Every day, blogs like Small Business Trends, Duct Tape Marketing and Small Business SEM post incredibly valuable information for small business owners. They go over tips and highlight tactics for the different ways that businesses can increase their marketing efforts and ultimately grow a more successful company.
But not every small business is well-versed in blogs and RSS. Plenty of SMB owners aren’t aware of how to find relevant blogs, where to look or even have the time to research which blogs are valuable and which are just noise. However, last week Google implemented a new feature to Google Reader to help change that. It’s called Google Bundles.
I was really excited when I first heard about Google bundles. I’m an avid Google Reader user (after finally switching over from Bloglines) and I think this is a great way for small business owners to share information, alert one another to blogs that may be able to help them, and just increase the technology-savvy of SMB owners in general. Blogs and RSS offer SMB owners an incredible way to educate themselves on running a business. Making it easier to tap into that information only increases the value.
The way Google Bundles works is that it allows you to “bundle” your RSS feeds together to create “groups” or “packs” of feeds and then associate a topic with them. For example, you can create a Google Bundle of your SMB information blogs, Web design blogs or simply a bundle for your hobby blogs. These bundles then become searchable so that you can share them with your Google contacts and spread the information. Or, you can simply benefit from the bundles your Google contacts have already made.
To create your bundles, click “Browse for stuff” and choose the Create a Bundle option.
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Once you do, you’ll be asked to name your bundle, offer a description and then drag and drop the feeds you want to associate with the bundle from your list.
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Once you’re finished, hit Save and add the bundle to your Shared Items list to allow your Google contacts to see it. You’ll also be given the option of emailing your bundle, creating a link for it on your blog or Web site or giving people access to the OPML file.
If you have no interest in creating your own, you can instead check to see if any of your Google contacts made their own by going into Google Reader, clicking on Browse for Stuff and looking to see if you have any available shared bundles from your contacts. If you do, enjoy. If not, perhaps you should harass them to make some.
I think Google has created a really great opportunity for small business owners to get comfortable using RSS, while making it easy to find authoritative blogs to subscribe to and benefit from.
If you’re interested, you can opt in to view my Small Business Blogs bundle, which features 15 or so of my favorite Internet marketing/small business blogs. Maybe it’ll help you get started.