I’m quite new to blogging, what with the age of my site and my writing for the MovieBlog, and I’ve not long discovered the idea of RSS feeds – I still have to figure out how to put two blogs into one RSS file.

I found that while I was researching stories for the MovieBlog I was looking at about thirty other sites trying to read all the stories in the short time I had. Then there were the sites for my friends and the sites I just liked visiting for a read. It was all getting too much, and the researching was taking so long I never had time to write.

Then, somehow, I can’t remember exactly how, I came across the Bloglines site and discovered the joy of feeds.

Bloglines is an online feed aggregator. What that means is that it allows you to log on to your own web page and see a list of all the sites you visit that provide raw text news feeds such as RSS, XML and Atom. These allow the delivery of site updates directly to another source. So Bloglines gathers the site updates into one location where they can be read.

When I visit my site and login, there is a list down the left hand side of all seventy four of the sites I visit, each highlighted in bold with a number next to them of how many unread posts there are. These can be organised into folders, which show the total number of unread posts within each folder. You can also link this to your own website and add the CSS styles, as can be seen on my home page.

Selecting a site shows all the unread stories on the right hand site with the site header at the top, all in the same Bloglines style – this means it doesn’t stand out too much on the screen, handy for work reading. Beneath the header are the excerpts of the post, now these excerpts are defined by the site the post originates from so you might get a blurb or the whole story, then you might get pictures or not, you get the idea.

Selecting a folder shows all the unread posts from the sites within that folder on the right hand side, with the different side headers preceding their entries. It’s all very organised, very easy to read and follow, and makes following a number of sites very simple and fast.

This usually means I can get through three to four hundred posts a morning. Oh yes, there are more at night!

I’d recommend using Bloglines. It’s free, although about to start carrying advertising I believe, and very simple to use, allowing simple configuration to display in your own pages. Feeds are also the way forward, they’re simple, allow you to pull all your news into one area, and also allow you to customise them as you see fit

For instance Film Rotation has it’s own feed page where you can see all the movie sites at a glance. It’s not just movies either, there’s newspapers, job searches, technical sites, photography, those are just a few of the types of sites that I have in Bloglines now.

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