One of my biggest passions? Blogs. I love writing for them, I love searching for them and I especially love reading them. The downside to this is that I have a huge number of blogs. I mean there are really lots of great blogs in my niche I need to keep up with.
When you have too many blogs to follow, you run into the problem of actually reading them all. Not that I don’t manage, which is exactly the issue: it can really screw with my productivity – to the point that I sometimes waste way too much time I could be working doing nothing but catching up.
Tai Lopez has an excellent article on how to optimize your reading productivity which should probably be your first step. Once you are done there, proceed to the tips below:
Step 1: Clean up Your Reading List
The first step is the easiest: cleaning up your RSS and email subscriptions. It’s quite natural that your reading list is constantly growing: you fall in love with new blogs and discover new voices. However this also means that your list is getting harder and harder to keep up with.
Therefore you need regular cleaning.
There is no way that every blog you follow is active, or that you even read it regularly. If you find yourself with a huge list and only a percentage being updated or read, it is time to get rid of some of the clutter.
- Start by getting rid of things that just haven’t updated for awhile. If it has been more than a month, you are probably able to safely discard it. For those you really attached to, you can push the time period to three months.
- Next, go for ones you don’t really read. If you are at all like me, there will be at least a dozen you wanted to read but never got around to. Don’t try saying that now you remember it, you will read it. You know it is just taking up space… no hoarding!
- Finally, set a number of acceptable follows. I set the number at twenty, which is a little high. But, as I said, I am addicted. You might prefer ten or even just five. Once you have that number, pick out the must-read or most-loved blogs, and get rid of all the rest until you only have that final amount of blogs being followed.
In the same vein as the above tips, there are browser bookmarks to take care of. My own bookmarks bar on Firefox is nothing but folders with lost of links – so many that I have that little arrow in the corner that pulls a drop down menu of dozens more.
At least, that is what it did look like, before I cleaned up my subscriptions. I did pretty much the same thing as above. I got rid of those that did not update for some time.
Step 2 – Get An RSS Reader For Your Tablet/Smartphone
Of course, you can always read more if you do it while you are on the go. I spend a lot of time on my phone or tablet when I am out. Whether it is on the bus or train, sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for an appointment, or even in line at the post office – there are many chances to get in some reading.
My most favorite app for that is Feeddler. This is a simple application that works by allowing you to collect, maintain and read RSS feeds right on your iPhone, iPad or Android.
They have both a free and a paid version, the second having some more features. But I recommend the more basic – extremely useful – free one.
Step 3 – Turn Blogs Into eBooks
Of course, if you want another simple way to take them with you, you can always turn blogs into ebooks to read. This is also a great way to keep a backup of interesting posts or blogs you truly love. It is also a lot easier than it might sound, thanks to a number of handy applications and websites that have been created for this purpose
I have two apps I prefer for this. The first is Calibre. It is a downloadable program, which might put some people off. But it is a one step style of ebook creator, which should provide a certain amount incentive. Especially for those who plan on regularly making blogs into ebooks. You simply download the posts into your tablet or ereader. It is also free, so there is another pro.
The second is Zinepal. Anyone who doesn’t want to download anything, or just plans on occasionally making ebooks, can use this program instead. It lets you put in the URL of the blog, then brings up a list of the most recent posts going back quite awhile. You can choose the posts you want and make the ebook.
Step 4 – *Listen* to the Blogs
If you have turned your favorite blogs into PDF archives to take them with you on your trip and keep reading on the go, you can go one step further and listen to them.
Lots of bloggers have podcasts these days. My favorite example is Social Media Examiner that turns every blog post into a podcast episode. Check your favorite blogs: It may be an option for you too!
Step 5 – Create ‘Read Later’ Lists
One of my personal favorite things to do is create ‘read it later’ lists. These are handy if you just want to keep a collection of random posts, rather than subscribing to the blog itself, or following it. It makes it much easier to keep track of different posts, without stuffing them into bookmarks to be forgotten.
There are a lot of tools for this. One I like is Pocket, which was formerly Read It Later. It now has a mobile emphasis that allows you to access it anywhere, from any PC, your phone or tablet. Think of it as similar to Evernote.
Step 6 – Make It Easier to Read By Removing Clutter
One problem I have when I read through my browser is that my eyesight isn’t great. Some blogs really strain my eyes, and I hate the clutter that ends up all over the page. So I like anything that minimizes those distractions for me.
Look at Instapaper for clutter-free reading.
Don’t your blogophilia suffer because there are only 24 hours in a day. The six tips above will be sure to make it much easier to read all the blogs you like, in the most efficient way possible.
Have some other tools to suggest? Let us know in the comments!
I like to create content on the fly nowadays for my website or blog using my phone when I don’t have time to be in 1 place and create content sitting down.
Cheers for the recommendation for Feeddler! Just downloaded that and will help me prioritise my blog reading. Great article Ann!
Glad to hear it looks useful!
I personally use RSS reader and it gives me updated information when I really need it. Some really good stuff, I enjoy it.
I will find now more time to read, great content
Great post Ann. Number 1 is what I’m working now. I used to be so confused trying to follow so many blogs that I could no longer follow any blog. I just started cleaning up my blog and going to create a new rss feeds. I’m even deleted some old posts. Great reminder.
Nevermind blog reading if you ask me. Keep your smartphone on deck and speech recognition on your phone enabled, whereas you’re creating content for your blog on the fly in draft mode using Google Docs or MS Word on your phone. Using your phone to write blog content can and will boost SEO almost overnight. That is, if you stay in a persistent content writing mindset.
Thanks for sharing informative post.
Podcasts are the good way to learn nowadays in a quick time even on the busiest days.
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