In today’s business world, it can seem impossible to keep up with all the news out there. The internet has made information simultaneously easy to access and overwhelmingly plentiful. The best way to keep up with the trends and important goings-on in your industry is to read the content being published by reputable and relevant blogs; but how can you manage the task of checking every day to see if there’s new content you haven’t already read?
feedly to the Rescue
Before I discovered feedly, I had moved from feeling overwhelmed by the blog-keeping-up task to essentially giving up and not reading my favorite blogs consistently. feedly (with a lowercase f) is an rss feed aggregator. (Don’t worry too much about what that means: that’s another blog post for later…you can read this excellent one-page summary if you want to know more now.)
By pulling together content from all of your favorite sources and allowing you to specify that you only want to see fresh content — articles that you haven’t already seen — feedly makes it much easier to keep up with all the news you need to know. I currently follow over 100 blogs using feedly, and I’m able to keep up with them daily (partly because not every blog posts every day, and partly because I am able to tell from the headline and the excerpt that feedly shows me whether or not I want to click through and read the entire article). For me, it’s the modern-day equivalent of reading the morning paper.
Sound like something you could use? Here’s how to get started using feedly to keep up with your online reading.
How to Get Started Using feedly
Go to feedly.com in your browser, or find the feedly app in iTunes or the Google Play Store (no Windows app yet…). I’ll use screenshots from the browser version here, but the apps look similar enough that you can follow along easily if that’s where you prefer to work. If you download the app, it will sync to your desktop once you’ve logged in both places.
Below is a screenshot of what you’ll see when you first land on the page. Click either of the Get Started buttons to get started — easy so far, right?
Either Get Started button will lead you to a screen where you can either create your own account (with the Continue with feedly button), or log in using one of your existing accounts from another app.
Once you’ve logged in or created your username and password, the main page will show you a search box where you can enter a specific blog name, site url, or topic you’d like to explore (feedly can show content from sources other than blogs, such as podcasts and YouTube channels, but I’m going to keep it simple here by just using the term “blogs”). If you’d rather see what feedly has pulled together, you can choose from one of their pre-selected content categories called Starter Kits.
Scroll down a little further on the main page, and you’ll see some Shared Collections that you can choose from. These are just a different way that feedly has organized content, through sharing the collection of sources created on feedly by various experts or thought leaders.
For our example, let’s enter a content category of our own to explore. In its Starter Kits, feedly has a Business category, but let’s get more specific by entering “small business” in the search box.
feedly suggests a couple of top feeds that fit your search term, but let’s just hit enter and see what comes up.
The resulting screen shows summaries of blogs that fit our criteria. Within each box, you’ll see the blog title, a short description, a screenshot of a recent article, the number of people following this blog, the approximate number of articles published each week (use this to gauge how realistic it will be for you to keep up), and finally whether the articles within feedly will include the full text or an excerpt (meaning you’ll have to click through to the website if you want to read the rest).
Let’s go ahead and add one of these blogs to our daily feed. To do this, click the plus sign in the blog’s box. We’ll add Entrepreneur to our feed (one that I actually do follow, and whose articles I often share with my followers).
Once you have clicked the add button, you’ll notice that the sidebar allows you to make a few changes before you complete the process. You can, if you want to, change the displayed Title for a feed to something that makes it easier for you to recognize. You can check the Promote to Must Read box to add articles from this blog to a special section in your feedly interface. And you can create a Collection name that specifies which category you want to see this blog under — this can be very helpful if you want to separate out personal interest blogs from business ones, or if you have more than one business you’re following trends in.
Once you complete your changes (if any — you can leave the suggestions that feedly offers if they meet your needs), click the green Add button to complete the process of adding this blog to your feed.
Now your sidebar shows that you’re following the Entrepreneur blog, and the main part of your feedly screen shows the latest articles from the Entrepreneur feed. If you want to keep adding more blogs, the Add Content button brings you back to the search page to continue building your feed.
You’ve Got Options
If you click on the gear icon at the top of your feedly page, you can access other options that change the appearance of your main page, including the format articles are displayed in, marking all articles as read (handy if you get so far behind you think you’ll never catch up and just want to start over!), and the sort order of your feed display.
That’s all there is to it! Let me know how you like feedly if you try it, and if you have any problems setting up your feed, just contact me and I’ll help you out!