up way to subscribe to a blog in Google Reader.
Copy the address of the site you’d like to follow (for example, http://authenticexperience.org/)
Go to Google Reader.
Click on the button on the top left that says Subscribe.
Paste or type in the address of the blog you want to follow and click add!
Congrats you’re following a blog!
I hope that clears up some mystery behind GFC and Google Reader. Feel free to leave any questions in my comments and I’ll try and address them. Happy following!