Have you ever been just completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of blogs out there you can read? I have. Wow. So many fabulous people I'm interested in reading about! I love the stories, the humor, the pictures, the tips, the giveaways, the links, I just love it all! So I've found myself having to streamline my blog reading in order to better manage my time & make sure I hit the "must-reads" for me. Here's how I've done it:
First of all, if you leave a comment on my blog or if you follow my blog, I will go to your blog & at the very least I will follow you on Google Friend Connect. This way the blog shows up on my blogger dashboard when I log in. I always look over the new posts that are there when I log in each day, but if you've looked at my Google Friend Connect page lately, you'll see that I follow a lot of people's blogs! So I had to come up with a more specific approach in addition to the blogger dashboard.
This is where my Google Reader comes in. If you haven't been introduced to the wonder that is RSS readers, hop over & read Problogger's explanation, then hop right back here! I use my RSS reader to read the blogs I am really interested in! But again, as of right now, this list includes 274 subscriptions. So I have to streamline even more.
I use folders! I have several different folders, but I have 5 main folders & then smaller folders of blogs I've read for a long time broken into categories. My 5 main folders for new blogs I discover are titled as such: Giving it a Shot, Movin' On Up, Comment on These, Favorites, Learn From These.
Basically if I go to your blog to leave a comment & follow you, I'll check things out for a minute while I'm there. If I like what I see (which is an entirely different post in and of itself - expect this at a later date), then I'll add you to my Google Reader & you'll start in my "Giving it a Shot" folder. These are read when I have time. They're low on the totem pole on my reader, but they do get read!
If you've been in my "Giving it a Shot" folder for a while & I find that I really like your posts, want to read more of them, identify with them, etc, you get moved up to..."Movin' On Up" (original name, huh?). These are the posts that I read about every other day. They still all get read, but they're a little higher priority.
From there, if I am still finding that we are just really clicking, you as the blogger, me as the blog-reader, then you get moved to my "Comment on These" folder. These are the people that I really want to build community & relationship with. These are my blog friends! Now, I comment frequently on blogs throughout my reading regardless of which folder they're in. The difference is, if I'm reading from say 40 different blogs, I may comment 5-10 times on 5-10 different blogs. If you're added to my "Comment on These" folder, you can expect a comment from me the majority of the times you post.
From there, the "Favorites" folder are the blogs that I absolutely must read every day. There aren't very many blogs in here, less than 10, but these are the ones that really knock my socks off with pretty much every post.
The "Learn from These" folder are the top blogs in their niches. These include the top 10 on Top Mommy or Top Baby blogs & the other top blogs in different groups or networks. I look at what they're doing, what they're adding to their blogs as something different, etc. I'm not interested in copying. I'm just interested in learning. Think of this group as my own personal blog conference. I just learn what works.
So there's my strategy! It's working for me so far! I read a lot of blogs & I love following new people & I love commenting! I'm thinking about sharing my favorite posts I read on my Google Reader, so if you have a Google Reader, feel free to subscribe to my shared items, although I haven't really started yet!
Please share your strategies - if you have any - for how you read blogs!