Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

1 Comment

RSS Feeds – Part Two

I had a few questions from my first article – find it here. David wanted to know which was better, RSS feeds or email subscriptions. I actually do have an answer to that.

I liken it to my teaching days. Every student came into class with different needs and histories and my job as a teacher required me to teach each of the kids, not the class. It’s a semantics thing, but I taught students. In order to reach each one of them, I had a toolbelt of different strategies. What worked for one didn’t necessarily work for another.

The same is true with following blogs. For me? I like them to go straight to my reader. That way I know where to find them and don’t have to weed through other notes to get to them. I can see why some might prefer to have them more handy in a mail but mine just get lost among the junk mailings, course questions and other notes. So neither is actually better; both should be offered IMO.

The second question I got from both Anna and Joanna, about how to set up an RSS feed on your blog. First let me tell you that I’m no expert and I have a rotten memory so I had to create an entirely new blog – to be used soon, hopefully – and place an RSS feed on it.

Now I’m using a WordPress freebie blog, and I know different places set up differently, but this is what I did.

  1. On the appearance tab in the widgets section, I moved the RSS link (Link to your blog’s RSS feed) to the right column.
  2. Now in that right column are all sorts of sections (Footer Area 2, Showcase Sidebar). You want to use the Main Sidebar. If your layout (theme) doesn’t have a sidebar, it won’t show up. And mine doesn’t show up on my separate article pages – not sure why.
  3. After I moved my link, I saw this box open up. This doesn’t change anything about the links, it only makes a difference in the display. The title is what will show up above the link on my blog page, so it is the title to this app – like “Follow my posts!” The feeds to display give your readers an option to follow just the comments or the posts themselves. Not sure why someone would only want to follow comments, but again – tools, something for everyone. The format is whether you want the word RSS feeds or the little icon and if you want the icon (I did) the settings pop up for the size and the color.

That’s it. No heavy lifting. No weird code. I got confused at first and used the other RSS widget that would put someone else’s blog feeds on mine – need coding for that one. But not this one.

Because I have a Blogger blog, I could set up an RSS there as well. I have to admit, it’s even easier. I clicked the gadget to add the RSS feed and all it asked for was a title to the link. Done.

Both of these were super simple to place on my blogs. But note that if you’re using Google Chrome as a browser, it holds true to form. Google (maker of Blogger) doesn’t play well with WordPress. Issues? So while I can hit RSS feeds on Blogspot blogs with no problem, the browser won’t speak to the feed link on WordPress blogs. I’ve gone back to Firefox.

Your turn: How do you like to follow blogs? (Oh and have you followed this one, yet?) 🙂


Commenting on Blogspot

Okay if you have a Blogspot blog like I do, you have no idea about this. I sure didn’t!

When I first started visiting different blogs and leaving comments, I found it extremely easy to comment on a blogspot blog – well I had one so it was all laid out for me. But that wasn’t the case for WordPress blogs, and
I’m not even going into to the ones sponsored by other companies. I got so much junkmail that I have refused to comment on those sites anymore.

At a WordPress blog, I had to type in all of my data for each new blog as I tried to comment. It was most annoying, but I found that the ones I commented on frequently held my data somehow and only required a small repetition to continue to respond. Not too bad.

As a Blogspot blogger, I kept hearing what a nightmare it was to comment on my site. Especially if they have a CAPTCHA. (Those are the little wavy letters that will prove you’re not a robot when you type them in.) I even read in articles of media gurus that they won’t even attempt to comment on a site that requires a CAPTCHA. My first thought was, “Gee that’s pretty harsh.” But as I have now switched over to WordPress, I have to echo the sentiments.

I have several blogs I follow, where I cannot comment with my WordPress sign-in. I prefer to use my new blog address. It will have MUCH more to offer than my old site, but the comment box won’t allow me to. When I switched over to my WordPress identity, it just kept saying that my CAPTCHA entry was wrong. Dummy me, I kept trying with each new combination thinking I was sleepier than I thought. Nope, it wasn’t me. Finally giving up, I used my blogspot ID and got accepted right away.

The next time I tried, I noted that I could log out of my blogspot ID. Thinking maybe I needed to do that in order to comment with WordPress I gritted my teeth (can’t stand the way google makes me log out of EVERYTHING to switch accounts like google docs!) and logged out, losing my email and calendar temporarily as well.

But that didn’t do it. No matter what I tried, I could not leave a comment with my WordPress ID.

I know I’ve gotten comments from WordPress folks on my blogspot. I am SO thankful for their perseverance! I had no idea how difficult it was. Alas I haven’t found the correct hoops as yet. Maybe I should return to IE as a browser. Maybe Chrome and Blogspot, and Google in general, are working against the force that is …

… pressing.

So tell me … what blogs are easy to comment on and which are difficult? Who knows; maybe it’s just me?