The default setting for Google Reader means that all blogs you “Follow” using Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to using RSS feed, will automatically appear in your Google Reader. You can skim blog posts in Reader, and decide which you want to open and comment on, which you will read without commenting, and which you want to skip reading this time around. Check out some of the shortcut keys I’ve listed below to make things even quicker.
You can also organize your subscriptions in Reader, so you can choose which particular type of blogs you look at on Tuesday evenings, say. I’ve found this SOOOO useful; I couldn’t keep up with all the blogs I follow otherwise. Here’s a (hopefully) simple “how to”:
Organizing Google Reader:
Sorting your subscriptions
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but you can pull up a list of all the blogs you’ve subscribed to and organize them into folders. If you’re running short of time, or need to prioritize which posts you look at first, you can pull up just the blogs in a particular folder and read through those (and leave the other posts for another time/day).
To organize your subscriptions into folders
(1) Go to “Settings” at the top right of your Google Reader page
(2) Click on “Reader Settings”
(3) Click on “Subscriptions”. This will pull up a list of all the blogs you subscribe to
(4) Select the box beside the blog you want to “organize” (red circle). You can select multiple blogs at once. Then go over to the “Change Folders” drop-down menu (blue circle)
(5) In the drop-down menu, either click on the folder you want to put the selected blog in (if you’ve already created a folder) or else hit “New Folder” and name the folder when the pop-up box appears. I called my new folder “Crusaders”. You can then click on the “Crusaders” option in the drop-down menu, and the blog(s) you selected will be allocated to the “Crusaders” folder in Google Reader
(6) Once you’ve organized all the subscriptions, click on “Back to Google Reader”
Choosing only a certain category of blog to read
To search for the posts in a particular folder (after you’ve organized your folders as per the above):
(1) Click the drop-down menu labelled “All items” in the top left of Google Reader
(2) Select the folder you wish to search
(3) Press search
(4) Read away :)
Much easier, I think!
Using Google Reader:
There are a lot of shortcut keys you can use to make life easier. Here are some of the ones I use the most:
s – Stars or un-stars an item (to save it for later)
j/k – Selects the next/previous item in the list
r – Refresh
Shift+A – Mark all as read
o – Open / Close item (in list view)
v - opens the original source for an article in a new window
f – toggles reading list to full screen mode and back
1 - displays the subscription as expanded items
2 - displays the subscription as a list of headlines
? - displays a quick guide to all of Reader's shortcuts
Searching within feeds
This is also very useful. You can use the search bar at the top of Google Reader to search through the feeds you've subscribed to. Matching items are displayed in either Expanded View or List View, depending on the way you usually use Reader (1 and 2 in the shortcut keys above). The search terms will be highlighted so you can scan them quickly.
(ETA) Subscribing to blogs with no RSS button
Jordan pointed this out in the comments below (thanks so much):
If you just want to subscribe rather than follow, blogs often have buttons to subscribe to their RSS feeds. You can click on that and choose the option to read it in Google Reader.
If a blog doesn't have an RSS button, copy its URL, go to Google Reader, click the Add Subscription button and paste the URL.
I hope these tips and tricks help you out.
How about you: do you use Google Reader or another program to organize your subscriptions? Do you know any other useful tips or tricks?