Do you know you can read hundreds of blogs quickly and easily using a Reader?
Did you know you can have your favorite blogs email you whenever they make a new post?
Do you hear the words “Reader” and “RSS” and “Subscribe” and have no clue what they mean?
Today is your lucky day!
I’m going to attempt to give a tutorial on how to use Google, Google Reader, and your email to your advantage. (Hopefully I won’t confuse the hell out of you!)
First off, create a Gmail account and an iGoogle Homepage.
How? I’m glad you asked!
Go to Google. (Or as my sister and I like to say, “the u-google-izer”).
Once you are there, SIGN IN and create a gmail account. If it won’t let you, leave me a comment with your email address and I’ll send you an invite (I’m not sure if Google makes you have an invite or not). Once you have a gmail account, click on the little link at the top that says “iGoogle”.
Awesome. Now you have your very own iGoogle. Now make it your homepage ’cause you’ll use it constantly. (To do this – at least on a Mac using Firefox – Click on Firefox, then Preferences, then click the button that says, “Use Current Page”.)
Welcome to the best day of your life. Play around with your new iGoogle page. You can add Gadgets for billions of things. I have one for my gmail (shows my email right on my home page), my blog RSS (I’ll get to this in a minute), weather, Woot, sports, news, etc. The list is endless.
Now here’s where the fun begins…
From your iGoogle page, you can access your new very best friend in the entire universe.
At the top of the screen, click on “more” and then scroll down to “Reader” and click it.
Now you are at your very own personalized Reader page. If you take just a few minutes to set this up, you will love me so much for teaching you this that I may end up needing a restraining order.
Don’t freak out when you see my Reader. I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of blogs that I subscribe to. Yours won’t look so overwhelming. Yet.
On the left is where all your blog subscriptions will be located. In the middle section is where you will READ your blog subscriptions. On the upper left is a button where you can ADD your blogs that you want to follow.
Once you add a blog to your Reader, when you click on the blog in the left column, the posts for that particular blog will show up in the middle body section of the Reader. Once you scroll down and read the post, it will go away and the blog link on the left will look normal (not bold). Blogs that have new unread posts will be BOLD while blogs with no new posts will be plain.
That, my friends, is how to create your very own Reader (or RSS).
So, now it’s time to add blogs!
Most blogs have an RSS button somewhere on their blog. Here’s mine:
The first two buttons are the most important.
The orange button is to add the blog to your Reader.
The green button with an envelope is to have new blog posts emailed to you.
Both are great ways to read blogs. I usually subscribe to blogs using the RSS button, but if they are a FAVORITE blog of mine, I’ll subscribe both ways (just so I don’t miss anything from them!).
If you click on the ORANGE button, a screen will open asking you how you want to subscribe.
Don’t freak out and close this screen when you see it. Just click on the little tiny Google button.
If the blog uses Feedburner you can also subscribe to receive email updates. I’ll address that in a few minutes. Let’s stick with the RSS/Reader for now…
Once you click the Google button, this new page will open.
If you click “Add to Google Homepage” it will add it as a Gadget on your new iGoogle. I prefer not to do this, but it’s totally up to you. Try both ways. Or just add them both. Whatever you’d like.
From here just click, “Add to Google Reader” and it will automatically add the blog to your new iGoogle Reader page that you created a few minutes ago.
That’s it. Now when you want to see if any of your favorite blogs have created new posts, you can just open your Google Reader. Any blogs in BOLD have new posts for you to read. Just click on each blog listed in the left column and their new blog post will show up right there for you to enjoy.
If you want to get even more fancy and quick, You can just click on “All Items” located right under the “Add a Subscription” button and ALL new posts for all blog subscriptions will show up in the middle body section. Just scroll down as you read each post.
There’s one last thing I want to teach you how to do today.
If you click the little green box that has an envelope, a screen will pop up prompting you to enter your email address. Once you add your email address an email will be sent to you asking you to confirm the subscription. Click on the link provided in the email to confirm the subscription.
Now you are ready to receive your favorite blogs in your email!
Whenever that blog makes a post, you will automatically receive an email containing the post. It’s so awesome!
Here’s what it looks like in my gmail account:
The post actually shows up in my email account exactly as if I were reading it in my Google Reader!
Now I never miss a post, plus as an added bonus, I can read these emails on my iPhone! (I can also read posts in my Google Reader from my iPhone).
Don’t be all Old Skool anymore and use this:
Create an iGoogle page and start using Reader!
You’ll now have so much extra time to spend with your family!…
Or you can just start reading even MORE blogs now.
Good luck! I hope I didn’t confuse you. If you need any additional help creating your new Reader, or any questions regarding anything about RSS or email, please just leave me a comment and I’ll try to get the answer for you.
Now go read some blogs!