9 Reasons for a Blogger to Use a Desktop RSS Reader
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I wonder how many of you switched to desktop blog editors or even tried one after reading my 9 reasons to use a Desktop Blog Editor last week!
This week I would like to talk about a few reasons to consider using a desktop (installed or portable) RSS reader. As a blogger, I have found that a desktop RSS reader could be an important aid in your blogging toolkit.
I use the portable version of GreatNews RSS reader and have been a big fan of this free RSS reader for a while now. Most of these features are common to desktop feed readers but some may be specific to GreatNews.
Without much further ado, here they are:
- Labels: This is similar to tagging. This allows you to label interesting posts in your feed reader that you might need for future reference. With a label’s cleanup frequency set to never, you can create your own library of posts. Some of mine: blog this, reading material, to comment, wordpress tips.
- News Watches: Next to labels, this is a feature I use constantly. I have it configured for its simplest use – to watch for specific terms in my RSS feeds. For e.g. rss reader, firefox extension, paris hilton (just kidding about the last one). You can even use it to block certain news items. For instance if you are sick of all the iPhone coverage, you can do that too. Your own content filter!
- Integrated Search: Most desktop readers have integrated search built in and they are very fast. I just blogged about this in ShanKri-la about how the most popular RSS reader, Google Reader doesn’t have this feature yet and a new comer Fast ladder does.
- Easy Feed Organization: As much as I am a web 2.0 fan and use a lot of web applications, I still fnd it much easier to organize and maintain my feeds in a desktop reader. If you have hundreds of feeds, you’ll know that the best way to keep them tamed is to have meaningful groups. This will always be an evolving list for everyone and the ease of doing it is important.
- Customizable reading panes: My favorite is the 3-pane structure like an email client where the left pane shows the list of feeds & feed groups, the right top portion has the list of headlines for the selected feed/group and the right bottom pane shows the content from the selected headline.
GreatNews has button in this pane which makes collapsing and adding these panes back are so quick. You can switch from reading the headlines in the 3-pane or 2-pane mode to reading a long post or a series of posts from a feed in full screen so fast, you’ll be addicted to it.
- Individual feed settings: You can set how often you want your feed to be refreshed automatically or you can set to feed to update only manually (I have a hundred feeds that I don’t read everyday but only once a week). You can set different styles to different feed groups and choose the frequency in which you want it cleaned up. You can set these features on a feed group but can override any of this for an individual feed by setting its own.
- Styles: Most desktop readers allows some level of customization to the look and feel of the feed content.
GreatNews comes with a few nice styles plus there are some user created styles that you can add to it or if you are CSS savvy, you can create your own to suit your taste.
- Track comments: This is an excellent hidden feature in GreatNews or atleast I just found it and love it. If a blog offers a comment feed like BAYB does, you can track comments right under the post content from within your feed reader. No more jumping to your email to followup comments where you may not even know what the comments are about after a week.
- Quick reference: You can control the cleanup schedule for an individual feed or a feed group. You could use your desktop RSS reader as a offline copy of a part of a blog by setting it to never cleanup. I have my ShanKri-la feed set to never cleanup which means I have instant access to my past posts since the time I added it to my feed reader. You can get creative with other blogs that you use frequently for tips or for the Weblog Tools Collection blog to have a quick reference to plugins/themes, etc.
If you are a RSS feed reader, then you are already committed to saving time and improving productivity by reading more content than you would be able to, by visiting every site. Why not take it to the next level of productivity, by using a desktop feed reader?
I haven’t ditched my web based feed reader. I still use Google Reader or Netvibes for casual surfing once in a while. But, GreatNews has definitely helped me with blogging efficiently as a lot of us are doing this besides our day jobs and anything that saves me time, I am all for it.
Do you think a desktop RSS reader could increase your productivity as a blogger? If not, I’d love to hear why.
I write about more technology related topics at ShanKri-la – where technology meets daily life!. My goal is to make your life on the Internet a little bit easier, a little bit manageable and a little bit more enjoyable.