Monday, March 3, 2014

Question for the Hive Mind: Blog Subscriptions

For unknown reasons, I've gotten two e-mails in the last week that asked how to subscribe to PATSP, and . . . well, I have no idea how to answer them, aside from telling people to find a feed reader and subscribe to the PATSP RSS feed. It's not a problem I've had to deal with personally, because Blogger comes with a feed reader and has not yet given me any reason to look for something else, but if people are going to keep asking, I suppose I should try to figure out a good answer. People especially seem to want to know how to get new posts sent to e-mail. (I'm kind of against that, since I want you to have to come here to read it -- if you don't visit the page, I have no way of knowing you ever read anything. But I can't make you come here if you don't wanna.)

So: how do you keep up with new PATSP posts? Feed reader? Just check in every so often? Something else? What should I be answering, when people ask how to subscribe to PATSP?


10 comments:

Kenneth Moore said...

Obviously, people should have PATSP as their browser's default homepage. You should tell them that although setting this up is different in every browser, if you go to the settings, there will be an option to type a website's URL so that site will load every time you open a browser window.

PATSP settings are such that only the first few sentences are pushed through in the feed (RSS at least; I believe e-mail behaves the same), so folks would, by necessity, click through to read the whole post and view any photos (your settings help prevent feed scraping, for instance, which was a total thing a few years ago). The RSS or e-mail would just be a teaser alert--kind of like the Table of Contents e-mails for scientific journals. I wish I had access to some of them, beyond the abstracts... At least I get to read YOUR posts in full!

In terms of what to suggest to folks? Point them to your RSS feed. If people want to subscribe by e-mail, the easiest way to explain would be to add the e-mail subscription widget in the sidebar (perhaps under the RSS feed). But, of course, neither of these options would be full posts, just the first few sentences, and no photos.

So I seriously recommend all Internet users set PATSP as their homepage for convenience and timely reading of all new posts.

Joseph Tychonievich said...

I use a feed reader (feedly) on my blog, I've added the gadget "follow by e-mail" which is nice because people just enter their e-mail and blogger automatically e-mails them the same thing they'd see in a feedreader whenever I post. I added it thinking no one would use it, but it seems like a lot of people do. Surprisingly few people use feed readers, it turns out.
Though honestly the biggest way people see my posts is via facebook, and certainly that is where people comment on them the most.

Kenneth Moore said...

I should add that I use Feedly. I tried a couple of different feed readers after Google went belly up on Google Reader, and Feedly's the one that I (and most everyone else) ended up with. It's easier to manage different subscriptions that way--I have different buckets I put feeds into, "Plant Science-Like," "Garden Blogs To Read" (as opposed to the ones I end up ignoring when I get too busy), "Fiber," "Ag News," "DC Gardens," and more. That way, I can sort my subscription by topic and read only what I'm interested in at the moment. It's hard for me to sift through one large feed with everything all tossed in.

nycguy said...

I use theoldreder.com. Now, after some vicissitudes, it is as reliable as the defunct google reader without the added fluff and feathers of the other wannabe replacement options.

Anonymous said...

Does this help in any way?

http://buzz.blogger.com/2011/03/engage-your-audience-with-follow-by.html

Liza said...

I like the email subscription option as a reader and a blogger, because it's a nice courtesy to have a notification when there's a new post. I still go to the blog to read the full post. It's particularly nice when someone doesn't update their blog very often - instead of me wasting time checking, I'll know when there's new content when an email appears in my inbox.

I'm in the habit of checking your blog every day, new content or not. So your decision doesn't affect me. If it turns out that a lot of people want it, it seems easy enough just to give it to them. I don't see much of a downside to giving people more options to reach them.

Ann Ony-mous said...

I have several different ways of keeping up with new blog posts. For PATSP I check it every morning while I'm having my first cup of coffee (PATSP and the comics). Some blogs I check weekly. Some I get email notifications, some I follow on Twitter and wait for the announcement of new material there and a few I have on my blog under "My Blog List" so I check my own page for notifications of updates.

Wow. Talk about not very helpful, huh?

I may have to try some of the ideas mentioned by other posters but then I worry about getting too many emails and having them go into spam and get lost and...

Nope. I'll stick with checking you every morning. That way I start the day with plants even if you don't have a new post up.

Anonymous said...

I just check, usually daily but sometimes I skip a day for some reason. Not very tech literate, so I don't even know what RSS means.

Texas Anon

Lauren said...

Honestly, I just check periodically. I have a few plant blogs bookmarked and I'll check them every week or so.

I know, old school.

susan said...

Now that I've found you by having purchased a 'Euphorbia Trigona' that's beautiful but previously unknown to me, it will be easy to find you again by linking your blog to mine.

I've really enjoyed reading your posts about Streptocarpus plants and just how tricky they can be. I had one for years that was originally propagated from one belonging to an English uncle. It had to stay behind when we moved to Canada from the US so now I have a short wish list at Rob's Violet Barn. Shipping will cost $75. for three baby plants whose initial cost is $20. but I do love them as plants.