Sunday, April 12, 2009

Google Reader

This is mostly for my mom, but also for anyone else who needs a good feed reader and isn't sure what to do. Fairly often people tell me that they couldn't figure out how to subscribe to my blog, so here goes:

I love Google Reader. I'm sure there are others worthy of recommendation, but I use Google Reader and can personally attest to its awesomeness, and so I do.

If you click on the link at the bottom of my page that says "Subscribe blah, blah, blah", it will take you to the URL for my blog feed. That alone doesn't get you subscribed. Next, you need to put that URL into a feed reader.

So that's where Google Reader comes in.

1/ Get set up on Google Reader
Go to
You may already have a Google account--you will if you use Blogger, Gmail, Google Analytics, Google Calendar, Google Alerts, or if you've signed yourself into the Googleverse in some other way. If you do have one of those things, you should be able to use the same username and password to unlock the potential of Google Reader.

If you don't already have a Google Account, you'll have to register to create one. It's easy, free, and will make you feel good. Then you can sign in to Google Reader.


I recommend opening Google Reader in one tab, and then going to do your blog-surfing in another tab. The reason I recommend this is that if you're already signed into Google Reader, it's easier to get subscribed. I'm about to subscribe to the Scrapping Turtle blog (long overdue!!) so let me walk you through it.

Method A:
Click on the subscribe link on a blog, or the RSS button and it will take you to the feed page I mentioned earlier.

Clicking on or

will bring you to this option:

Choose to subscribe using Google. You may want to check the box that says "Always use Google to subscribe to feeds" so that you can skip this step in future.

Now it will ask you whether you want to subscribe to it in Google Reader or add it to your homepage. I suppose you could choose either, but we're talking about Reader, so click on that option.

Method B:
This method is especially handy if there is no subscription link on the blog. Highlight and copy the full blog URL in your browser's address bar. Go to your Reader tab.

Click "Add Subscription"

Paste the URL into the box.

(For mine, you would paste
Click Add. Watch as the blog feed appears. Clap.

Go to all your favourite blogs and do the same thing. Now go back to your Google Reader tab, and refresh it. You will see a list of all the blogs you love. You can now check whether there are new posts and even read the posts right from that page if the blog is available in full in the feed.


Make Groups. I have groups for my favourites, my friends, a few different kinds of photo stuff, business stuff, and a JUST FOR FUN folder, which contains random things like my OED word of the day feed. Groups help keep your feeds organized, and also let you prioritize them.

There are a couple pitfalls of feed readers:

One is that you will start to accumulate unread posts. I don't know of anybody who actually keeps up with their reader. Every few weeks, when it gets up to 200 or so, I go have a run through and scan the ones that aren't my die hard favourites (which of course, I have kept on).

The second pitfall is that you don't have to actually go to the blog. And this leads to blog-stalking instead of blog-talking. Don't forget to still pop over to the actual blogs once in a while and drop a little blog love (which means leave a comment!).

And, in case you didn't catch one of the other zillion links to Google Reader in this post: check out


Tracey said...

Um, I am one of those crazy people who keeps up with my reader (and I refuse to say how many blogs I have subscribed today on the grounds that I will incriminate myself as a total loser).

Lisa B said...

Great Post! I use something similar on my Mac, how else do I know when you post a new blog! :-)

Dodie said...

Thanks Manda!!! That was easy! Now I won't miss a post on your blog! I have added the blogs you suggested (good reads!) and I can go on a hunt for more blogs to follow.

Amanda Jane said...

I second Tracey's comment.