There’s no doubt blogging has come into its own. There are hundreds of millions of blogs on the internet right now, and countless posts on those blogs.
If there’s something your interested in, any kind of niche at all, I guarantee you someone out there is writing about it.
In the past, if you wanted to learn a new skill, or get better at something, you had to buy a book, or take a class. You don’t really have to do that any more–you can learn things from the comfort of your own home–via blogs.
This is all very exciting, but if you’re like me, then you have an area that you like to concentrate on, plus a few friends’ blogs, plus a couple of other sidelines. That adds up to hundreds of blogs, all publishing at a rate that can make it hard to keep up with. So how do you manage?
1. Get yourself a feed reader. Every single blog in the world has what’s called an RSS feed. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” This little URL makes it really easy for you to subscribe to the blog, in the same way that you might subscribe to your daily newspaper. After you subscribe, every time that blog posts, it is delivered to your RSS reader. You no longer have to check the websites of all of your fave blogs every day to see if they have new posts up. You just have to check your feed reader.
I use Google, just because it’s easy, and I already use the entire Google suite. But Bloglines is also great. Most web-based email programs these days have a feed reader built in–so check yours to see. Here is a list of the top 10 feed readers.
2. Organize: group the blogs that you follow into categories. For example, I have a category for Theatre bloggers, one for general blogging or business tips, one for friends, and one for random and miscellaneous blogs that I just like. This allows you to, at a glance, to see the most important new posts to you.
3. Make time to catch up. I currently am following around 60 blogs in my feed reader. If you do the math on that, you can see that it won’t take long for my feed reader to get out of control. It’s often over 500. So make time, whenever it works for you, whether once a day (hi, Simon! How’s your coffee today?) or once a week.
4. The power of mark all as read. Some days it just gets away with you. Despite all your best effort to read everything, or even to skim everything, you just can’t. Hit the mark all as read button and let it go. It’s okay. The world will go on.
Whatever blog reader you end up using, make sure it has some way of noting posts that really turn you on. Google Reader has a “starring” system. This way, if there is a post that you think you might like to reference later, it makes it easy for you to find.
What’s your best tip for managing your blog reading?
I’m a fan of Feedly as a blog reader, because it gives a better visual than Google Reader, and Byline (though not free it has no ads) on my iPhone. I often catch up while on the bus.