One of the best bits about the social web is the way that you can get notifications from blogs and news sites etc whenever they publish a new item. The technology behind this is well established and is known as RSS (for more on RSS, I wrote an intro to it a couple of years ago). In practical terms,what this means is that you don’t have to visit a website to know that new stuff has been published saving you loads of time.
How do I get notifications?
There are a number of ways that you can get RSS notifications, the most popular of which are to use a feed reader or email. If you want to get notifications from lots of sites then I recommend you use a feed reader, but if you want to just get updates from a few sites, or want to provide an easy way for parents to subscribe to your news blog, then setting up an email subscription might be best.
Setting up an email subscription for my blog
In order for your readers to be able to subscribe to your blog by email you need to use an email subscription service. I use Feedburner. Simply register on the site (free) then follow the following steps:
Step 1: Burn your feed
Enter the address of the feed for the blog that you want to set up the email description for (for Creative Blogs hosted sites you simply add /feed to your blog address, e.g. http://creativeblogs.net/feed/ ). Then add a relevant title to your feed e.g. ABC Primary School News.
Step 2: Get the code
After adding the title you can skip through the next couple of screens until you get to the screen with a choice of tabs on it.
Click the “Publicize” tab (yes, I know that’s the American spelling), then, from the services list, select email subscriptions. Click the “Activate” button to set up the email subscription service and then copy the code presented to you in a text box.
Step 3: Add the email sub to your blog
Once you have copied the code, go to your blog and add a text widget to the sidebar. Then simply paste the code from Feedburner into the text widget and save. The result will be a box like the one in the lefthand sidebar of this blog and your subscriber will receive an email every time your blog is updated.