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Jan 17

Get Organized in 2011 With Google Reader

Updated: 1/17/2011 7:40AM

Are you using Google Reader yet to follow your blogs?  If not, I thought I would share the benefits of Google Reader as well as some tips to get you started.

What is Google Reader?

Google Reader is a free web-based aggregator capable of reading RSS feeds.  Did I lose you yet?  Ok, simply put, Google Reader is a way to organize all your favorite blogs and read them all in one place. 

What do I need to use Google Reader?

You’ll need a Google account to get started with Google Reader.  If you are a Blogger user or have a Gmail account, you are all set.  If you need to create a free account, head on over to Google Reader at http://www.google.com/reader and click Create an Account.

Getting started with Google Reader

Why tell you about how to get started when Google has already put together some great tutorial videos.

Once you get the hang of it, there are lots of other features, like folders, that can help you better organize all of the sites you want to follow.  For myself, I have folders like triathlon/running, news, technology, and comedy to break up the different feeds I follow.

I use the Blogger Dashboard or Sidebar to read my feeds.  Is this any better?

Absolutely! Probably the biggest feature included in Google Reader is that it tracks what blogs you have and haven’t read.  If you are currently using the Sidebar/Blog Roll on your blog’s sidebar, then you may be missing out on some posts.  The sidebar only lists the most recent updates to the blogs you follow so if you don’t stay on top of it, old posts will disappear off the bottom of the list. 

Also, Google Reader is very portable coming in a variety of mobile based readers.  There are apps for pretty much all of the smartphones on the market to take your blogs with you.  If you have an iPhone, I recommend Byline (both paid and free versions available).  It is software that allows you to sync your blogs to your phone and enjoy them while disconnected from the Internet.  I used this heavily on Hawaii vacation because I wanted to be able to read blogs while on the plane.  It is a great app if you do lots of traveling or find yourself stuck without a signal on occasion.

If you are already using the Blogger Dashboard or Sidebar, you can easily give Google Reader a try by logging into Blogger and clicking the View in Google Reader link at the bottom of the Blog’s I’m Following Panel.

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I hope this helps you organize your blogs in 2011.  Organization = time saved = more time for training!! If you have any questions or I missed something, just leave me a comment and I can try and address it.

Update:

Based on the first couple of comments I have received, I’m adding another Google Reader tip.

The biggest downside to Google Reader is that there is no built in method for reading comments or posting comments on blogs.  There is a Comment button in Google Reader, but these comments are stuck in Google Reader and are not actually posted to the respective blog. 

Is there a way around this?  Absolutely! It isn’t the greatest solution in the world, but it works.  Hopefully Google can remedy this “problem” in the future.

In order to take advantage of this feature, you’ll have to be using the Firefox browser.  It may work on Chrome and Safari, but IE folks are out of luck as Microsoft doesn’t easily allow plugins.  Using your browser, you’ll need to install the respective addon:

  • Firefox: Greasemonkey (restart required after installation)
  • Safari: Greasekit
  • Chrome: No install need, User Scripts funtionality is built in

Once you have the software installed, head on over to http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/9455 to install the Google Reader Preview Enhanced script.  Once installed, refresh your Google Reader page. You should now have a Preview button below each post.

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Clicking the Preview button will load the full site within Google Reader which exposes the existing comments and ability to post new comments.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/01/17/get-organized-in-2011-with-google-reader

13 comments

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  1. Joel

    I love Google reader – if for no other reason than I don’t have a smartphone, and my work blogs blogger – so I can’t get to the blogs that way. The one thing I haven’t been able to figure out yet is how to leave a comment on a blog through Google reader. I don’t think you can – but it sure would be good to. I get SO FAR BEHIND in leaving comments.

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Check out the update I just posted on how to comment from within Google Reader. It probably won’t help you at work as the “solution” basically loads the blogger page within Google Reader and it will most likely still be blocked. Worth a try though.

  2. kc

    thanks for doing this post. i’m still learning my way around google reader a year later. like Joel said, not being able to comment from there is a hassle.

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Check out the update I just posted on how to comment from within Google Reader. It isn’t the best solution in the world, but it might make things a bit easier.

  3. Jon

    I gotta give this another shot. I guess I am so used to using the sidebar that it is ingrained in my blogger reading routine. Gotta break the habit!

  4. Lisa

    I use the links I have on my sidebar of blogs I like to follow. Start at the top and work myself down. i know i’ve read it when the link changes color. Guess i’m technology challenged.

  5. lindsay

    wait, what?! you can comment without leaving google reader? i don’t have this “preview” option.

    oh wait. i’m at work on antiquated ie. seriously why does corp america think ie is useful. i don’t recall seeing ‘preview’ on my mac but i could just be clueless.

  6. Mandy

    I will try this again, you just convinced me. I have been using the sidebar but know I miss stuff…I am a Firefox girl so will try the Greasemonkey plug-in…I like greasemonkeys too.

    Flop Bailey’s ears for me!

  7. Jeff

    I need to try this again too. usually I just use the sidebars on my own blog or the dashboard.

  8. kc

    Thanks for updating that Kevin. I have google chrome installed on my PC so I will try this at home today. It would make life so much easier to be able to read and comment in the same place without having to actually go to each blog. I like that sample screenshot…fancy blog!

  9. Derek

    awesome!
    I totally needed this to get on board with GReader instead of blogger dashboard

    old habits die hard right?
    Im going to switch and get down with it tonight I think I have some time to get to it
    and also the 201IM< site Ive been meaning to get to
    time time time need more time!! haha

  10. Colleen Kingery

    I just added your blog to my google reader! I don’t know what I’d do without it! :)

  11. Kristin

    It would be nice if technology fairies would come in the night and set this stuff up for us!

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