This week I am stepping in to help out the Monkey's Mama with a tutorial in her place. She is currently down in Florida putting together the memorial service and funeral for her grandfather, who passed away this past Saturday. Please send your prayers and thoughts their direction--I know she will appreciate it!
My tutorial comes from my frustration with my 1000+ unread blog updates from my google reader that bombarded me last week. I got to thinking how I could better use the reader to make things easier on me, and thought maybe this could help others as well....even if it does seem basic and kind of "why didn't I do that before--does everyone else already do this but me?"
My experience is limited to Google Reader, but my husband uses Bloglines, so maybe he could chime in down in the comments any thoughts for Bloglines users..... : )
First a note--if anyone is wondering what a reader is (Hi, Mom!), I'll offer a brief explanation. A reader is a useful tool that saves you time at the computer by letting you track all of your blogs (or any website that offers a "feed") in one place. So, you can just go to the Google Reader site each day to see which of your blogs updated instead of having to visit each one individually...
1. First you need to set up a Google account, if you don't already have one. You can do this here.
2. Ok, now that you are set up and logged into your Google Reader, you should have a page that looks similar to this (without the named folders, of course....):
2. See that red arrow above pointing to Add Subscriptions? That is one way to start adding blogs to your list. Simply click that button, type in the address of the blog you wish to follow, then watch it magically appear in your list of subscriptions at the bottom. In the screen shot below, I just added my blog to the reader. It just placed the subscription at the bottom of my list, and the feed shows up in the window to the right.
3. There are other ways to add blogs to your subscriptions as well. On the blog you'd like to subscribe to, look for a symbol like this:
Click on the symbol (not that particular symbol, of course...that one will just take you to the image file...), and it will give you options to add it to your choice of reader. Just select Google and be on your way!
You can also look for the google follow button (on this blog, look to your right). By following the blog, you can also elect to view the updates in Google Reader.
4. Now, how to make the reader less intimidating when you log in and find millions of updates waiting for you? This is where organization comes in handy. What you need are folders! Yes, amazing little folder that make everything seem oh so much more manageable. To create these folders, follow along:
See the arrow above pointing to manage subscriptions? Yep, click that. That will take you to a page that lists all your subscriptions in alphabetical order. Like this:
To create a folder, click on "change folders" on the right next to one of your feeds. Scroll down to New Folder, then type the name you'd like to create, such as "Family and Friends," "News," "Craftiness, " etc. Once you create it, you can add other feeds to that folder as well.
5. Go back to your main page by clicking "Back to Google Reader" (at the top). Your page will now have folders listed, with indented feeds underneath each folder. To make it look even MORE organized, click the little "-" sign next to the folder name and watch all the feeds magically disappear into the folder. Yippee! Now, you only need to open the folder and deal with the contents when you are good and ready (read: when your baby is napping, the house work done, dinner ready, and you are done uploading files to your business website. HA! This is why my folders still have 895 unread items. But, I am getting to them, little by little, in the order I can now choose!
Hope this is helpful, even a little bit. I just started using Google Reader in the past 6 months and if I didn't have it I'm pretty sure my brain would have imploded trying to keep up with the blogs I read.