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How to Manage RSS Feeds and News Readers

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 7/5/2011

RSS helps you stay on top of blogs, social networks, and news especially when you rely on a feed or news reader to track it all in one place. Do the many feeds overwhelm more than help you? Get RSS under your control.

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    Too Many Feeds

    When you visit a web site with the RSS feed icon that indicates it has a feed, you might add it to your feeds within a couple of clicks. But after a while, this could turn into hundreds of feeds. After all, the internet contains millions of high quality sites and information.

    Most sites offer a feed so you can access its contents from a feed reader through a separate feed reader application, your browser's feed plug-in, or in your email box. Doing this lets you quickly scan articles, blog entries, and site content in one place. But it can turn into a monster if the feeds just pile up into one folder.

    You can get control of your feeds to make them work for you instead of the other way around. Home office workers must take charge of their day and schedule and feeds can easily take that away from you.

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    Manage Your Feeds

    Many people use feeds in two ways:

    1. Regular daily reads to get their news for the day.
    2. Occasional reads when they need information on a topic.

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    Set Goals

    Figure out how you use them most. Are you looking for blog topics? Do you need to research a topic? Do you want to catch up on the major news for the day without using a newspaper?

    With that done, the next step is to organize your feed reader. Are you using Outlook to read RSS feeds? Whether you use a feed reader application, Outlook, or browser -- most come with folders or a way to customize how you organize the information and feeds. You might create folders by topic, by client, by project, or by interest. Need a laugh a day? Create a folder with humorous feeds. Want your daily news? Create a folder called "Daily News" to contain only feeds you want to read every morning rather than feeds from every news site in the world. Then you'll never get work done. This type of folder should have few feeds with your absolute favorites.

    A search feature comes in handy too. Most feed readers have a search feature and this helps you look for only what you need without scanning headlines and folders.

    Now that you're organized and ready to dig in your feeds, figure out what you need from them now before opening them. As soon as you have reached your goal with the feed reader, close it. You have work to do and no one to tell you to stop reading news.

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    Delete Useless Feeds

    You should notice some feeds have no value to you. When you do, delete them. No sense in keeping them and adding to the clutter.

    Some sites also offer an email update that works like a feed except you receive updates in email. Consider limiting these to the most important and valuable sites or else you'll start drowning in emails. If your inbox is already cluttered, you probably should skip any email sign ups.

    Internet Explorer's Favorite Center offers a place to manage feeds as well. Check out Internet Explorer and the Favorites Center for more information.