Reader Tips from Blissfully Domestic

Monday, January 23, 2012

Get More Out Of Google Reader

Google Reader is one of the most popular feed-reading tools on the web. If you are still reading blogs by visiting the sites one by one, you are missing out on a lot of time-saving functionality. Give Google Reader, and the tips below, a try.

First, use the bookmarklet. In GReader, click on "manage subscriptions" and then "goodies." Scroll down and drag the little "subscribe" button to the bookmarks toolbar. When you are on a blog you want to subscribe to, simply click the bookmarklet in your toolbar and you will be forwarded to GReader for subscription options.

Second, make use of the folders! If you are adding feeds to GReader and simply seeing a long list of items to wade through, you're sure to be overwhelmed. I have a folder for A-list blogs - the ones that are most important to me - and I check that folder first. I also have folders by topic: Moms, Social Media, Blogging Tips, Homeschooling, Friends, and News. When I subscribe to a new feed, I add it to my "Testing" folder. I monitor these feeds for a week or two to see how often they are updated and if the information continues to be of interest to me. If I decide to keep the feed, I'll then decide what folder to place it in. To set up folders, click on a feed, then select "feed settings" from the upper right corner of the page. You can then add the feed to an existing folder or create a new folder.

Third, try keyboard shortcuts to make navigating GReader faster and easier. Some of the most common shortcuts include:

  • j/k: item down/up
  • o: open/close item
  • s: toggle star (another tip: use the star to track items you want to go back to or blog about)
  • m: mark as read/unread

There's an in-depth article covering keyboard shortcuts at LifeHacker.

Finally, if you want to tweak GReader (two-click subscribe, bypass iGoogle choice page, change fonts, maximize items on the page) check out the Better GReader add-on for Firefox.

I've heard people say they dropped GReader because they were overwhelmed by seeing the "1000+ new items" to read every day. I encourage you to read this post on Making the Most of Your RSS Reader, which says, "Life's too short to worry about it, aren't you glad you read what you were able to find the time to read?"