Solve Internet Marketing Overload with Google Reader and a Process

Ian Lurie

In any one day, I keep track of: 400+ web sites and blogs and news regarding 10-20 clients. In about 1 hour.
I do not have a photocopier for a brain. Nor do I read particularly fast. Instead, I have a system. Here’s how you can use it:

Step 1: Set Up Google Reader

Time required: 3 minutes.
This one’s easy.

  1. Go to
  2. If you have a Google account, you can just sign in using that username and password. You have a Google account if you use Gmail, Google Analytics or Adwords. Use the same login, and skip to Step 2.
  3. If you don’t have a Google account, create one. It takes about 1 minute. Don’t forget to disable web history if you don’t want Google recording your search behavior.
    creating a google accountCreating A Google Account

Step 2: Take a Test Drive

Time required: 5 minutes.
The first time you log in, you’ll see something like this:
first time logged into Google Reader
Chris seems like a great guy, but for now, skip the video and the other stuff.
As a first step, let’s try subscribing to a web site.

Google Reader ‘subscribes’ to web sites using something called RSS. I’m not going to go into any detail about RSS here. It’s the enabling technology behind all of this coolness, but you don’t need to know the geeky details. In fact, you probably don’t want to. Use those brain cells for something else.

  1. Click ‘Add Subscription’. It’s on the lower left-hand side of the page. The add subscription form appears:

    add your first subscription

  2. Type in my blog’s web address:
  3. Click ‘add’. Google Reader will show you some helpful tips the first time.
  4. You should now see something like this. Congrats! You added your first feed!
  5. But wait. If you’re going to have lots of subscriptions, you’ll probably want an easier-to-scan list. Easy: Click the ‘List View’ tab at the upper-right. Now you’ll have a nice list of headlines:

So, now you’ve added your first feed (and I just added a subscriber – I’m sneaky that way).

Create Your Folders

Now get ready to keep your feeds organized, with folders.

  1. Click on ‘Feed Settings’.
  2. Then click ‘New Folder’.
  3. Type the folder name you’d like.

I usually create a folder for each topic I want to track. You’ll end up with more folders than I’ve got here, but it’ll look something like this:

You can also rearrange folders and subscriptions by clicking and dragging them.

Add Your Websites

If you’re looking for a collection of feeds on internet marketing in general, I recommend adding these:
Also subscribe to the Google Reader Blog for lots of great advice:
There are, of course, dozens – if not hundreds – more. But this will give you a start. And they’ll link to other sites you may like. Add ’em!

Skim Through Each Day

Google Reader lets you use your keyboard to skim through listings, super-fast. Here’s how:

  1. In Google Reader, click on the first article.
  2. Press ‘J’ on your keyboard. That’ll move you to the next article.
  3. Press ‘K’ on your keyboard. That’ll move you to the previous article.

Voila – you can now skim through dozens of pages of content, fast and easy.

More To Learn

There’s a lot more to learn about Google Reader and keeping all this information at your fingertips. When you’re ready, try:
Sharing articles.
Starring articles.
Attaching notes and tags to articles.
Learning a bit about RSS.
Also, be sure to watch Andy Wibbels great tour of Google reader,.
So, don’t treat this as a complete Google Reader lesson. But hopefully it’ll give you a good start on managing all that information you want to track.

Important note: If a site to which you try to subscribe doesn’t have an RSS feed, then you won’t be able to subscribe to it. In my experience, though, there aren’t many good, informative sites that lack a feed.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. I’m a floundering Internet marketing newbie, wondering if the info on this page dated 5/2008 is still relevant, is something that could help me at this disheartening stage of newbieism. Just seems there’s so much info – I don’t know where to start. My high-priced consultants seem knowledgeable enough, but 8 months into my online business and I’m still flatlining, not knowing where I should be focusing my limited time, wondering if I shouldn’t just get out with what semblance of sanity is still there.

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