Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tips on using Google Reader -- Oops, now suggesting Feedly!

Google discontinued Reader, so I now recommend Feedly! This post still has good general information, so please scan it. If you've used Reader in the past, Feedly has a quick and easy carry-over utility. You won't miss a beat, and I predict you'll like it better than Reader!

Do you have a hard time keeping up with your blog-reading? Do you ever forget to check a friend's site to see if they've posted?

I personally think every blogger should have an option to Subscribe, and it's easy to do. (Check out my Let Your Friends Subscribe post from Oct 2011) But not every blogger gives us that option, so we're left to randomly check.

Or NOT. Enter Google Reader!

What on earth is Google Reader?

Reader is a news aggregator, which is a fancy term that means "internet broom." It sweeps all the places you send it and puts any newly published dust bunnies into the Reader dustpan.

It's not just for blogs, but since this is an instructional blog site, I'm sticking to that. If you've never been to the Reader page, here's the quickest way to get there:

Pull up your Gmail account, then click on More to drop down the menu.

Click Reader, and you'll see something like this:

If you've ever subscribed to a blog using your Gmail address, or clicked the "Join this site with Google Friend Connect" gadget, you'll find those blogs listed here. Scroll down and see what you find.

Pretty cool, huh? 
Now let's say you have a blogger friend who doesn't have a Subscriber option or "Join this site" gadget. You can still subscribe to their site through Reader.

Pull up the site, highlight the URL, right-click it and Copy.

Go back to your Reader page, and click Subscribe, then paste the URL in the address box.

Click Add when you're finished, and scroll to the bottom to find your new subscription.

Organizing Your Reader Feeds

I follow a LOT of sites, so I like to keep my Reader feeds as organized as possible.

You can give the feed/blog a meaningful name on your list. For example, my friend Edie has a blog titled The Write Conversation. (It's good, too. Every writer should follow it.) I also follow a blog by Joe Bunting called The Write Practice. (Also good.)

I started reading them at the same time, but at first had a hard time keeping them straight.So I renamed them something I could remember (Edie Melson - Write Conversation, Joe Bunting - Write Practice)

You can also organize your feeds/blogs and put them in folders. I follow several writing blogs, a couple of technology blogs, some cooking blogs, etc. They're grouped together so I can pull up the folder, scroll down and read all their posts at once!

Folders are easy. Click on the title of the blog you just added.

You'll see a bunch of options (this is also where you can rename the feed). Click New Folder, then type in the name and that feed will automagically appear in the new folder!

Now you can drop and drag your feeds into the folder. If the feed is highlighted, it means there's a new dust bunny for you to read. If you look at the arrow on the right side you'll see the posting date. You can change that on the options menu and sort on different fields.

Once you get the hang of it, I think you'll find Reader to be one of the most helpful programs you use. You can also bookmark it so you can pull it up without going into Gmail.

If you'd like to learn more about Reader, here are a couple of good links:
Google Reader on Wikipedia
Google Reader Official Blog

Reader is also available on many smartphones, so you might want to check that out too. There's always something new to learn!


I appreciate your comments and feedback - please leave yours below!


  1. Thank you Susan! A nice summary of our "Reader" interactions for the last week. I think many will find this helpful!

    1. Thanks, Julia! You can do a lot of cool stuff with Reader. Hopefully this will whet people's interest. Let me know how you like using it!

  2. I need a Blog Mama Boot Camp Weekend! Want to go to the Lake with me this summer?

    These blogs are always so very good. Now, If I will just slow down enough to emplacement them.

    1. Oh Di, I wish we lived closer and I'd totally go to the lake with you! It's amazing all the stuff you can get done when you're not distracted with laundry and yard work and every other thing.

      Let me know if you have any other topics you'd like me to write about!

  3. Susan, I love this blog and so I'm sharing the "Liebster Award" with you. It's a "pay it forward" award to acknowledge blogs that deserve more followers. There's more information at my blog http://juliatomiak.blogspot.com. And while we're at it, in a future post can you cover things like "blog hops", awards, and whatever a "meme" is? Thanks!

  4. I'm with Diane...needing a bootcamp!!

    Oh to be as smart and savvy as you!!

    Love and hugs!

  5. I'm, with Diane on the Blog Mama boot camp!Organization of information is my one of my greatest needs (technically speaking). Thanks for this. Will set aside some time this afternoon to try it.

    1. LOL -- Blogmama Bootcamp! There's an idea!! Glad you enjoyed the info, Marcia, and I hope you were able to streamline your blog reading!


Thanks for the feedback!