Today, I want to talk about Google Reader.
If you can believe it, Google Reader is probably in the Top Five of my most-visited sites (along with Facebook, Gmail, my blog, and Twitter). Google Reader is an amazing website, people. If you don’t already use it, I highly suggest that you set it up right away. Like, now. I started using Google Reader when I realized that I had way too many blogs bookmarked, and I needed a place to store them all. I heard some people mention it a few times and – bam – I was hooked.
How I Use Google Reader
I started with just a few blogs, but it quickly grew to the point where I now follow hundreds of blogs. I like reading blogs because, not only am I interested in these people’s lives, but they give me ideas for recipes, things I could talk about on my own blog, and are just a general reference for the things I should be doing in order to live a healthy life.
But I don’t only follow healthy living blogs. There are tons of different kinds of blogs! I follow humor blogs, photography blogs, recipe blogs, life-casting blogs, artsy blogs, fashion blogs… you name it!
I know that a lot of my readers probably aren’t huge blog-readers like I am. But you can use Google Reader for so much more than just blogs like mine. I use mine to catch up on Perez Hilton (you caught me!), news sites like CNN or Politico, XKCD, Damn You AutoCorrect, and even some Tumblr feeds!
Subscribing to Blogs
Subscribing to a blog or a website is very easy. When you go to Reader, you’ll see a big red “Subscribe” button in the top left-hand corner (like the picture above). That button will open up a bar where you can just copy + paste the homepage of your favorite blog and the RSS feed of the blog should pop right up.
For example… If I were to follow my blog, I’d just copy + paste “http://bitinglife.com” right into the Subscribe box and - boom - I’m a subscriber. Now, my new posts will show up right in my Reader the second I publish them!
I actually do subscribe to my own blog. It helps me make sure everything is running smoothly. Sometimes I’ll glance over and catch formatting or grammar errors that I missed when editing in WordPress!
Using Folders to Organize
Recently, I cleaned up my Google Reader a lot. I had so many blogs (over 300 subscriptions!) and was always falling behind on reading them. I wanted to be able to spend quality time reading the blogs I really enjoy, rather than feeling like I had to skim over lots of posts to “catch up” on everything.
Finally, I figured out how to use Folders to categorize my blogs in my Google Reader (Feed Settings -> New Folder). Now, I have seven categories of blogs to read:
- Favorite Blogs
- Healthy Living
- News/Online Magazines
It makes it so much easier because now I know exactly what I’m going to be reading when I click on a blog, rather than barely being able to recognize it in between the jumble. When I was organizing, I was able to click through every blog and unsubscribe from those that hadn’t been updated in a while, and others that I just wasn’t interested in anymore. I trimmed down my subscriptions a lot – I only have about 275 now!
Why Do I Unsubscribe?
Here are some reasons why I might unsubscribe from your blog on Google Reader:
- You haven’t put out a new post in over a month (without warning). I want to read current and consistent blogs. If you haven’t updated in a really long time, I probably don’t even remember who you are anymore.
- I’m no longer interested in reading about whatever it is your blog is about. Sometimes this can’t be helped, but you should also try to spice up your content as much as possible. I don’t want to read the same monotone paragraphs day after day. Give me something to get excited about! Show your personality.
- Your full posts aren’t available on Google Reader. This is a big one. It’s possible to make it so that to read the full post, readers have to click on a link instead of being able to finish it in Google Reader. If I see this on a blog, I immediately unsubscribe. It’s annoying and really frustrating. If I didn’t want to read your post in Google Reader, then I wouldn’t. People do this to try to get more pageviews, but I’m 100% more likely to click on your site and comment if you let me read the whole thing in Google Reader.
My All-Time Favorite Blogs
For a list of my favorite blogs, please visit my Blogroll page!