The best way (for me) to read blogs (right now)

The best way (for me) to read blogs (right now)

FeedlyYou’ve probably seen one or two (or maybe one or two dozen) posts about RSS reader options since Google announced it was retiring Google Reader come July 1. But I’ve been shocked that those posts haven’t discussed the issue that’s most important for me, so I’m wading in. Forgive me if you’ve seen this covered elsewhere.

I was a latecomer to Google Reader. Until not that long ago, I visited my favorite blogs over and over and over again, typing in their domains every time, looking to see if a new post was up. When I finally found out that Google Reader would deliver new posts to me–automatically, and for free–I jumped on board. I’ve been in love ever since.

So when Google announced it was retiring Google Reader, my first reaction–like so many other RSS devotees–was “Nooooo!!!!!” I’d finally found a system that worked for me: I was doing 80% of my blog reading with Byline app on my iPhone, which synced with Reader, and let me get through a ton of blogs very, very quickly. I didn’t want to change my system.

But knowing the end was inevitable, I devoted a week to trying out the alternatives instead of riding out Google Reader to the very end, which, believe me, was tempting.

I went cold turkey: I deleted Byline, and flipped a coin between the top two contenders to replace Reader: Bloglovin’ and Feedly. Bloglovin’ won: I set it up on my laptop and installed the app on my phone.

There’s a lot to like about both services. Bloglovin’ is beautiful, user-friendly, easy. On my laptop, it’s terrific. But on my phone–where I do 80% of my blog reading, it’s s-l-o-w. With Bloglovin’, you’re basically visiting each website (just like you would with Google Reader’s “next” button). It makes for a great user experience, but loading all those pages takes time.

I hate to admit it, but speed matters to me.

feedly phone

So I decided to try the Feedly app to see how it compared, and fell in love. Because to load a new post, I just swipe. No loading required. It’s fast. And in my stage of life, that matters.

( I like that if I do want to visit the actual website–to view the whole page, or see the pretty pictures better, or leave a comment–it’s easy to click over, or mark the post as unread, or flag it for follow-up.)

So, Feedly it is–at least for now. I’m still honing my system: Tsh of Simple Mom mentioned in her recent post about Feedly that she subscribes to her favorite blogs by email and uses filters and tags to bypass her inbox and send her subscriptions to a file that functions very much like a personal feed reader. This sounds like a great idea, and something I want to play around with.

(Of course, Bloglovin’ has its fans, too. Laura of Hollywood Housewife has the best post I’ve read on it.)

Choosing the best system for you is a personal thing, and depends very much on what your needs are and what you like. But if you like to read blogs, it’s worth experimenting a bit to find what works best for you. Putting a good system in place definitely makes things easier, and can even change your life.

If you’re not yet an MMD subscriber, you can subscribe via Feedly here, and via email here. (If Bloglovin’ is more your style, you can find MMD here.)

How do you keep up with your favorite blogs?

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47 comments | Comment


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  1. i switched to bloglovin’ and haven’t noticed the slow… but now that you mention it…
    might need to check ot feedly…

    would LOVE for you to come link this post up on my first Life Lately. link up! it’s up on my blog now and is just a place to link posts about… well, life. pretty easy. 🙂 every monday. xo

    • Anne says:

      Oh no! I don’t want to mess with your system if it’s working for you…because change can be painful, ya know?

      And for you, I’d be happy to link up. 🙂

  2. I’ve been typing in the URLs for my favorite blogs ever since I started my own. I was behind the times! Just tried out blog lovin’ last week and so far I like it but I don’t use it on my phone. Sounds like I need to give Feedly a try!

    • Anne says:

      Hey, not everyone likes to read blogs on their phone. I totally get that, and think my love of it might be strongly tied to my stage of life. But if that appeals to you, I’d definitely recommend Feedly.

  3. I think I need to check out this Feedly business. I currently read my favorite blogs on my phone via email subscription, but I’m thinking Feedly might be more efficient.
    PS, Love your summer reading guide; I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered Eats, Shoots and Leaves sooner. I am forever grateful for the introduction. 🙂

  4. Amy says:

    I love Feedly now although I will miss Google Reader just because I’ve been using it for years and years. Feedly is terrific on an iPad and I actually prefer it b/c of the swiping, etc than on the desktop.

  5. Stacey says:

    I still miss using Google Reader, but I actually really enjoy using Feedly now. The iPhone app was the thing that initially sold me on it, because at the time I was doing more of my reading on my phone. I only tried it briefly, but BlogLovin’ seemed a little clunky to me!

  6. The whole Google Reader being canceled thing is probably one of the few reasoms I’m glad to have started my blog on blogger. Using its feed, I have all the blogs I’m following in one place, though I do have to load each site individually. That’s not a problem for me, though, since I read blogs mostly on my laptop and sometimes on my tablet. Other than the feed thing, though, I think a lot of other servers are better than Blogger, and I may get around to switching sometime. Then I don’t know what I’ll do for reading blogs.

  7. Tim says:

    I don’t use readers at all. any blogs I want to follow I go with email subscriptions. That way, the new posts keep staring at me in my inbox, telling me, “Hey, you haven’t read me yet!” I read them to make them shut up and leave me alone.

    • Anne says:

      I get that. 🙂 That’s the reason I subscribe to a handful of blogs via email. But I do it haphazardly and not with a deliberate system. I’m planning on playing around with this soon.

  8. Kim says:

    I’m a Flipboard user and love that they will preserve my current google reader feeds…BUT, I’ve been wondering what I want to do to add new feeds when GR is gone. I don’t want to have tons of feeds on my flipboard or I’ll be flipping for hours! That’s for the point to feedly.

  9. Sarah R says:

    Wow- strange! I hadn’t heard any of this- but I read my blogs online through MyYahoo!, which works fine for me. When I have a smartphone (no budget for it right now) I will definitely look into these options!

  10. Jennifer H says:

    I’ve been fretting over this, and had not really heard anyone talk about an alternate reader to Google. Since I don’t use my phone to read blogs, I just signed up with bloglovin and got caught up on all my blog reading. Thank you.

  11. I just checked out Bloglovin and to install on Chrome it says that Bloglovin will have access to my data on all websites and browsing history. What do you think about this?

    • Anne says:

      Uh, I think granting those kind of access passes freaks me out a little every time. I don’t have Chrome, and I never faced that particular decision for Bloglovin’–I just used a web version in Safari. But honestly, I’d probably debate about it for a minute, swallow hard, and click “yes.” (But I wish they wouldn’t make it sound so creepy!)

  12. Lesley says:

    I just started using Feedly last week and it seems great but I’m still going to miss Google Reader/Reeder. I hope Reeder can synch up with Feedly so that I don’t notice much of a change.

  13. MK says:

    I’ve actually found that I get sucked in too much with a reader: I feel like I need to conquer every post. Then again, I also have a dumbphone, so maybe I’d appreciate a feed reader more if my phone were more intelligent? 😉

    • Anne says:

      I get that. 🙂 Sorting my blogs into different categories (i.e., “must read” vs. everything else) has been really helpful for combatting the “must finish” mindset.

  14. Emily says:

    I heard about the end of Google reader as well 2 or 3 months ago and went ahead and tried out a few new ones. I don’t remember the other ones, but when I came upon Feedly, I loved it and it was a fairly easy transition! The phone app is very similar to using it on the computer, so I was happy with the switch!

  15. Hah! Reading the comments, I think it’s so funny how so many of us feel this pressure to read from our favourite blogs. As if we’ll miss out on some hugely important piece of information if we skip one post. I’m not saying I’m any different, I too feel the pressure. Which is why I’ve gone on a blog reader purge recently. I have to do it every couple of months to keep sane.

    I’m a Bloglovin’ devotee. It definitely works for me and I like how pretty it is. But, like you, I do a lot of reading on my phone and this is where Bloglovin’ lets itself down. While you can group your blogs into categories on a desktop/laptop, the app does not show these groupings. Instead, it lists the blogs in alphabetical order – which is super annoying! But I’ll live with it – for now.

    Another good alternative to both Bloglovin’ and Feedly is Pulse. I think it might be a lot like Feedly from the little I’ve seen, but I’m just throwing it in the ring as another option.

    Great post, as always!

    Maria xx

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for sharing about Pulse. It’s good to know what the options are…

      I’m feeling a little silly right now: I couldn’t discern any rhyme or reason to the order Bloglovin’ showed me my new posts in. I just went to look again and … yeah, it’s alphabetical. 🙂

  16. Shana Norris says:

    I checked out Feedly after reading this post a couple days ago. I love the user interface on my iPhone. Very visually appealing.

    I subscribe via email to a few blogs, and try to keep up with others via Twitter, but I miss a lot that way.

    Looking forward to giving Feedly a whirl.

  17. Carrie says:

    I liked feedly at first, but became increasingly annoyed that I could never “unsave” anything. If I saved it on my phone because I wanted to to read or comment later on my laptop, when I hit “unsave” it just wouldn’t work. everytime I logged in again all the posts I ever saved were still there. Made the OCD part of me freak out. So I switched to Bloglovin. I have no major peeves with it, and I like the newest version better (it updated automatically on my phone).

    • Anne says:

      Seriously?? Yeah, that would freak me out, too. I absolutely do NOT want clutter in my reader, and not being able to unsave would drive me bonkers. I haven’t noticed that problem, but I usually unsave from my phone. Maybe that’s why it’s working (so far)?

  18. Shana Norris says:

    Question for all the Feedly users here: do some blogs just not have feeds? I’ve been trying to add one to Feedly and my search comes up empty every time.

    The blog is ForTheLoveOf.Net

    • Anne says:

      That’s so weird; I read Andrea’s blog in Feedly! I usually add blogs to Feedly from the desktop version, but I guess it’s not letting you? I just checked and the feed name is “For the Love of…” (with the ellipsis). Andrea is @fourflights on twitter–I’d hit her up there if you keep having trouble. 🙂

      • Shana Norris says:

        I know, right?! It’s so strange. I have tried to find the feed using every combination possible of words and symbols. I’ll keep trying for another week or so and if I can’t get it to work, I’ll contact Andrea. It’s good to know it’s working for you, Anne.

  19. I don’t know how I never used the GR Next button. I am doing that on Bloglovin’ now and ADORE it. I comment so much more. But I don’t have a smartphone, so I do all my reading on the laptop. I know that makes a difference! I have heard over and over what you said, that Bloglovin isn’t great on mobile.

  20. rosee says:

    I have been using Bloglovin on my macbook and iphone for several months now, though I don’t read posts on my phone that much. I now see what you say about Bloglovin’s limitations with the iphone app. That is annoying, and maybe why I haven’t used the app much so far. I have recently organized all my blogs into categories and like the set-up. What I don’t like about Bloglovin’ is that several people (myself included) have requested that liked posts be organized by the set categories, and months ago they responded that “it was in the works”. Slow works, Bloglovin’ peeps!

    I did try to get onto Feedly but I seem to be getting different results than you.
    A couple of issues:
    1 – I can’t find my favorite blogs on Feedly, it gives me ones with similar phrasing but totally different content. I find it easier to find new blogs on Bloglovin’.
    2 – I don’t seem to get their interface and how to navigate it. Maybe I get something different from the rest of you (being in Canada)?
    If you can help, I will give it another go.

    • rosee says:

      What a difference a good night’s sleep makes! I started fiddling around with Feedly last night and continued when I woke up this morning. And yes, I do seem to like it better. I figured out how to search for and input blogs not listed on their roster and figure out the interface too (which now I sheepishly admit is so darn easy). And the iphone app rocks! Thank you and Tsh from Simple Mom for getting me to jump ship.
      (p.s. I did not like the mean looking nekid lady logo on Bloglovin’. Especially when children are peeking over my shoulder. Minor issue though)

      • anne says:

        There isn’t really a like function but you can tag them or save them for later. Tagging them allows you to categorize them so if you wanted to save all the articles about great books to read you could have a spot that just has those. The more things are tagged and shared the more “hearts” next to the post.

  21. Stacy M says:

    Wow, I hadn’t even heard of Bloglovin’! I’ll have to RUN to check that out as feedly keeps losing my favorite blog updates, including yours (I’m not even kidding!) It’s quite possible that I haven’t experimented enough! I did make a list of my favorite blogs and saved it to a text file, just in case, but I’m still a little nervous as I’ve been using Google Reader since it started up.

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