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Top 10 tips for effective blog reading - part 1

Top 10 tips for effective blog reading and Bloglines

Ah… blogs - one of the best ways to waste lots of time.
Here are the top 10 tips we’ve found for being more productive when reading blogs.

  1. Before going any further investigate different blog readers - if you’re going to spend time reading blogs, use the right tools for the job. Different blog aggregators engender different usage styles - find one that is as efficient as possible. We use Bloglines for a number of reasons outlined below these tips.
  2. Try resizing your browser or news reader to make the text appear in a thin column about 8 words wide so that you can speed read it.
  3. Before attempting to change your habits, get a handle on your addiction :-) - record how much time you spend reading each of your blogs or blog groups.
  4. Now set time limits and times when you’ll read blogs - and stick to them. For example, 12:00-12:30 and 3:30-4:00. Set up something to enforce the limit - perhaps an alarm, or tell a friend/colleague you’ll buy them a dvd if they catch you reading blogs outside the time limits.
  5. Limit how many feeds you subscribe to on a particular topic. If you add a new feed, strongly consider deleting one of your old ones.
  6. Periodically test your feeds. Leave a feed unread for a week. Then spend some time doing a catchup and ask yourself “was that really worth my time?”
  7. Organise your categories not by topic (tech, java, games, news etc) but by importance and/or reading frequency.
    Example categories:
    Important/Must Read
    Daily - blogs you check daily
    Every monday - blogs you check every monday
    Every friday
    Weekly
    Monthly
    etc
  8. Add a ‘quarantine’ category for new blogs that you’re adding to your aggregator. After a week or so, decide whether you really want to keep that blog and move it to the appropriate category.
  9. Add an ‘ignore’ category for blogs that you no longer read - this helps you remember your decision. If you ever come across the blog in the future and think “ooh, I’ll add that to my aggregator”, you’ll see that it’s something you decided wasn’t worth your time.
  10. Consider subscribing to only a subset of a person’s blog. Someone may have interesting things to say about your favorite topic but do you really want to know about their thanksgiving dinner as well? Many bloggers tag their posts into categories and it’s often possible to get category-specific feeds. For an example, see our list of categories in the sidebar.

What we like about bloglines:

  • it’s with us wherever there’s a net connection so there’s no need to synch between home and work
  • you don’t have to click on each item to read each entry - one click on a blog or group of blogs and all the posts will be presented on one page
  • it ’stores up’ entries - if you haven’t looked at a feed for a while, instead of just getting, say, the last 10 articles in the feed’s xml, you’ll get every item since your last check, up to 200 items

Here’s a bonus tip for those of you that write blog posts - to help people quickly read your posts, somehow highlight the essence of your posts like we’ve done with the bold text in this post.

Links to other great posts about this topic :
http://dmiessler.com/archives/416
http://www.to-done.com/2005/07/productivity-tips-for-avid-blog-readers/
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/05/managing-your-blog-feeds/

Do you have any other tips or have you tried one of the above? Have you found anything that works for you or have you tried something that didn’t work? Add a comment. You can also subscribe to our feed here or add it to your Bloglines.

In our next post, we’ll define some simple rules to determine whether a blog is worth reading!

Trackback: http://www.nevndave.com/2005/12/02/top-10-tips-for-effective-blog-reading-part-1/trackback/

47 Comments »

  1. Nels said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 9:33 am

    #9 is brilliant! I don’t have that problem often, but I have subscribed to something that I’ve previously unsubscribed from! Thanks!

  2. Two Minute Offense :: How to read blogs more effectively :: December :: 2005 said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 9:33 am

    […] 10 tips that are BRILLIANT! […]

  3. Jeff O'Hara said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 10:43 am

    I love this article, I’m rearanging my rss feeds right now!!!!! I wish I would have thought of this.

  4. gary said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 10:46 am

    Wow. I didn’t know blog reading was a race. Sorta takes the fun out of it, all them rules…

  5. Secure Steve said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 11:30 am

    I agree with the ‘quarantine’ category for new blogs. I got into the habbit of adding everything into specific little categories at a rapid pace, and now sorting through has become a huge task. Definately take the time to REALLY see if you want to be reading that blog, and then you can move it to whatever category is appropriate.

  6. nach-recht-en»Blog Archive » Effiziente Blog(aus)lese said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 10:41 pm

    […] “Nev n Dave” erklärt in Teil 1 seines Artikel “Top 10 tips for effective blog reading” wie man Blogs möglichst effizient und produktiv liest. Teil 2 wird sich mit der Frage befassen, wann ein Blog es wert ist, gelesen zu werden. • • • […]

  7. blog: utilidades y recursos para blogs said,

    December 3, 2005 @ 11:42 pm

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  8. aderemi's notebook said,

    December 4, 2005 @ 4:26 am

    10 tips for reading blogs

    Organise your categories not by topic but by importance and/or reading frequency.

  9. Ralph Poole said,

    December 4, 2005 @ 8:15 am

    Periodically, I throw everything away in my blog reader and take time to carefully rebuild the list of blogs that I read. I find that if I stick to one set of blogs for too long, I begin to get the same perspective and I find it harder to engage. I may return to a blog I like, but since I zero based my decision, I am certain that I getting value from the site..

  10. juz brennan » links for 2005-12-04 said,

    December 4, 2005 @ 8:13 pm

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  11. Charles Lacroix said,

    December 5, 2005 @ 2:52 am

    Wow, i never noticed that my reading was much faster with narrow collums, i will definately take note of that, not just for reading blog but for all my reading online. So simple to resize a browser and nearly double your reading speed. ( at least for me ) i get less distracted by surounding words. thanks for the tips, i might consider moving this blog to weekly or something :)

  12. Kevin Duffy said,

    December 5, 2005 @ 4:09 am

    Instead of organizing all your RSS feeds which will eventually become a futile exercise, you might want to try read4me. It’s an RSS feed reader/aggregator that uses bayesian statistics to provide you with the blog entries you would most like to read. I’ve found this really provides efficient blog reading.

  13. herb overstreet said,

    December 5, 2005 @ 4:22 am

    I agree with the commentor who said all these rules take the fun out of it. But then again I know I’ve happened across some great blogs and have since lost their address. Oh well. Take my blog for instance… well, first of all I have a hard time calling it a “blog.” “Blogging” sounds like what a pimply ogre does, schlogging through a dreary marshy swamp, plodding, hunched over, terrorizing the hamlet inhabitants. My personal site is so different than the awful sounding “blarging.” Blech! We need a new word for it.

  14. Sindicato Headquarters » Blog Archive » Ah… blogs - one of the best ways to waste lots of time said,

    December 5, 2005 @ 6:52 am

    […] Para ayudarnos a ordenar mejor nuestras lecturas, Nev n Dave nos tiran los siguientes consejos: 1. Antes de nada, estudia los diferentes lectores de feeds o agregadores que existen. Utiliza el lector de feeds más adecuado a tus circunstancias y que te ofrezca todo aquello que puedas necesitar. Un buen lector de feeds es clave para leer blogs. 2. Establece el ancho de tu navegador o lector de feeds de manera que cada línea del artículo que estas leyendo contenga del orden de 8 palabras. 3. Cuenta el tiempo que te pasas al día leyendo blogs. Versión surrealista: Ei!!! que son las 7 de la tarde y empiezo a leer blogs. Dale al cronómetro, dale al cronómetro! 4. Establece límites de tiempo que tendrás para leer blogs. Por ejemplo, de 8:00 - 8:30 de la mañana y de 15:00 - 15:30 de la tarde. 5. Limita la cantidad de feeds que leerás sobre un determinado tema. Si añades uno nuevo, intenta borrar otro. 6. Periódicamente has pruebas con tus feeds. Intenta estarte una semana sin leer blogs y cuando vuelvas comprueba cuales son los que realmente merecen que les dediques tu tiempo. 7. Organiza tus categorías no por tema (tecnología, personales, cocina,… ) sino por importancia(Leídos diariamente, semanalmente, cada lunes,… ). 8. Añade una categoría del tipo “cuarentena” donde irás introduciendo nuevos blogs que te interesen. Después de una semana, decide si el blog merece la pena que forme parte de tu colección de blogs leídos o si es mejor no leerlo más. 9. Añade una categoría del tipo “ignorado” con blogs que te puedan interesar agregar para leer habitualmente pero que en estos momentos no es así. Una ejemplo de este tipo serían los blogs que acaban de empezar pero que, todavía, no han alcanzado suficiente nivel de “madurez”. 10. Suscríbete a un subconjunto de blogs personales. Mucha gente puede estar tentada a escribir en su blog sobre cosas personales. Te interesa saber que comió Fulanito el día de Navidad? Está bien leer unos cuantos artículos de este tipo pero, en exceso, se puede convertir en una pérdida de tiempo. […]

  15. Join the Digirati » Blog Archive » How to read blogs efficiently said,

    December 5, 2005 @ 1:53 pm

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  16. iampowered said,

    December 5, 2005 @ 11:22 pm

    10 Tips for Blog Reading

    Want to make the most out of your daily dose of blog reading, while avoiding that the "blog reading" activity ends up eating all your day? Neville and David at "Nev n Dave" have quite a few tips for you, most…

  17. Steve Ryan said,

    December 6, 2005 @ 4:29 am

    It’s ironic that your article doesn’t change in width when the browser does. I can’t apply the speed reading tip to the article itself!

    It’s thanks to the “width: 630px;” line in the “#header” section of your style.css file, I believe.

  18. Steve Ryan said,

    December 6, 2005 @ 4:31 am

    Sorry - it was these lines:
    html>body #content {
    width: 590px;
    }

  19. Utter Doul said,

    December 6, 2005 @ 8:31 am

    I liked the tip about highlighting key words or phrases; I think I will start using that on my blog.

    I have a similar-ish setup with all my feeds arranged in sevaral categories like ‘Daily Reads’, ‘Slow Day Reading’, ‘On Probation’ (for new blogs) and ‘On Notice’ (for old blogs that I’ve lost interest in). About monthly, I will prune my structure as well as chuck everything in ‘On Notice’

    And finally I want to say that I agree 100% with you on Bloglines. I’ve tried everything out there and nothing works for me as well as Bloglines. Check this out: http://rsoi.blogspot.com/2005/10/homage-to-bloglines.html

    Thanks for the wonderful post.

  20. Donadecasa said,

    December 7, 2005 @ 5:31 am

    Spasibo za sovety! Eche by kulturu blogovodstva povysit’…

  21. 効率的なブログ購読ティップス10 at OpenStratus said,

    December 7, 2005 @ 12:34 pm

    […] 元ネタ:Nev n Dave » Top 10 tips for effective blog reading - part 1 […]

  22. Gavin said,

    December 8, 2005 @ 4:42 pm

    I read my blogs in GMail! http://rssfwd.com

  23. Easton Ellsworth said,

    December 9, 2005 @ 9:59 am

    I found tip number 7 - organizing feeds by importance - to be extremely helpful. Thanks for the great tips - I’ll keep these in mind as I help train my company’s bloggers.

  24. Debonairblog - Indian Sex Scandals » Tips for blog reading said,

    December 9, 2005 @ 10:42 am

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  25. paris_1405 said,

    December 9, 2005 @ 11:10 pm

    hi gorgeous,i loved your blog!

  26. Nev n Dave » Effective blog reading - part 2 - categories said,

    December 20, 2005 @ 5:07 pm

    […] Tip 7 from part 1 of Top 10 tips for effective blog reading is to re-organise your categories. But how do you do it? […]

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    […] The Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005 … and 3362 other people - The list is debatable, and made my list based on the amount of comments it has received and general buzz. In a related list… Top Ten Web 2.0 Moments of 2005 … and 85 other peopleThe Top Ten Design Mistakes (Jakob Nielsen’s Weblog Usability) … and 1441 other people - An easy to read list, the real front runner in blog recomendations lists. Some other notables include; Design Mistakes, Blog Reading, and Better blogging […]

  28. Javier Serer said,

    January 6, 2006 @ 1:18 am

    pruebas

  29. David Cheong said,

    January 14, 2006 @ 4:13 pm

    Good Point. As if you have nice content but poor visual design of your website, it will actually drop your rank or chances of visitor re-visit will be drop too. For both, it must be balance.

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  37. Flash Gordon said,

    February 28, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

    Have you ever tried Feeddemon and using expando2 style.
    You read at light speed thousands of news and only expand those which are interesting for you.
    Han usado Feeddemon , usenlo con el style expando2.
    Leeran a la velocidad de la luz cientos de noticias y blogs y solo expanden la que les atrae su atencion.

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