RSS Option 2: Using an RSS Reader

Version 4
    Using Google Reader

    To up-level your RSS experience a bit, you’ll need an RSS Reader. The benefit of using a reader is that it organizes and summarizes all your feeds on one page so you can quickly scan to see which articles or blog entries you want to read. You can add also add tags to your favorite posts and easily share your feeds with your “friends.” Depending on whom you ask and the criteria you use, the top two online RSS readers are Google Reader and Bloglines based on share of US site visits, but many others have loyal users as well. (Here's a great current article about the top 5 RSS readers.) Google Reader is easy to use and feature rich; of the handful of Web-based RSS readers I tested, newsgator was also a top pick.

     

    However, there's much to be said about desktop-based RSS reader applications that you install on your computer. These readers download your subscriptions to your computer so you can read them offline, plus you will still have them even if the original articles are no longer available. In fact, if you only use one computer--and don't particularly need to access your feeds from different locations--you may rather download and install a reader. Take a quick look at this long list of reasons you might want a desktop RSS reader.

     

    All that said, here's a quick look at how to get started with Google Reader.

    using_google.jpg

     

      

    1.    Click the RSS button path rss.jpgon a Web site that provides subscription. A new page loads.

    Note: Look for the one-click Add to Google icons or buttons googlebutton.jpg, which will quickly and automatically add the subscription to your Google Reader (or Google Homepage). If you click this button, select Google Reader from the page that opens and skip the remaining steps.

    2.    Copy the URL of the subscription page.

    3.    Go to Google Reader: http://www.google.com/reader

    4.    If you have a Google account, log in. Otherwise, click Create an Account and follow the instructions.

    5.    You can take a tour of Google Reader, or click Get started by adding subscriptions.

    6.    Click Add a subscription.

    google_reader-add.jpg

    Note: With one click, you can also subscribe to "bundles" of topical feeds set up by Google. Click the Subscribe button on any of the topics of interest.

    7.     Paste the URL from step 1 into the search box. Click Add.
    google_reader-addsubs.jpg

    8.    Google Reader will re-load with the new subscription. To add more subscriptions, repeat steps 1 through 7.

    9.    Click Home at the top left of your Google Reader to see a summary of all your subscriptions and their latest entries.

    10.  Click the link to the subscription to load that site in your reader.

    google_reader-home.jpg

    11.  When reading an article or blog entry that you want to forward to someone else, read later, or tag for future reference, use the tools at the bottom of each entry:
    googlereader_tag.jpg

    12. For more information and tips and tricks for using Google Reader, see Newbie's Guide to Google Reader.

     

    Not interested in this option? Try Option 3: Creating a Customizable Homepage (creating a homepage that includes RSS feeds) Coming soon!

     

    This is a continuation of a series of how-to articles on RSS. View the beginning of the series.