These blogs don’t talk about internet business in the way that some of the people on my blog roll (see the Links page) do — instead they make money by doing things differently than anyone else.
Many of these blogs make money selling private ad placements, through advertising networks or reviews of products/sites and services or through good old-fashioned affiliate sales. The numbers are nothing to scoff at. Some of these bloggers make anywhere from a few thousand a month to over $200,000.00 per month! The cool thing is that many – actually all of them share their stories and insight into their journey.
Now how do you manage so many subscriptions? I used to go to each site on a daily basis and read. That’s just not possible to do when your list of sites is 20 or more long! Right now, in my reader I have only 10 sites listed – but there are almost 100 posts. Could you really keep track of that many sites?
I wanted something that could help me get my feeds up and running as quickly as possible, and with as little configuration as required.
The answer was – Google Reader.
Logging into Google Reader is much like logging into any of the other Google properties. You supply your e-mail address and a password and click on the “Sign in” button.
Once you’ve signed into Google Reader, you’re greeted with a few items (you will need to click on the images to see a larger version of the screen). This is your “home” page. The home page will show you:
- Menu with a count of the number of items in your reader
- Starred items – sort of like bookmarks or important items you want to keep track of
- Shared items
- Friends shared items
The last two items bring a bit of the social scene into your RSS reader (think del.icio.us). Personally I like the starred items feature – allows me to bookmark important items that I would like to come back to later.
One thing you will notice upon logging in is that the interface and rss reader layout is very similar to Google Mail.
TIP: If you noticed the RSS feeds are arranged alphabetically. If you’re smart, you could set-up your title tags for your site so that in the RSS reader it shows up at the top. Cool trick, huh?!
With Google Reader I can view the feeds when I want them, or view all of them. If I want to read a particular feed, it is as simple as clicking on the name of the feed you’d like to read as I’ve shown in the image. I selected John Chow and a list of all available items is shown to me.
The list of items is shown in list view, you can switch to expanded view and you see the full content of each post. I didn’t like this view very much, I’d rather see the list view and then pick which posts I would like to read. Using this method you need to ensure that your posts have compelling headlines to prompt visitors who are using Google Reader (or any reader for that matter) to read your post.
You can “drill into” each of the stories by clicking on the item, then clicking on it a second time returns you back to list view.
The other cool feature is the starred items. When you expand a story you can star it – basically this is like hilighting a story.
One feature I wish Google Reader would be some way to identify if you’ve ever commented on a post. But you can at least visit the site and read the post directly using the double >> icon.
So back to the starred items.
On the menu, there is an item called “Starred items”. Click on that and you instantly see all the items you’ve starred – cool feature!
So we’ve looked at how to read and work with Google Reader – but how the heck do you add a feed into the reader? Simple!
Just under the menu is this big-honking link that reads “Add subscription”. Clicking on this opens up a green box where you enter the RSS feed details then click the “Add” button. A few seconds later, the reader has loaded the stories through the feed and you are on your way!
There are a few more things that I’d like to show you in Google Reader – but this post is getting pretty long so I’m working on a video that i’ll share with you here in the next few days.
As with all my posts, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions and comments for this story and future “how to’s”.