February 12, 2008

Free Toolsday for February 12th

Today's highlighted free tool is perhaps an obvious one. One of the easiest things you can do to keep up to date on changes within your industry is to subscribe to news feeds and blog feeds. One of the best free readers out there is Google Reader.

The three column format is pretty clean and easy to navigate. On the left column is the main navigation with all your feeds. As seen, the ones that are bold are the ones with new content. From the home page you also get a summary of all the new content from all your feeds, so you can read from there to catch up on the latest news.

I like Google Reader because it has a lot of potential to also be a social tool. There are sharing capabilities. Just click the "Share" icon underneath a blog post and anyone on your Google friends list can see the blog posts. It's a brilliant and unobtrusive way to share. Since it's Google as well, when you want to email a blog post to someone it opens an integrated Gmail window right there... which since I use Gmail personally I love.

Google Reader also has the ability to group feeds, which is a great asset to have. I use Reader for both work related feeds that I keep up on and some fun feeds, so having different folders helps me focus on the work ones while at work and leave the fun ones aside to check on my break or when I get home. You can also alter the order in which the folders are displayed in the left column, so you can easily prioritize which feeds are the most important to check on.

This is another great feature... there doesn't necessarily need to be a feed for you to subscribe to! Bookmarklets seem to be all the rage lately, but I'm pretty sure that Google was among the first to bring this out. It's a great tool when you find yourself checking websites like a mad woman.

All in all, a great, and best of all, FREE tool to use to keep your ear to the ground within your industry!


Marketingstar said...

Hey TrishaLyn, I use one even better, Feed each other...http://teasastipstechniques.blogspot.com/2008/02/feed-each-other-could-increase-stumbles.html

It allows you to gather all your feeds in one place, and then if you like share/stumble them alltogether...great time saver.

TrishaLyn said...

I read your post the other day about that but I looked into it and I still prefer the Google Reader format.

Feed Each Other seems to be more along the lines of a social bookmarking site just for blogs from what I can tell. You see headlines and short intros, but not the entire post.

To each her own though!