Continuing from our earlier discussion on testing your own blog’s success, let’s look at the different reasons you should be unsubscribing from the feeds in your feed reader.
But before we do that, I want to talk a bit about the different functions a blog performs.
A blog can:
- Inform – give us the latest news and/or gossip, as well as be a resource / encylopedia of information about a certain topic
- Teach – tutorials, resource guides, tips, how-to manuals
- Entertain – humor works, but so does a likeable personality or just plain titillating content
- Engage – encourage participation and discussion
If you can add to the list above, please do so in the comments section.
So why would / should you unsubcribe from a feed?
1. It’s not giving you anything new
In most niches there are a handful of ‘informative, newsy’ sites that give coverage to 90% of what’s going on in that sector. Find these hubs, and stick to them for the news. Everyone else must satisfy the other four criteria.
2. You’ve learned enough, it’s time to use that information
Are you applying what you’re learning, or are you just sucking it up like a sponge and not taking action on it?
Reading ProBlogger or SEOmoz day in and day out is fun, but if you’re not applying what you’re learning, then it’s time to stop reading and to start putting that knowledge into use.
After a certain point you learn enough to not need to read the ‘teachers’ on a regular basis.
3. It’s not fun
How many of the blogs in your feed reader would you read if you didn’t need to for work or for learning?
Some bloggers have an engaging personality. Some are your friends.
Most though, are bloggers that need to keep giving you something in order to keep your attention.
Value your attention. If you’re not getting anything useful and if you’re not learning, ask yourself if it’s any fun to read this blogger.
Chances are, it’s a bore.
4. There’s no life to the blog
Good blogs sometimes suffer from it. There’s no real discussion going on in the comments, there’s little you can do to participate.
Even if you don’t learn anything from the blog, the discussion and community around the blog has its own rewards. The value of social networking cannot be over-estimated, and it all starts from having a like-minded community that you participate in.
Do these blogs encourage discussion? Are they hubs for conversation? No?
Then what are you doing there?
From the perspective of an SEO blogger:
If you want to keep a pulse on all the latest search news, hit SearchEngineLand’s SearchCap daily. You might also want to keep a track of Search Engine Roundtable to see if you haven’t missed any key forum discussions. The Search Engine Watch blog (their daily headlines roundup) is usually good for catching any SEO pieces that SEL might have missed, so you might want to check that out too.
If you want to learn about SEO, you don’t need to subscribe to all the SEO blogs – you just need to go through their archives and get what you need. Apart from a couple of books on SEO there’s no real ‘roadmap’ that you can follow if you want to learn SEO by yourself online.
For now, try reading SEOmoz’s and Wolf-Howl’s archives and lap it all up (but only as much as you can apply immediately – use your knowledge as you go along).
If you want to be entertained…well, I’m at a loss here 🙂 Let me know if you can find any entertaining SEO bloggers that would compel you to read them even if you weren’t looking for SEO information.
If its community you’re after, hit Threadwatch, but really, you should be looking at forums instead of blogs.
Yes, this list will probably change depending on how much you know about SEO, on new SEO bloggers and who your friends are in SEO (you might be an Aaron Wall or SEOmoz fan).
But in most cases, Search Engine Land will cover these sites – so you’ll be getting the interesting (and the non-interesting) posts from almost all of the SEO community from one site.
After that, it’s community and personal connections that drive your feed reading habits.
The harsh reality is that we don’t have the time to read up on feeds every day. Pick your top sources, and trust them to deliver.
And in the time you’re going to save, get some bloody work done.
This article was originally written 10 Apr 2007 for SearchEngineJournal.com.