Fridays are tip days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Recently a dear friend of mine asked me how to manage blog reading. She had just gotten into the whole blog reading concept, but found she never remembered to check for new articles. Here are some ways to manage blog reading:
Please note that products mentioned here are used as examples. I do not necessarily use or endorse any of the products listed on this page. They are here merely for illustration. Use at your own risk.
RSS readers are the “put everything in one place” for blog reading. There are many packages out there that do this, both installed locally or on the web or a mixture of both. Some examples of this software are Google Reader (online and offline), Bloglines (online) and Newsgator FeedDemon RSS Reader (desktop). See Lifehacker’s “Best RSS Newsreader?” for more information.
Advantages of feed readers: they keep everything in one place.
Disadvantages of feed readers: if you don’t remember to look often, you could end up with an unmanageable amount of reading to do.
Read By Email
Most blog feeds will allow you to subscribe to updates via email. This means you will receive an email every time a new post is made to the blog. If a favorite blog doesn’t offer email updates, you can use a tool like Feed My Inbox to do the conversion for you. Some email applications can also function as RSS readers natively, like Thunderbird or with addons like Newsgator RSS Reader for Outlook.
Advantages of Email: Everything is in one place. You can read your blogs with your email.
Disadvantages: this can bury your regular email, and can be overwhelming for high-output feeds.
What I Do
I use Google Reader to manage my feeds. I have set up two types of labels, which indicate how often I will check the feeds, or categories they may fall in. For instance, the top category is called “-A List”. These feeds are ones I want to read every time I come into the reader. These include personal blogs, blogs I really enjoy, and ones I want to stay on top of.
Next I have feeds that I check daily which monitor my own blogs. This lets me know if there was a publishing problem, or if there is something wrong with one of my feeds.
Next is my probation category. Any time I subscribe to a new blog, it goes in here. When I have determined that the blog is worth my attention, it gets categorized. Otherwise I delete it.
Categories: the rest of the labels are categories. They include crafting, friends, financial, blog topics, work and many others. Some blogs may be labeled in multiple places.
I don’t actually use Google Reader for reading. Instead, I will flag posts with ReadItLater (see Managing My Blog Reading). This allows me to quickly wade through articles and set aside those I wish to take more time on later.
Photo by derrickkwa