In my last post, we reviewed how to find blogs that you might want to read. How do you keep up with all these blogs? If the blog has a subscription service, you can subscribe by email. However, don’t you think your email will get quite clogged after the 100th or so blog subscription? I like to put most of my blogs in an RSS reader and only subscribe by email to a few. Let’s learn how an RSS Reader called Feedly can help make reading blogs a smoother and more organized process.
What is RSS?
RSS or Really Simple Syndication is a formatted web page or feed with a list of articles from your blog. If you use WordPress or other content management systems, the feed is created for you. If you want to see your feed, go to your blog url and put “/feed/” at the end. Like this:
Years ago, before WordPress and other content management systems became popular, I actually wrote my own program for an RSS feed. I remember it wasn’t easy. We have it good now! Just comes with the package.
How to Sign Up for Feedly
If you have a Google Account, you use that to sign up for Feedly.
Click the Login button, and it will prompt you to sign into your Google account.
Feedly can help you find blogs – Click the +Add Content link on the left hand column of your screen:
Or you can subscribe to blogs as you find them. I use this method. When I am on a blog that I like (while using Firefox), I pull down to Bookmarks -> Subscribe to this page -> Subscribe to (name of blog) – RSS. Some blogs have an RSS button, and you can select Feedly as your reader. In Internet Explorer, if you have the Command bar, you will see the orange RSS button. Click that orange button to subscribe. Seems like for Chrome you need to add a special extension for one-click subscriptions. If you get the url for the feed but it’s not clear how to get it into Feedly, you can paste url for the feed into Feedly to subscribe.
Categorize your posts
Each time you add a new blog, it is a good idea to categorize the blog. Categories are useful for when you have quite a few blogs and you only want to read a certain category. Or you are doing research in one area, so you want to read what is new in that area. It also makes it handy for marking categories read in chunks at a time.
If you look at the right image, you can see how I have categorized some of my posts. You can review articles in that category by clicking on the category name.
Let’s say you don’t have a lot of time today so you want to mark everything in the Tech category as read. Run your cursor over the 24 – a line will appear through the 24 (like this:
24). You can then click, and Feedly will mark all 24 of those articles as read. They won’t disappear from Feedly – you can still go back in the category and read them. But they will no longer show up as articles to read.
Mark As Read
One of handiest parts of blog readers is mastering Mark As Read. In some cases, it asked you to confirm that you want the articles marked as read. On the upper right of a category, at the bottom of a category – use the check mark to mark as read. I find it more convenient to use the ones that skip confirmation. Right next to each article, if you hover your mouse cursor over the area, a mark as read link will appear. Click on it, and the article will be marked as read. You can also use the category list on the left that is pictured above to mark whole category sections as read.
You can use Feedly on your smart phone or your iPad or your tablet. Download the app appropriate to the platform. Feedly will synchronize what you have read. I do find the desktop version a little easier to use than the phone app – there are more ways to do Mark as Read on the desktop.
What is Your Experience?
Did you find this Feedly review useful? Do you already use Feedly or another RSS reader? Are you now tempted to try? Do you use email subscriptions to keep track of blogs? Why do you choose the methods you do for blog tracking? If you already use Feedly, what features do you find especially useful?