Bloglines (and aggregators in general)

February 21, 2006 in 5 out of 5 stars, Free, Hosted software

What is it?

Bloglines (and aggregators in general): Bloglines, as most of you know (and those who do may wish to skip this entry), is an RSS aggregator. And "RSS" is mumbo jumbo for a special file (sometimes called a "feed") that an "aggregator" can latch on to ("subscribe" to) so that every time a blog (or anything using RSS) is updated, you'll see the update in your aggregator.

And it's important to note: you don't need to know what RSS is to subscribe to a feed. Your aggregator will figure it all out for you.

Every blog (well, most) has a feed associated with it. The main purpose of this feed (the RSS file) is to make it easy for someone with an aggregator to subscribe and be notified, via their aggregator, when said blog is updated. Typically the entire update will be viewable through the aggregator (although some less generous bloggers only allow a portion of their feeds to be viewed via an aggregator).

It's kind of like your email program (Outlook or similar) that updates whenever you get an email. An aggregator updates whenever a blog you have subscribed to, is updated.

Bloglines is the slickest, and easiest aggregator I know of. It's web-based, very functional, free and simple to use. It's what I use.


Who makes it?

Bloglines, but Ask Jeeves, Inc. owns it now.

Why is it the killerest?

Do you find yourself coming to and your other favorite blogs only to be disappointed that there isn't a new update and you've wasted your time loading the page? Well I don't want to discourage you from visiting here, in fact I'm honored that you care enough to check back frequently, but there's an easier way to follow this, and all your favorite blogs, and it's a way that helps you use your time more wisely (something all us entrepreneurs need to do).

That way is through an aggregator, and I recommend Bloglines.

Click here to sign up (it's free). Once you've completed the sign up process you'll need to spend a few minutes getting acquainted with how to subscribe to feeds. It's not hard at all. Once you've signed up, you'd might as well make your first subscription.

Here's how you subscribe:

  • Option A: click this link  Subscribe with Bloglines
  • Bloglines_subscribe_2 Option B: Go to, click on Subscribe and enter the URL of your favorite blog (e.g.
  • Option C: Click on the feed for many sites (mine looks like this and you'll find it over on the right hand side of my site) and if they use FeedBurner to generate their RSS feeds, you'll see a collection of chicklets (button links) you can click on, click the Bloglines one to subscribe (looks like the chicklet in Option A above).
  • Option D [Coolest/Best Option]: When you are logged into Bloglines you can create what's called a "bookmarklet." It's not hard to set up, and it gives you a button inside your web browser that you can click any time you're reading a blog you want to subscribe to. Clicking the button will send you to a screen where you confirm that you wish to subscribe to that blog via bloglines, and you're subscribed. Here's where you click, inside bloglines to get the page that helps you set up the bookmarklet:

Final Notes:

RSS is used not just by blogs, but also by many news sites, some search engines, and many other information outlets. The same rules apply for subscribing.

Some blogs, unfortunately, will present you with a zillion subscription feeds when you try to subscribe. My rule of thumb when that happens is to select the one with the shortest looking link. Most the time that works.

Bloglines does a bunch of other stuff, sharing, blogging, etc. I don't use any of that stuff, so I didn't mention it here.

Bloglines also has a nifty little bit of software you can put on your computer that will notify you when a blog you're subscribed to has been updated.

What could be improved?

As evidenced by the thousands who regularly read this blog, and have yet to subscribe to the feed -- the whole aggregator world is still the venue of early adopters and the more technically inclined. What could be improved? Somehow make it easier for newbies to get on board. Bloglines is actually helping a great deal in this cause by making it easy to get started.

How much does it cost?

FREE like Christmas trees in January.


Reviewed by Carson McComas

Get free blog updates and tips by email

Thanks for this tip... I have been using it ever since, and love it. The only thing that sucks for any aggregater is that your ads don't come through. A plus for the reader but a minus for the author.

Posted by: Gianni D'Alerta | Mar 23, 2006 11:47:01 AM

Hello, nice explanation on feeds and how to use Bloglines, thanks for sharing.

I've just published an article with more ideas on using feeds and a brief tutorial about Rojo, the web based feed reader I'm using now (I used Bloglines before).


Posted by: Alexis Bellido | Jul 16, 2006 9:36:02 AM

gracias por aceptarme

Posted by: MIGUEL ANGEL DE LEON CERVANTES | Jan 22, 2007 12:32:05 PM

Thanks Carson...your explanation was pretty easy to follow..and brings home how quickly one must learn to use all these great tools.

Posted by: Deborah Morgan | Jul 22, 2009 4:58:34 PM