The Wonder of Tech is honored to welcome guest author and fellow blogger Adrienne Smith. Many of you know Adrienne from her blog, AdrienneSmith.net, where she does a brilliant job helping others with blogging, tech, marketing and life in general.
When you subscribe to a blog, online newspaper, journal or magazine, or Google Alerts, you have an option besides receiving email updates: you can use RSS feeds. Some people prefer to use RSS feeds to avoid clogging up their email inbox and be able to use an RSS reader to read articles. (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication )
Adrienne, a whiz at RSS feeds, kindly agreed to do a guest post with a video showing Wonder of Tech readers how to use RSS feeds with Google Reader.
For those of you who don’t know me, I love to help people learn. Carolyn and I met through blogging and I have a feeling I’ve helped her about as much as she’s helped me. I love to call her the Tech Queen because to me, she’s all that and more.
She recently wrote a post titled “On Alert With Google Alerts” and in that post she shared with her readers how to send those alerts to email or to your RSS feeds. Now because Carolyn loves to help people as much as I do, she asked if I would share this information with you today, just in case any of you aren’t familiar with how to subscribe and read RSS feeds.
I decided it would be so much easier to just walk you through not only how to subscribe and read RSS feeds but also how to:
- set them up in Google Alerts,
- unsubscribe to feeds
- set up folders
- rename the feeds
- how to know when there is a new post and
- what do do if you subscribe to a feed and the subscription doesn’t appear.
All that will be answered in this video:
Carolyn’s Google Alerts article describes how to sign up for Google Alerts using RSS feeds plus this video shows you how at the 1:00 mark.
Subscribing to RSS Feeds
To subscribe using RSS feeds, as shown at the 2:00 mark of the video, click on this symbol on the website:
This button takes you to Feedburner where you have a choice of feed readers to use. Google Reader was voted the most popular RSS reader by 63% of the voters in a poll by Lifehacker. In second place was Reeder, an app discussed at the bottom of this post. Google Reader is free with your Google account.
You can click “Add to Reader” and you will be taken to your Google Reader account where the subscription will appear (as seen at 2:30 on the video).
Using Google Reader
To access Google Reader directly, go to your Google account and click on “More” at the top of the page and choose “Reader” from the menu. Your Reader page will appear:
Your feeds and folders appear in the left column. The titles in bold have unread articles in them. and the number in parenthesis next to the title is the number of unread articles for that title.
You can manage your feeds by clicking on the down arrow in your reader next to the name of the feed (3:30 in the video). The drop-down menu will give you options such as unsubscribe, rename, translate into my language and others. You can also use this arrow to sort the articles by date or by read vs. unread articles (called “Sort by Magic”).
Using Folders in Google Reader
To help organize your feeds, you can use folders (see 4:10 of the video). As you subscribe to more feeds you may find having them all on your Reader’s home page is a bit overwhelming, so using folders can help keep your Reader organized. This can be especially helpful if you’re reading your articles from the small screen of a smartphone.
To create a new folder, click on the arrow next to a feed and scroll to the bottom of the menu to New Folder. Your folders will appear in the left column and you can either drag and drop your feeds into the folders or use your menu to assign feeds to a folder.
Handy RSS Tip
If you click on the RSS feed icon at a website, you may get crazy looking text like this:
Don’t panic, there’s an easy solution (6:00 in the video). This means that the owner of the website has not set up its feed with Feedburner. To get the feed into your reader:
- Copy the web address (URL) of the page with the jumbled text,
- Go back into Google Reader,
- Hit the red “Subscribe” button in the upper left corner,
- Paste the URL into the box that appears and
- Click Add.
The feed will appear in your reader and you will be subscribed to the RSS feed.
Now we have the blogs covered right! So who best to share with us how you can read your RSS feeds on your mobile or hand held devices but the “Queen of Tech” herself. Carolyn is definitely the pro on this.
One of the advantages of subscribing using RSS feeds is that you can easily access your subscriptions on your mobile devices. There are two ways of accessing your Google Reader on your mobile device:
- Going through your mobile browser to the Google Reader website or
- Using an app
You can access your RSS feeds by going to the Google Reader website on your mobile browser. You will see the familiar set-up of the Google Reader page that you see on your computer, complete with folders. You can manage your feeds from this site, though it is more easily done on a tablet such as an iPad, than on a the smaller screen of a smartphone.
The easiest way to read your RSS feeds on your mobile device is by using an app. For iOS, Reeder is the gold standard for RSS feed readers. The app has separate versions for the iPhone and iPad though the iPhone version will work on the iPad. If you use your iPad a lot for reading feeds, you may want to spring for the iPad version. The iPhone/iPod Touch version of Reeder is available for $2.99 and the iPad version is available for $4.99 in the iTunes App Store.
For Android devices, check out gReader, a free app from Google Play. This colorful app is easy and intuitive to use and has many features such as the ability to read the articles when you’re offline. A Pro version of the app is available for $5.19 that’s ad-free and syncs with podcasts as well as articles.
Additional Google Reader Tools
To customize the look and feel of your Google Reader, check out this helpful article from Lifehacker: Supercharge Google Reader with Styles and Extensions.
If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your subscriptions to blogs, journals, newspapers and Google Alerts, use Google Reader.
Do you use RSS feeds? Do you use Google Reader? Have you been looking for ways to manage your subscriptions? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Many thanks to Adrienne for this fantastic article and video. She did a marvelous job explaining and showing how to use RSS feeds. If you haven’t checked out her amazing blog, you should certainly head over to AdrienneSmith.net and check it out.
Adrienne Smith confesses to be a self-proclaimed social media, blogging, internet marketing and personal development fanatic. Guilty as charged… She enjoys helping others achieve success online so any tips she shares on her blog, she hopes you’ll find beneficial.