Ok so I may have cheated slightly and skipped straight on to Thing 3 – creating a Google reader account, but I’ll come back to Thing 2 later. I’m totally new to blogging so having a page which alerts me to new blog posts from blogs I like sounds like a great idea. The first hurdle to setting this up was to remember the password for my gmail account which I don’t really use but need to create a Google Reader account. After wracking my brain and coming up with the answer, I logged into Google Reader and started adding subscriptions to blogs. This was a really easy process, you just need to copy and paste the URL for the blog you want to subscribe to into the box at the top of the page. After this, every time you check the website you can see straight away if there are new posts and they are displayed in chronological order in the main panel of the page. On the left hand side there is a list of the blogs you subscribe to with the ones which have new posts highlighted.
This is all very well and good, and in fact pretty handy, but isn’t part of the blogging experience to tell other people about the blogs you read? Highlighting those with similar topics in an Amazon style ‘if you like this, you may also like…’? Although I have a readership of c.1 at the moment, when my blog takes off to great acclaim and people are hanging on my every word (no?) they’re going to want to know what I’m reading and which bogs I like. So to rectify this I have added a nifty box on my side bar which shows the blogs I follow (if you want to do this on your own WordPress blog, click on Appearance/Widgets in the left hand sidebar on the dashboard – there are loads of other ones too like a calendar or a tag cloud etc. and you can even choose which order you want them in).
Unfortunately it isn’t as easy to add blogs to your follow list as it is to subscribe with Google Reader, unless it’s a WordPress blog and you can just click on the Follow button at the top of the page. You have to go via the reader on the WordPress home and it doesn’t seem to like loading all that often. With a bit of perseverance (refreshing the page a couple of times seemed to work) I managed to add what I wanted but I think I’ll be sticking to Google Reader for keeping up to date with new blog posts.