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Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader

Articles about blogging tipsOne of the most frustrating aspects of reading blogs through feed readers is the process of commenting on blogs. The typical step-by-step process is:

  1. Scan through the blog post titles.
  2. Find an interesting title and click on the title to open it and read.
  3. Want to respond or read more? Open the post title in a new browser tab.
  4. Scroll around your tabs to get to the tab you just opened.
  5. Read the blog post.
  6. Comment on the blog post.
  7. Close the tab (or leave it waiting for a response or add the comments feed to track comments).
  8. Hunt for your feed reader tab.
  9. Find it and move onto the next post title of interest.
  10. Repeat.

How would you like to cut this down to only a few clicks? And how would you like to comment on blog posts directly from Google Feed Reader?

Enter the Google Reader Preview Enhanced Greasemonkey Script

The Google Reader Preview Enhanced Greasemonkey Script (GPE) works with and the GreaseMonkey extension. It adds a small link called Preview to the Google Feed Reader bar which allows you to mark posts with stars, share, and other tasks for that post.

The view of the post through the feed isn’t pretty. In this example of an interview with me on Blogging Without a Blog, ironically talking about handling our feeds, you can see that it shows the text quite plainly with my blog’s logo, and none of the pretty associated with the blog’s design, as it should.

With a click of the Preview button, it loads the blog post directly into the iframe of the post feed. It is now the post with mostly of the pretty – but more importantly, also direct access to the blog comments.

I wanted to respond to the comments on the interview, so I scrolled down and read through them all and responded directly from within Google Feed Reader. I submitted the comment and could even read through and check it out without any problems.

Since installing Google Reader Preview Enhanced Greasemonkey Script, the new sequence of reading and commenting on a blog, and bypassing the feed excerpts to read the whole blog post, is as follows:

  1. Scan through the blog post titles.
  2. Find an interesting title and click on the title to open it and read.
  3. Want to respond or read more? Click Preview.
  4. Read the blog post.
  5. Comment on the blog post.
  6. Move onto the next post title of interest.
  7. Repeat.

There is another benefit to the Google Reader Preview. I publish the on the once a week and always fret over whether or not to use the link top a blog or post I want to recommend via the feeds or open the post and copy the “real” link from the actual post. Which is better?

Which is also more helpful to the reader? What about those using accessibility devices for the blind and visually impaired or disabled which require screen readers? Less and less websites and bloggers are using the required HTML anchor tag title attribute, so the URL would be read aloud. Which sounds better?

http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/bloggingwithoutablog/DWWZ/~3/350183009/

or

http://bloggingwithoutablog.com/interview-with-lorelle-vanfossen-part-5-managing-350-feeds/

When in doubt, I can preview the post and grab the clean URL direct to the site.

Greasemonkey Script Helps Grab Feeds

There are a lot of amazing Greasemonkey scripts for FireFox at Userscripts.org. Another favorite of mine that I’ve used for over a year is RSS+ Atom Feed Subscribe Button Generator.

You may have noticed it in the examples above. It automatically searches for any feeds listed within the blog post you are viewing in your FireFox browser and adds small feed icons to the top left corner of the web page screen.

In this example of how the feed links appear on this blog, The icons represent my feeds for post feeds, all comments feed, blog posts via XML-RSD feed, Lorelle on WordPress post feed via Feedburner, and the RSS2 blog post feed. These are generated by default within the WordPress.com Theme and some I’ve added, like the Feedburner feed.

Find a blog post you like and click on the feed link you prefer and it will automatically load the feed into your feed reader. No more hunting for that darn orange feed icon. If it interferes with the blog’s design or access, which it does when I’m trying to access the WordPress.com bar, a click of the X and it is closed for that pageview allowing access.

While it recognizes and displays different icons for RSS and Atom feeds, I wish it displayed a different icon for Feedburner and FeedBlitz feeds, and other popular indirect feeds to help the user know the difference. As all WordPress blogs have post and comment feeds, I’d also love to see a different icon for those to improve visual recognition of which feed to choose to add to my feed reader.

I love tools, tips, add-ons, and extensions that make blogging faster and easier. Do you have any Google Feed Reader tips or Greasemonkey scripts that make your life blogging easier?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

30 Comments

  1. Posted July 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Great tip – thanks! I’m using it now to post. :)

  2. Posted July 30, 2008 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I nearly jumped up and down reading this post. It would make my blog reading and commenting go so much faster! Now I just have to play with it for a little while. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Posted July 30, 2008 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Hello Lorelle – this is an exciting script and one long overdue. I can only imagine in the near future there will be many advances in feed reader ability.

    I’m very much like you when it comes to finding new toys and scripts to play with. There’s very little default stuff left from my original blog template. Mods are awesome.

    Currently, I read my feeds through Google ReadAir. I wrote a post on it myself and the funny thing is, I also used Barbara’s blog as an example and screen shot LOL.

    And on a side note, that interview you did with Barbara is a great read!

  4. Posted July 30, 2008 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    Ever since you left the comment on my blog about this, I’ve been using it. (I’m using it now). It is fabulous. I’m saving myself SO much time as I visit all of my favorite blogs.

    I love the example you’re using :), love the link, and on my “Free and Easy Friday Finds” (FEFF), I’m linking back to this post so all of my visitors can read more about it. It is awesome. Thanks again!

    P.S. It’s good to see John here.

  5. Frank Gazerro
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Great post,

    You can also find this feature in the FireFox extension BetterGReader, which was developed by LifeHacker.com, gives you two preview options.

    1. The automatic option will ‘automatically’ load the website into the iframe when you click on it in the feeds list of Google Reader. This option makes Reader run a bit slower, of course.

    2. The “load on click” option will allow you to view a post the way Reader normally does, however, if you click the title link at the top of a post, it loads the iframe.

    Here is the Mozilla Addons page:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6424

    -Frank Gazerro

  6. Posted July 31, 2008 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    @ Barbara – you know me, I like hacking up my website and learning cool little tricks. This seems like a good place to learn a lot.

  7. Posted July 31, 2008 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I just click on the title of the post. A new window opens. Make comment and post it. Close window and I’m back to where I was in the reader. Not complicated at all.

  8. Posted July 31, 2008 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    While staying in the flow is important, I guess the script could be improved even more. Perhaps it should allow me to continue reading and clicking on items but keep the existing iframe open.

    But perhaps this is just a feature inside Google Reader that’s impossible to override.

    Thanks for pointing this out Lorelle!

  9. Posted August 1, 2008 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I second (Frank Gazerro) on using the Lifehacker made Better Google Reader add-on. I’ve been using it since it’s inception and it has made reading all my feeds 10x’s faster.

  10. Posted August 1, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    @ Hendry Lee:

    The view of the page within the iframe/frame of Google Feed Reader allows clicking on continue reading, commenting, and everything within that frame. I looked all over a site from within it without a problem. Have you had problems?

  11. Posted August 1, 2008 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    @ Mike Goad:

    You are opening multiple windows. That means that FireFox (or whatever browser you are using) is loading AGAIN into your RAM. The more instances, the less working memory and the slower your computer runs. I often have 20-100 tabs open and I use only one instance of the program running to reduce memory demand.

    As you describe is what I started the article with. If you are a power user, it adds to the complexity of dancing around tabs and such. By removing the dance, it’s much faster to respond right from the page I am looking for, and reduces the demand on my computer’s RAM.

  12. Rajaie AlKorani
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Gonna try it out right now!

  13. TM
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    Umm…I use screen readers and accessibility tools on a regular basis. I know of NO accessibility tool, free or otherwise, that reads the href or title content. It’s just the link text (i.e., whatever’s in betwen the A tags). Though, I’ve not updated ZoomText in a while, and my all-reading SR for bad eye days – free – doesn’t do that, and it’s the latest version.

    I mean no harm, it’s just inaccurate. The “title” attribute, while pretty, offers nothing for someone who uses a screen reader ONLY. E.g., the code <p> I use <acronym title="WordPress">WP</acronym>.</p> reads to me, I use WP, and sometimes, I use whip on fast settings.

  14. Posted August 3, 2008 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Great tip I have since installed this and used it alot since finding it through your blog.

  15. Posted August 4, 2008 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    To cut it, don’t read the preview of the post. If you think its interesting then directly open it on a new tab, read the content, and comment..

  16. Posted August 5, 2008 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    @ Kaname:

    To cut the time you spend? It adds the same amount of time to open it in a new tab, read, and comment as it does to not use the Preview link. Using the Preview Greasemonkey script, I save time reading the original post within my feed reader, commenting, and moving on to the next in my feed reader. No opening tabs, waiting for them to load, finding them in my tab queue (I often open a lot at the same time and then go to the end of the queue and read them one by one and comment or close them to save time – time I no longer have to spend), reading, commenting, and closing and returning back to my feed reader.

    Maybe I’m missing your point. Using this Greasemonkey script, no more opening sites in new tabs. I open them within Google Feed Reader.

  17. Posted August 6, 2008 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Hi, thank you for this great time saver. I’m going to start using it today.

    Best regards,
    ChrisS

  18. Posted August 7, 2008 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    This is fantastic, I started to write a blog post about how good it looked – got halfway through it and had to install it!!! I’m commenting in reader right now!

  19. Posted August 7, 2008 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    @ Keiron:

    Isn’t it wonderful! This Greasemonkey Script to preview and comment from within Google Feed Reader has completely changed my blog interaction and sped up my bloggy life. I love it.

  20. Posted August 8, 2008 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    “One of the most frustrating aspects of reading blogs through feed readers is the process of”READING the blogs! Even if you are not on a mobile browser, you can’t scan the listed content easily! For each feed’s link you need some extra time to:
    (1) download a heavy(!) html page
    (2) find useful content there (among ads)

    Under risk of removing this comment :) I would remind about existence of my own solution to the problem, – *Ads-FREE Web* at Mini-News.com

  21. Posted August 11, 2008 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    awesome way to do more funs from google reader. thanks

  22. Posted August 18, 2008 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    This comment is being done via my new favorite commenting technique outlined in this post. Thanks. Seems to work great and is sure to speed things up for many.

  23. Posted August 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    An excellent script Lorelle,thanks for sharing.It’s certianly going to reduce the amount of time spent before commenting on posts. Thanks again!

  24. Posted August 24, 2008 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Lorelle!! I’ve been using this plugin since I saw this post. I am absolutely in LOVE!

    Then, I opened my reader this morning (Aug 24) and it no longer works. I tried to reinstall it and I got nothing.

    Any suggestions?

  25. Posted August 24, 2008 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    @ Sam:

    Plugin? This is a Greasemonkey Script that works in FireFox browsers only. If you restarted your FireFox browser and you are using the latest, unstable version of FireFox, Greasemonkey will occasionally not work due to the automatic upgrades. I use the Nightly Test Tools FireFox Extension to override compatibility version issues.

    You might have turned off Greasemonkey by mistake, too. I’ve done that.

    Google Feed Reader might also have updated or changed something, which means that that script author will have to update the script accordingly. It works for me without any problems right now.

    Other than that, you have to check in with Greasemonkey and the author of the Greasemonkey Script for help on this. It still works for me consistently.

  26. Posted August 27, 2008 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    OMG! I am using it right now. That is the coolest F’in thing! Wow. I saved this post a zillion years ago and was just sitting here frustrated that I had to go through the 10 steps or so you outline above when I remembered “hey didn’t i read there’s a way to do this IN google reader?

    You ROCK Lorelle, sorry for the delayed reaction but man what a timesaver!

  27. Posted September 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle, have you tried Feedly? It’s integrated with Google Reader and I find it to be much more efficient and pleasant to use. The various magazine-like layouts are visually delectable. Give it a shot, I highly recommend it. Thanks for the good read.

  28. lois
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    To cut the time you spend? It adds the same amount of time to open it in a new tab, read, and comment as it does to not use the Preview link. Using the Preview Greasemonkey script, I save time reading the original post within my feed reader, commenting, and moving on to the next in my feed reader. No opening tabs, waiting for them to load, finding them in my tab queue (I often open a lot at the same time and then go to the end of the queue and read them one by one and comment or close them to save time – time I no longer have to spend), reading, commenting, and closing and returning back to my feed reader.
    Maybe I’m missing your point. Using this Greasemonkey script, no more opening sites in new tabs. I open them within Google Feed Reader.

    • Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      I timed the difference at the time I wrote it and there was a huge time difference. It’s not forced up on you which one to choose. You use what works for you.

  29. Posted October 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    some great info. might give it a try


9 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Close in the Window Oh Google, My Google July 31, 2008 Have all y’all seen this?  You lurkers are quickly running out of excuses.  Muahahaha….the comments…they will [...]

  2. [...] This piece from Lorelle on WordPress just made my blogging experience much easier.  If you use Firefox and the Greasemonkey extension it’s simple: just install the user script, restart FireFox and you’re good to go.  Now you can use the “preview” link at the bottom of each feed to comment on blogs, articles, etc without opening up another tab.  Wonderful! [...]

  3. [...] Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader – Lorelle tells us about a Greasemonkey script that enables commenting via Google Feed Reader and another that adds feed icons to a page identifying and allowing you to subscribe to the choice of feeds available. [...]

  4. [...] Lorelle has written a post detailing the use of this script. [...]

  5. [...] I saw Lorelle’s post on using a Grease Monkey script to read full blog posts and comment on blogs all from within Google [...]

  6. [...] Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader [thanks to lorelle] [...]

  7. [...] Tip: Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader – another Greasemonkey script that allows you to comment on blogs from inside of your Google Feed [...]

  8. [...] Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader One of the most frustrating aspects of reading blogs through feed readers is the process of commenting on blogs. How would you like to cut this down to only a few clicks? And how would you like to comment on blog posts directly from Google Feed Reader? [...]

  9. […] Enhanced Greasemonkey Script (GPE) for FireFox and GreaseMonkey, which I covered recently in Power Blogging Tips: Comment on Blogs From Within Google Feed Reader, you can respond directly from your feed reader to the posts within the Social Media Fire […]

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