Every now and then I'm amazed by the amount of people I talk to that spend time reading specific blogs, yet have spent no time trying to figure out what better ways there are to manage the variety of content they are trying to consume.  Blogs use a web feed format called RSS, which make the possibility of being updated about new blog posts very simple.  There are several applications on the web and in the software market that help make this incredibly easy; I personally think that Google Reader is the best choice for most people, so this post will explain how to start utilizing that technology.

How To Get Started:

1. Create a Google Account

There's a good chance that you may already have a google account because of the plethora of other services they offer, but if not take the time and sign up.  You will be thankful you did.

2. Go to the Google Reader Page

Once you are logged in and get to reader.google.com for the first time, you will automatically be presented with some posts in your reader that show you how to use things.  You can spend some time checking these out but it's relatively easy to get started adding your favorite feeds.

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3. Start Adding Subscriptions

At the top left of the page, click the "Add a subscription" button.  Type in the website of the blog you want to follow, Google will do it's magic, figure out everything else it needs to know, and the blog will be added to your list of "Subscriptions."  From this point on you can begin thinking about if there are other ways you want to manage your blogs (eventually you might have hundreds of blogs you're following).  Fortunately Google Reader allows for creating sub folders.

4. Use Some of the Other Fun Features

Once subscriptions are added, you'll notice you have posts showing up under "All Items."  Read these just like you'd use your e-mail.  Google Reader allows some other neat functions like adding notes, saving items as starred items, and even the ability to share with other friends who are also using Google Reader.  Try some of these out, you might just find you really like being able to star certain posts so you can find them next time you're trying to share them with someone.

5. Find Some Good Apps

If your on the iPhone or iPad and you're following blogs, get an awesome app.  There are multiple options; my personal favorite is Reeder.  You can obviously visit the site simply using a normal web browser on those devices, but the apps provide an incredible interface for interacting with the great content you can read.

Photo Credit: Spyker3292

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