Hi all,

Welcome to my new series.

It will be called “Free ‘n Easy Friday Finds”. As some of you already know, I like to use acronyms (abbreviate with letters), so it will often be referred to as “FEFF”.

Each Friday, I will share something that is free to bloggers. It may be a plugin, a site that offers free themes or photos, a potential (free) income stream, advice that will save you time and money, or something else. Plus, it will be easy to use.

For blogging, there is tons of free stuff online, so before you get out the “plastic”, ask a question in my comment section and either I, or one of the other bloggers in the BWAB community, may know of a free source.

As an added bonus, there will be no “assignment” on Fridays. Did I hear a “yeah”? ///clap, clap, clap\\\

The comment section will be open for questions, comments or anything you might want to share. Just remember, I don’t allow profanity on my blog, so keep it clean. 🙂

Let’s get started:

Last week Dr. Cason mentioned she wanted to organize the blogs in her reader. This was something I needed to do, too.

Organizing Your Google Reader

With the Google Reader, this is pretty easy.

Go to your reader (duh!)

1) Click on “manage friends”

2) Click on “subscriptions” – All of the blogs you’re following will be listed. Each line has “Rename”, a garbage can, and a white rectangular box.

3) If you click on “Add To A Folder” (the white box) It gives you the option to make a new folder

As you make new folders, the names of the folders are added to the “white box” option.

4) Add the first blog to a folder, and that part is done.

5) Move on to the next blog

As you go through the blogs in your reader, you can add it to an existing folder, move it to a different folder, or create a new folder.

You’ll also see a small garbage can on this page. This is used to delete blogs from your reader.

If you want, you can also rename a blog you’re following. e.g. Instead of being listed by the name of the blog, you could rename it by the author.

When you click “Back to Google Reader”, the blogs you are following are neatly placed in the respective folders. The folders can then by opened or collapsed by using the + or – signs (to the left of the folder icon).

As an example, I currently have four folders:

1) “NBOTW” (these are all bloggers who were named New Blog Of The Week)

2) “Visit Daily” (Updated blogs I read on a daily basis)

3) “Visit Twice A Week” (Blogs I read at least twice a week, but usually more often, if time permits)

4) “Blogs To Watch” (These are new blogs I’ve found that have the potential to be part of my NBOTW series)

What I like about setting up folders is that you have two choices

1) You can open all updated blogs on one screen, (by clicking on the name of the folder), or

2) You can open the folder and then open up each blog in the window.

Warning: With regard to the #1 choice, be careful not to click on “mark all as read” until you have finished reading all of the updated blogs.

Although my explanation of this may sound confusing, it’s actually an easy process.

Once you start playing with, and becoming comfortable with, the options in your reader, you’ll see the advantage of setting up folders. (It’s similar to setting up folders in your email account).

That’s my first FEFF….

Now the floor is yours.

Have your say, share an idea, ask a question or………

Photo Credit: dannysullivan’s photostream

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Hi Barbara – I’ve no questions yet, just want to thank you for posting such helpful stuff. I’m afraid of adding more gizmos to my blog for fear of exploding it somehow. (It took me so long to make it work in the first place – ha!) But you’re giving me courage. Thanks.

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafes last blog post..Logic and Intuition Go Shoe Shopping

  2. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    sounds like it will be a fun friday.

    a question for you…have you considered joining entrecard?
    are you on blog catalog?

    other than the other social networking sites (stumble, digg) are you a member of any that draw traffic to your blog.

    thanks barbara

    Naturals last blog post..Reading Online vs. Reading A Book

  3. Wendi KellyNo Gravatar says:

    Google Reader has saved me SO much time in my Blog reading by getting everyting organized. There are a few blogs that I read that don’thave a way for me to subscribe by google reader and I have to now remember to go read them and that’s a little hard ( Please everyone, make sure your loyal readers can subscribe and that your buttons actualy work, if you aren’t a subscriber of your own blog then I probably can’t be either) But I love to read with my morning coffee and go through my communities and visit everyone first thing so then I can go to work for the rest of the day focused. Then I can come back at the end and check for any updates. I has kept me from wandering around the blogasphere clicking on random links as much.

    Wendi Kellys last blog post..The Addiction of Conforming

  4. Ellen WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I so enjoy all your tips and tricks you share with us. I wonder if you can do this with xml, where I read all my blog feeds.

    Hey, thanks teacher! No assignment!

    @Wendi – I checked my RSS button to see if it worked. I didn’t have a problem subscribing, but let me know if it doesn’t work for you again.

    Ellen Wilsons last blog post..We Want YOU!

  5. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    TGIF! 🙂

    I look forward to your tips. I’m a new blogger – 1 day old – so I know I have a LOT to learn; like inserting photos, affiliates, etc…. and I know that list is much longer…

    Thanks for sharing your expertise.

  6. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    This is a great idea. I already have my reader organized, but I’m looking forward to future issues!

    Debbie Yosts last blog post..Massage Phobia

  7. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Mark,

    You’re welcome.

    If you’re making any changes, by first saving your files, in the event something went wrong, you have a back up.

    I like to experiment with different things, and now use my test blog to do that.

    Hi Natural,

    Because I’m always finding different, useful and free things, I thought it would be great to have a weekly post to share.

    Re: Entrecard. I’ve heard about it, but haven’t thought of joining. It sounded time consuming.

    Re: Social Networks. I am on Blog Catalog, and just had an invitation for Mister-Wong, which I signed up for. I do see a little bit of traffic coming in, but haven’t looked at my stats close enough to figure out the exact numbers.

    As you know, all social networking takes time, and right now my schedule is such that I’m not left with much free time.

    Hi Wendi,

    Like you, I love having my reader organized. When you have all of the blogs in neat folders, it’s not so overwhelming (as looking at a long list).

    Hi Ellen,

    Gosh, I don’t know anything about xml. Maybe someone whose reading this could answer that question for you.

    Yup! No more assignments on Fridays. It would be a great day to do behind the scenes stuff, or maybe take a walk in the park 🙂

    Hi Davina,

    Yes, I agree. TGIF 🙂

    Oh my gosh! I’ve never had a one day old blogger visit before. Welcome to the BWAB community.

    I just clicked over to your blog and your first story sounds very fascinating. I’ll be over later to read it.

    If you have a chance, dig through my archives and you’ll find some great hints and tips to get you started.

    Hope to see you around often. 🙂

    Hi Debbie,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. VeredNo Gravatar says:

    I have a question.. how many blogs do you have in your reader?

    Vereds last blog post..The Blurry Line Between Online and Real-Life Relationships

  9. Barbara – I have an article I wrote post dated to publish this Monday about using Google ReadAir.

    It’s a desktop version of Google’s Feed Reader (click the link above to see a picture of it). It works just like your email program. So far, it works great for me and is in sync with your Feed Reader.

    As for a freebie – For anyone using Firefox (and you should), there’s an addon that I love called Reminderfox.

    It lets you add small reminder notes to yourself and pops up for a few seconds every time you start Firefox.

    For me, I’m suppose to email someone each week, so I have it set up every Saturday to remind me, “Email Scott.”

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..What You Should Know Before Collecting Information From Children

  10. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Vered,

    Currently I am following about 80 blogs (and growing). How about you?

    BTW; Thank you so much for the Stumbles. I was getting “spikes” and finally figured out it was you. 🙂

  11. I need to work on organizing my feed reader. I never thought to organize it by how often I visit the blogs. That’s a great idea.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..Just Be Cool Like a Little Fanzie

  12. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: What a great new feature! I find so much useful information on your blog (I just installed the commentluv plug-in on my blog using your instructions). Maybe you could write about your opinion on the best 10 plug-ins to add to a new blog.

  13. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    I’m in the process of organizing my rss…Great stuff Barbara…WOW 80 blogs…How do you find the time?

    chriss last blog post..Compulsory Education

  14. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John,

    GoogleReadAir looks interesting. I might have to look into that.

    The reminder addons are great. I’ve been using the one in Outlook (tasks) and love how it reminds me, plus it has a
    “snooze” button. That I really like 🙂

    Hi Karl,

    Glad you like the ideas I posted. They work good for me, so I thought I would pass them along.

    Hi Marelisa,

    You will love the CommentLuv plugin, as will your readers.

    I’ve been thinking of doing a “best of” post. Now that you reminded me, I’ll have to move it into my to do list.

    Hi Chris,

    Good luck with your organization.

    I know 80 blogs sounds like a lot, but a lot of them aren’t updating every day, so it’s not too difficult to keep up.

  15. I’ve been using Instapaper to save pages I want to read at a later time. It’s very easy to use, but of course you then have to go back and actually read (or delete) what you’ve saved . . . that’s the rub for me!

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..My Rocks are in a Row

  16. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:


    So funny I was about to organize my reader and no kidding I decided to just catch up on my favorite blogs. And what should happen?? I get to catch up and organize!!!! FANTASTIC! Woo-Hoo!.

    Ok now I’m off to really clean it all up- I’m feeling very happy right now. All that’s left to make me feel a little better is if I could get to the mile high mountain of laundry on the floor. Any tips? 😉

    Dr.Casons last blog post..Counting Crows- Sullivan Street

  17. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ann,

    Have you had a chance to try Google Reader. It’s free and quite easy to use.

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    I’m happy you came by as you were my inspiration for the first FEFF. 🙂

    Re: The mountain of laundry, baby steps…one load at a time.

  18. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Organizing my reader into “Must Read” and “Read When I’ve Got Time” has really helped me. I think my next step will be to divide between different subjects (PF, personal development, blogging/writing, etc), but for now, the two basic distinctions work well. Great tip!

    Saras last blog post..Why Choose Simplicity?

  19. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara,

    That’s a great way to organize a reader. Short and simple.

  20. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    This is a great organizing tip for using Google Reader! Thanks.

    Coincidentally, today I also watched this step-by-step video from Ed Dale of the Thirty Day Challenge (I am an alumni of that great experience), which is about how to quickly “read” the many items that show up in the G-reader daily:


    Hope that tip helps you save as much time as I think it will save me! Between your tip and his, my G-Reader experience should be A+++.


    Linda Abbits last blog post..When Your Aging Parent is Hospitalized – Part 2

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Linda,

    Thank you for the link to Ed Dale’s video. I’ll check it out. I would love to be able to speed up my reading as I’m constantly adding more.

  22. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara – these are great tips. I’m going to follow your advice and sort out my Google reader. I used to cope with it great, but then I went and added too many blogs to it and just became overwhelmed. Thank you.

    Cath Lawsons last blog post..From PTSD To Success – Is It Possible?

  23. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I remember when you and I had this discussion before-both of us trying to cope with reading so many blogs. Shortly after that I weeded out a lot, but now it’s getting out of hand again. Setting up folders has worked wonders.

  24. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    If it’s free it’s for me!

    No assignment on Fridays?! … ///clap, clap, clap\\\

    (Actually, I enjoy your assignments more than I did in school.)

    J.D. Meiers last blog post..Develop Disagreement Rather Than Consensus

  25. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi J.D.

    I love sharing free finds. In an economy where many must tighten their belts, free is great! Unfortunately I haven’t found anyone offering free gas. 🙁

    Glad to hear you like the assignments. I try to make them painless.