Do You Prefer to Subscribe Via RSS Feed or E-mail?

by Alicia Jay

I was thinking about this the other day and decided to open it up for discussion. We all know there are two ways to subscribe to a blog so that you receive notification of new posts. It’s something I do as a virtual assistant to keep up with news in my field and other blogs that I enjoy reading. I will describe the options for subscription briefly for anyone new to the scene.

Blog Reader

Which do you prefer?

Subscribe via RSS Feed. You can subscribe to receive updated posts via RSS feed. According to Wikipedia, “RSS feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. A standardized XML format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites…”

The most common reader used for RSS feeds is Google Reader. You can organize the feeds in Google Reader which helps you save time when reading blogs. Kristi over at Kikolani wrote a great post explaining how to do that in more detail. You can read it here.

Subscribe via E-mail. This explanation is a bit simpler. You can subscribe this way by entering your e-mail and then clicking a verification link. Any time a new post is added to the site it will show up in your inbox. I personally prefer this method. I organize these much the same way that Kristi does in Google Reader with folders, categories and such.

I find it much simpler to just open my inbox and skim the folders. I can see if anyone has added a new post and it saves me time from opening another program. I have visited blogs that only offer the option of subscribing via RSS feed. I still sign up but to be honest, I often forget (or get too busy) to check my Google Reader.

What’s your opinion? Which way do you prefer to subscribe to someone’s blog? Do you think all sites should offer both options?

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About Alicia Jay

Alicia is a virtual assistant specializing in transcription. She loves to help her clients make the most out of their audio posts, webinars and teleclasses by re-purposing them with transcripts. Her clients include entrepreneurs, business coaches, health and fitness experts and other virtual assistants. She blogs about news in the VA industry as well as business and customer service tips.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Deckert

I prefer email as well. I’m like you in that I forget to log into my reader. Reading an email is so much easier.



Hey Alicia, great topic! I keep a bunch of tabs open all the time so opening another program isn’t a big issue.

I prefer RSS because I can skim through all the titles of all the subscriptions I have. I also use Google Reader and have it set up per that Kristi’s post you linked to.

Skimming through titles usually cuts the list down by 50%. Then I see the post in the reader and if it is only the excerpt, I usually don’t read it.

Then I skim through the posts that are full and if they look OK I click to read them on the blog itself, even thought I have the whole post in the reader.

That way I can leave a comment or share the post after reading it.

I stopped using email for new post updates because spammers picked it up and it was filled with spam mail so I was loosing the post updates all the time.

Also, if I am subscribing to something with my email it is usually a newsletter rather than the post updates.


Kristi Hines

It’s obvious which one I prefer. πŸ™‚ There are so many blogs I love to read regularly, but I don’t want them invading my inbox and making it harder to sort what I need to read from what I need to reply to. If you keep all of your subscriptions in one place, you will be able to remember to keep up with them all when you go there. Thanks for sharing my post on Google Reader!


Bill Dorman

I prefer RSS feed because I already have enough stuff coming in my inbox which is also tied to my phone and it can get really clogged. The RSS feed allows them to put them in my reader and I can review and get to them when I can.

RSS also allows me to keep up w/ my ‘regulars’ better.

I do have a pretty strong spam filter, but have noticed much more spam and I think it’s from some of the e-mail subscriptions I still have.

That’s my story today and I’m sticking with it…..



I like the option of getting things in my email, but I do use my feed reader. I guess it depends on the topic and how many updates there are, because I don’t check my feed reader nearly as often as my email.

If I find myself checking a certain blog frequently more than once a week then I’ll sign up via email … if they offer that option. If there is no sign up option then I go pout in the corner by myself LOL


Kaarina Dillabough

I prefer RSS feed as well. I do have a few blogs that I signed up for via email, but most of my reading and keeping up is done through google reader. Great topic! Cheers! Kaarina


Vernessa Taylor

Hi Alicia! I prefer getting RSS feeds in my newsreader. I use folders, too, so they get organized better. Of course, I don’t visit Google Reader every day, but maybe a few times a month. Then I’ll catch up somewhat.

I subscribe to only a very few by email. Since I get so many comment subscription emails, I’d rather not add another layer of emails to the inbox.

I’ve been meaning to look closer at Feedly to see how it might help me stay on top of the feeds I’d glance at more often if it were more convenient. (I’d read a post by Sharon Hurley Hall about it which piqued my interest.)

Now that you’ve brought up the topic, I should add a “subscribe by email” option. πŸ™‚


Craig McBreen

I only subscribe to a few blogs via email, but I’ve recently started doing this a bit more. So I go for RSS.

I love using Google Reader. I place the different feeds into separate folders. For example: there is a folder I mainly go to for great information, tech-tips, etc. and two of the subscriptions I visit most often in that group are Brankika’s and Kristi’s blogs. πŸ™‚

I’m constantly adding new blogs, so it is becoming overwhelming. Whenever I cull the list, I always find several other blogs I want to add. Continuous cycle.


Bill Dorman

Hey, how come everybody got a picture but me?


Alicia Jay

Bill, that’s weird! I have no idea why you don’t have a picture! Hmm…


Tom@blackberry developers

I Prefer subscribing through RSS feed. I don’t like to sort out my e-mail. So I use it only for my private business. And I’m too lazy to create and check different accounts)) And BTW there very convenient folders for RSS feeds on Google


Steven Swampy

There are so many blogs I love to read regularly, but I don’t want them invading my inbox and making it harder to sort what I need to read from what I need to reply to.
Steven Swampy recently posted..Best way to win the lotteryMy Profile


Vernessa Taylor

Hi Alicia,

I haven’t checked out Feedly yet, but I did install a desktop RSS reader today. Still trying to “take back my inbox” and all my other important boxes!

I see you’ve got your CommentLuv working again! Yay! πŸ™‚
Vernessa Taylor recently posted..Beta, Beater, CommentLuv (Premium) is Sweeter!My Profile


Carl Jhonson

I like the option of getting things in my email, but I do use my feed reader. I guess it depends on the topic and how many updates there are, because I don’t check my feed reader nearly as often as my email.
Carl Jhonson recently posted..How to win the lotteryMy Profile


We’re just branching out into social networks here. It’s still a bit of a mystery and RSS sounds like a government agency. Give me a familiar email alert any day!


Louise Harnby | Proofreader

For me, it’s email all the way, Alicia. It’s the one platform that is open all the time, so subscribing in this way is a guarantee that I won’t miss a thing!


Alicia Jay

Hi Louise!

I totally agree. That’s just how my brain works. If they come through my inbox I know I will look at them. Thanks for stopping by!


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