Keeping up with selected blogs your way: follow and fix WordPress settings

Screenshot of WordPress with Settings for notifications

When you follow a blog, set your email preferences at the same time.

Once there were RSS feeds, and I had one on my blog. For months it shuffled people to the wrong URL—my fault, and what a waste.

Some people still prefer RSS feeds, and who am I to suggest a change? Changing online habits is such a pain, and I myself resist it with a little question: how does this improve my own life or others’?

Nevertheless I can’t resist whispering a word of unsolicited advice. O ye bloggers and readers, one tiny new habit can save you rather a lot of time, in the long run.

Follow other blogs without pain or penalty

The immense size, the richness of the WordPress blogging community is both thrilling and overwhelming. After a certain point you need a strategy or you will go crazy!

  • Never miss a post from your favourite bloggers.
  • Never feel overwhelmed by blogs you like but want to read only occasionally.

Each time you follow a new blog by hitting the Follow button (top right of the screenshot above), pause for a second. By activating the Settings icon immediately below, you get some options. First, do you want to be told by WordPress when a new post appears on the blog you’ve decided to follow? It’s not mandatory, it’s a choice. Second, do you want an email with that information? If so, would you like instant updates? Daily updates? Weekly updates?

  • Maybe you spend a lot of time in the blogosphere and don’t want to miss a thing: then you’ll opt for instant updates by email as well as notices in your personalised WordPress Reader.
  • Maybe you have only got about 15 minutes per week to read blogs: then you’ll want updates from just a few key people, and catch up on others on vacation.
  • Maybe you follow 1,000 blogs, but only need to read posts on specific topics. Then you might get weekly updates on specialist blogs, and skim the others with Reader: Search.

 Skim in Reader to select before you read

Using email notifications is a great way to follow your hot favourites, and never miss a post. But you’re sure to follow other blogs as well, blogs that delight you now and then. You’ll want to see a headline before you open that blog. What is this post about? You need a signpost and a summary.

You get that on WordPress Reader facility. For skimming in advance, it is a beauty, on a screen of any size.

So you see, you can probably do everything you need as a reader without exiting the WordPress system. Which saves time.

Still want me to add an RSS Feed? I might. I might not.

28 thoughts on “Keeping up with selected blogs your way: follow and fix WordPress settings

  1. cedar51 says:

    I have certain blogs I follow regularly…mostly because they follow “mine” but sometimes when I’m reading another blog and a commentator has their link, I will “wander over and look at it…” I might even subscribe.

    I’m not ruthless in unsubscribing from blogs, I’m ruthless when it comes to just general pages…more newsletters from an “interesting, idea, podcast” – that is because I will suddenly notice I’m behind with reading and the inbox email is say over 200 not read/binned. So I go through them and decide what to keep and what to unsubscribe to….

    I get lots of pleasure and ideas from other peoples writings…and of course learning about their life; the culture if they live somewhere different from me; their interests which may be vastly different to mine. I love “learning by just being on the sidelines…”

    1. It’s a delightful world out there and we all wander there in our own idiosyncratic manner.

  2. bone&silver says:

    Great advice, thank you Rachel, and an acknowledgment that we follow blogs we love, but sometimes simply can’t read every single post due to time constraints…

    1. Reality hits me as my own followers increase. I was comfortable with 100, but as my readership grows, so does that odd sense of responsibility or even guilt. Do you find that too?

      1. bone&silver says:

        Absolutely! I currently spend at least 20 hours a week on my blog, and more than half that time is reading & commenting- lucky I’m a fast reader- but I definitely don’t just ‘Follow’ cos someone has followed me- I usually check out the new blogs, but am getting more and more discerning… plus not afraid to unFollow if I’m consistently not engaged with someone’s posts

      2. I imagine thousands going through this cycle, learning by experience. I intend to delete my Facebook profile one of these days.

  3. I follow way too many blogs and have been slowly adjusting my feeds as you suggested. I’ve also gotten more comfortable skipping posts that are too long, have no paragraph breaks, or just aren’t about a subject of interest.

    1. Good work. The last thing we need is bloggers’ guilt!

  4. Gloria W. says:

    Great tips on following blogs. I had to figure this out early as well. I like to keep up with all my blogger friends!

  5. acflory says:

    Good points except perhaps about the Reader. I now find that it’s overflowing with people and blogs I’ve never heard of while the ones I do want to keep an eye on disappear down the very bottom somewhere. 🙁

    1. Time to cull or prioritize?

      1. acflory says:

        Not sure. I get email notifications of WP people I follow but they don’t give previews of the articles. I’d love to be able to browse the Reader for new stuff from /my/ people and go to some centralised WP page if I’m looking for new people to follow.
        That’s how it used to be when I first joined WP. The landing page showed featured articles from other WP bloggers and then you could go on to your own little corner. Oddly enough, Medium is like that. Perhaps that’s why I’m enjoying it…hmm.

      2. Check it out: Reader gives a choice of viewing people you follow, “Discover” (random new stuff), and searching for posts on a particular topic. They all come with headline and first three lines. If you’re not getting that choice, maybe there’s something to change in Settings. Maybe you can ask the WP community for a tip. It does work differently on different platforms. Good luck.

      3. acflory says:

        Thanks Rachel, I’ll check it out. 🙂

  6. Bernadette says:

    Hi Rachel, I, also, have learned to discriminate. I use Email notification for blogs whose content is relevant to my interests and I use the reader for the rest. I don’t automatically follow other blogs because I have found for some reason writers will just hit the follow button indiscriminately and possibly are just trying to get their name on your blog in the comments section in order to build their own readership. Unfortunately that is a beginner’s mistake. I have you on my Email notification list because your posts are enjoyable and relevant to my interest.

    1. Thank you Bernadette! Yours is a simple and successful strategy. You understand the comments section all too well! Your own comments are always thoughtful and relevant.

  7. Recently I’ve noticed that a few bloggers that I follow (and mostly enjoy) have started posting 5 or 6 times a day. I don’t have that kind of time so I have learned to use the reader to weed out the ones that are more of a chronicle of what they did that day from the ones that are well written, developed posts. Somehow people seem to think frequency is good. It’s only good if it comes with quality.

    1. I agree! If I write two or three close together and accidentally post them all instead of scheduling publication, I am sorry, because it’s too much to foist on a reader. Five or six times a day is Instagram pace. It’s too much even for Facebook.

      1. Perhaps it’s a confusion as to what a blog is compared to Instagram or Facebook. I’ve never noticed it with you. Your posts have “meat” rather than where you went for lunch (unless there is a story there!). 🙂

      2. Or unless the meal included meat 🙂

  8. I have made a separate list in my WordPress Reader that I lovingly call “Blogging Buds” – That list includes those in the our community of bloggers whose posts I never want to miss, because we’ve developed an internet friendship. Now I need to figure out how to get my emails down to a manageable size. Often my emails are from blogs that are not on wordpress. Need to figure out how to weed them out. ~ Lynn

    1. Your special list of Blogging Buds sounds like a smart idea, a smart way to prioritise. As for the emails from non-Wordpress blogs, that may be a bit more complicated. Good luck!

  9. Hello Rachel
    I have until this point been using Reader to sort out my favourite blog sites.
    I do get email notifications everyday from sites not in Manage Reader.
    Perhaps I have done something in settings that prompts random emails.
    I would like to put a stop to the emails and only recieve those that are my favourites.
    I need to investigate further, I will try your great tips.
    Thankyou for posting them
    Annie ❤❤

  10. Annie, I share your pain! I think unexpected email notifications can have various causes. When I follow sites from the iPhone app, I can’t seem to manage settings, and regular emails seem to be a default setting. Also, some blogs require you to give an email address, which I hate. Others only offer an RSS option. Luckily, these can be checked and corrected on my laptop, touch wood. Another reason may be that those sites are not WordPress sites: sometimes I follow a link from a WP site, and it takes me to an external website. Oh the trials and tribulations, ay?

  11. Aunt Beulah says:

    This is very helpful. I owe you another thank you today.

    1. I assumed you’d be an expert in this area! You seem to manage brilliantly. But (for me) it’s tweak tweak tweak forever!

  12. Robyn Haynes says:

    Great advice Rachel. So many posts, so little time! It can be overwhelming and I often miss some. I wish I could prioritise in my ‘manage your reading list’ Is that what it’s called? Do you have any ideas on that?

  13. Check the comments, Robyn. Lynn of Encore Voyage has found a good solution! I’d like to have a go at that myself. Every little helps.

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