I recently received a comment asking what Google Reader is.
Only the best thing ever! Devin introduced me to it. I know there are at least a few of you out there that haven’t discovered this wonderful tool so I’ll give you a quick, and hopefully simple, tutorial on how to set it up and use it–or at least what I know about it (ie the minimum).
First, you need an account. Gmail. Don’t have it? It’s definitely time to make the switch. You can just sign up for it (you don’t need an invite like you used to) and it’s free. Just go to gmail.com and click on create an account. K, done.
Next, sign in. (Was that too obvious?) Along the top left there is a link that says “Reader”. Don’t see it? It’s under the address line, above the “GMail” logo, next to the link “Documents”. (yeah, I can’t quite figure out how to circle it for you.)
Click on “Reader.”
Now you can add all the blogs and web sites that you check on a regular basis. It will show you when they have been updated so you don’t have to constantly check them. It’ll look something like this:
Now, add your sites. Go to the home page of a blog, not a specific post. Let’s do mine as an example. The entire URL is https://www.devinandbrittany.com/. Copy that from the address line when you are on the page. This is of course in a new window or new tab because you want to keep the Reader open too. Anyway, copy the address of the homepage and then click on the box on the top-ish left that says, “Add a subscription.” Then paste the entire URL into the box that pops up and click “add.” It will then appear in the bottom-ish left of the page under “subscriptions.” There you have the option of creating different folders and renaming the sites you are subscribed to. I’m not going to go into all of that, just play with it.
Now that you have added all your favorite sites, all you have to do is go to your Google Reader to see what’s new with everyone. After the initial set up, it will probably tell you that there are dozens, even hundreds of new unread items. It’s just playing a little catch up but once you scroll through all of them, you should be good to go.
Just a little heads up, Google Reader will not show you when a private site is updated. For example, I have a few blogs that I read that the writers have made private and they require you to log in to read them. They won’t show up in the reader.
And a few other time-saving tips:
Use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process. To copy a URL, highlight the entire address then click ctrl+c (incase you are unaware, this means hold the “ctrl” button while pressing “c” just like you would do if you were trying to make a capital c except use ctrl instead of shift. Does that make sense?) Ctrl+c copies the highlighted text. To paste, move your curser to the area you want it, then press ctrl+v.
Another helpful function is the tab. Not the tab button that indents or moves you to another text field, but the window tab. This makes it so you can have one browser open but you can be on several sites at the same time. Make sense? Here’s a screen shot of an example.
See how along the top there are three tabs (Google Reader, Devinandbrittany, etc)? This is in Chrome but other browsers are similar in function and look. The tab that is lighter is the page that is displayed. You can switch between the different pages quickly without opening a whole new browser window. To do this, you can either click on the little “+” sign at the top right of the current tab or press ctrl+t. It will open a new tab and then you can go to a new site without leaving the other one.
So, now you know! Google Reader, ctrl+c, ctrl+v, and ctrl+t.
I love shortcuts.