22 March 2013

Reading & organizing your favorite blogs!

How do you read/organize your favorite blogs? Do  you view them in a RSS Reader, subscribe by email, or go to the specific website each day to check for updates?

I read and organize all my favorite blogs in a RSS Reader. I used Google Reader for a long time. It was so easy because my blogs were all in one place, I could easily see new blog posts, and save or search for past posts. I could access them from my laptop, Kindle, or iPhone. But Google Reader is no longer going to be with us as of July 1st.

My first reaction was "NOOOOOO!! Please don't take my Google Reader away!!", but I'm over it now. Whatever. First it was Feedburner, now Google Reader - I'm starting to not like Google so much anymore.What gives, Google??

What does that mean for YOU? Well, it means that if you use Google Reader to store/read your favorite blogs, you'll need to find an alternative before July 1st or you will lose all of your bookmarked blogs. I don't want you to lose all your favorite blogs - especially this one! Sure, you can bookmark them in your browser or subscribe by email (if the blog offers that option), but that's a pain - and not very convenient if you like to read your blogs on something other than a computer. I really recommend using a RSS Reader. (You subscribe to a site's RSS feed by clicking on the button that has this symbol:


I checked out several RSS Readers, but finally decided to go with Feedly. According to their site, if you install Feedly now, your Google Reader items will "migrate seamlessly on July 1st". They offer Feedly for iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, & Safari - but not IE. (Does anyone even use Internet Explorer anymore? I haven't used it for years!) So since this is a browser extension, if you use IE and want to also use Feedly, you'll need to update to a different browser. (More info)

Feedly:
  • works much like Google Reader
  • offers 5 different viewing options
  • allows you to read full posts within Feedly
  • allows you to share or tag posts
  • allows you to still see posts that have been read (some readers don't!)

To install on Firefox:
1) click on "get Feedly for Firefox", then click on "install now" on the pop-up


2) when the next pop-up appears, click on "restart now" to restart your browser


3) once your browser restarts, click on "login", log onto your Google account, and a pop-up appears asking you to for access to your Google account - click on "allow access". This will download your saved blogs from Google Reader into Feedly!

That's it! That's how easy it is to get started with Feedly!

Of course, you're going to want to tweak it a bit so that you get the look that works best for you, so here's how you do that...

The default main page is "TODAY", but you can change it -


Click on "preferences", and then you can change the main page to "TODAY", "LATEST", or "INDEX". You can also change fonts, how often it checks for new blog posts, read & unread link colors, as well as a ton of other things, including what appears in your sidebar (you can link to Twitter & Facebook if you want.)


The "LATEST" page is all new blog posts in a list form - no pictures:


You have five options for page views; magazine, condensed, mosaic, cards, & full articles:


If you click on "change themes" (in the left sidebar), you can change the color of the sidebars:


To add new blogs to your reader, click on "add website" (in left sidebar). A pop-up appears on the right side of the page - you can search for a specific blog or add one of their suggestions. Once you enter a blog name in the search box, you have choice of opening it in Feedly or just in the sidebar - I chose Feedly. You will see suggestions in the center and also off to the side under "You might also like..". Once you locate the blog you want, click on it. This opens the blog in Feedly. The name of the blog appears at the top of the page - and next to that is a box that says "+add". Click on "+add".


You will see this blue box appear on the screen. You can change the title of the blog or leave it as is - you can also add the blog to a category. If there is no category that fits, you can make a new one. Don't forget to click on "subscribe" in the lower right corner when you're finished!


And, of course, if you're like me, you'll want to organize your blogs into categories! Just click on "organize" in the left sidebar, and the "organize" page will open. Most of your blogs are probably going to be listed under "Others". You will see a "drag & Drop" box to the left - all you need to do is pick a blog you want to categorize, and drag & drop it in that box. A screen will pop up asking you to label the new category - type in the name, and click on "create" in the lower right corner. That's it!


Here are some of the categories I made:


I think Feedly is very user-friendly. It's easy to set up, easy to import your blogs from Google Reader, and easy to personalize. And it's free!!  I really recommend this to replace Google Reader - or if you're not currently using a reader, give this one a try! If you have any questions about installing or personalizing, they do offer community-powered support - or you can email me and I would be happy to try to answer your questions.

As with any other reader, you obviously have the most options with the computer version. I've tried Feedly on my iPhone and my Kindle - they work well for reading, but if you want to make any changes or add anything, you'll need to use your computer.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Feedly or any other RSS reader. This review was not solicited and I did not receive any compensation for it - it's simply a product that I use, enjoy, & wanted to share with you.)