Recently I’ve had a few people ask me how I keep track of the blogs I follow. Back before I knew too much about all this, I just bookmarked pages and blogs that I liked. However, since mobile devices have come in to my life and I follow more than 50 blogs, I have had to change how I keep track of blogs.
This post is a mini tutorial about how you can set up a system to manage your blogs and how you can gain access to these blogs when you’re out and about through your mobile device.
Firstly, you will need to choose a program to help you keep up with the blogs and sites you follow. I use Google Reader, and this tutorial will walk you through how to set this up. However, there are other possibilities out there. You can find 8 other options here.
Access Google Reader here. If you haven’t got an account you will need to create one first, see below.
Once you have created your account you will be sent an email to verify your account. When you click through to this, you will be taken to a screen letting you know your account is now verified. Click on the ‘click here to continue’ link. It will ask if you want to add your mobile phone number, but you don’t need to.
You will then be asked to sign in with the new details. Again, it will ask you for your mobile phone number, again you don’t need to provide this. Once you have clicked through you will see something like below.
Congratulations you’re now all signed up and ready to go. But, what do you do now?
This is where you can now add your sites and blogs in one spot so you don’t always need to go to the actual location. You can do this in a number of ways.
Firstly, if you know the URL of the site, you can click on the subscribe button and type this in, as below.
It will then show you information on the site and ask you to subscribe, click the subscribe button, as below.
Once you do this it will add the site to your side menu. You will also see it confirm that you are now subscribed to this feed, as below.
Every time this site updates information it will be shown here in the feed.
The other way you can add sites to your reader is if they have an RSS button on the site. Click on the rss button, like in the example below.
It will take you to a sign in page like below.
As you have a Google account, you can simply click the Google button. It will ask you again to confirm the subscription. Once you have done this it is added to your side bar, as below.
The other thing that you can do is to create folders to organise the different types of blogs that you follow. To do this, hover over the name of one of your subscriptions, you will see a little down arrow. When you click this a pop up window will open with different options. Click on the one that says ‘new folder’. Simply give this folder a name and the subscription will then move to that folder.
As you can see below I have a few different folders for the blogs I follow. When I click the down arrow to the left it expands to show the different blogs I’m following.
That pretty much gets you started!
The other thing I wanted to quickly mention is how to then add your reader to your mobile device.
I have an iPad and iPhone and I quite often read my subscriptions on my iPad while I’m eating my breakfast.
There are a few different free apps available. If you do a search of the app store for something like ‘free rss reader’ you should find some options, like below.
Once you have picked one and installed it on your mobile device, open it up. It will ask you to link the account. Just use the email and password you set when you created the Google account.
Once this is complete, your Google reader account is now linked to your new app. All the blogs should be shown, as mine are below. I can expand each folder to see which blogs I’m following and then click through to view the unread posts.
I’m currently trialling the free app FeeddlerRSS, which seems to be working quite well. I was using MobileRSS before this but encountered a number of problems. At times it wouldn’t link to all the blogs that I had in my Google reader account. Other times when I had clicked on a post it would then disappear. These seemed to be intermittent problems as when I first started using it, it seemed fine.
I hope this has helped you set up a system to manage your blogs. Now for a bit of a plug for myself ;-). Why not add Top Notch Teaching as the first feed you’re following! Just click on the RSS button in the side menu.
Please use the comments below if you have any questions. Or if you’ve been using a Feed Reader for a while and have any tips for us, then please also share these below.