Time to Get off Google Reader

RSS_icon_largeGoogle Reader was how I managed to read through 300 blogs during the week. Many writers have similar stories. But Google announced the death of Google Reader, scheduled for 1st July.

If you are still reading this blog via an RSS subscription through Google Reader, it’s time to move off. May I recommend a couple of options for your feeds.

Google Reader Features

For multi-blog readers, Google Reader had a lot of pro-options – particularly the ability to categorise blogs into groups, and then read all the latest posts in a title-view. This allowed you to browse down all the single row titles at once, and select any that stood out as good reads (showing you the value in a good title). Google Reader also has an unread post count – this was sometimes considered another inbox.

Google Reader also had many third-party apps or the offical app for reading your posts within. I had several on my iPAD.

But once those servers are switched off at the end of this month, those apps are now valueless.

A good alternative to Google Reader is The Old Reader, which apparently looks like Reader before the redesign, and allows a Google Reader import via the OPML file. You may also like to read via desktop apps or other website services. Exporting and importing your feeds is explained via this Lifehacker Post.

Replacement RSS Reading

I’ll break this down to the two types of feed readers – the power users who have a large list of feeds or like to read blogs that are updated regularly; and the magazine-type reader who prefers to have a smaller list of feeds they want to read, blogs which are not regularly updated.

Feedly for the Power User

FeedlyMy replacement by choice is Feed.ly. Since Google’s announcement over Reader, the developers at Feed.ly have been constantly implementing new features to take over where Reader will leave power users off. Signing up via your Google ID will convert over your full blog post subscriptions. Feedly has just recently moved over the subscriptions to it’s own servers, and is increasing server size to accommodate the feeds.

Feedly offers equivalent views such as the title view, or a magazine view which shows categorised blog posts as images. It also offers a Feedly app for iOS, Android and Kindle which is equally pleasant to read. It still requires integration with a few other apps such as Evernote, but provides full integration for social sharing your links via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linked In or scheduled via Buffer, for saving to your favourite off-line read later app (I use Pocket, but Instapaper is catered for also) or for emailing.

And it’s free.

Of course, the most powerful aspect of this is that as a Google Reader user, you can convert over all your feeds to Feedly with ease, and not lose your blog reading steps.

Link: Feedly

Bloglovin’ or Flipboard for the Irregular Reads

Bloglovin’

BloglovinBloglovin’ and other similar apps allow you to add feeds to a webpage, to read the posts in a magazine or blog-like stream. This magazine-style feed became the choice of many blog RSS feed readers through apps like Flipbook on iOS.

Bloglovin’ also has apps available for various mobile platforms, and you can categorise your blog feeds. The front page of bloglovin’ shows popular posts and top blogs.

For non-power users who only read a couple of blog feeds in a day or week, these types of services may be a way to go. But you will need to add each new (or your old) feed individually. Imports of your current feeds from elsewhere are a function within settings once signed in. There is an option to import from Google Reader, or OPML/XML files.

As a blog owner, Bloglovin’s supplies Follow buttons for you. You can choose sizes, or buttons which show the number of followers of you blog.

Signup is free and can be done with email address or Facebook login (although this didn’t work for me). I also had problems with my email validation link hanging me.

Once inside it’s necessary to claim your own blog, much like other blog networking systems. Interestingly, the blog was already followed by 4 users on Bloglovin’, ranking this blog at something like 605000th. Yikes, that’s enough to be painful.

My blog in BlogLovin’ is showing an extremely old frontpage screenshot thumbnail also, and as the owner I can’t find an option to update what my blog looks like on there.

BlogLovin’ only has a couple of options to read your blog feeds in – small or big images. There is a daily email sent out to you automatically containing these post excerpts also. If you’re a power user of many blog feeds, this type of service may not be for you, as it’s a long scroll down the screen to read posts, but for the person looking for a nice magazine style stream, Bloglovin’ may be the one to go for.

Link: Bloglovin’

Flipboard

flipboard1The Flipboard App is an extremely successful app for magazine-style blog reads. With over 20 million users, it’s got to be doing many things right.

Flipboard – for iOS mobile platforms,also includes functions to bring in your main social feeds such as Facebook or Twitter.

Link: Flipboard (iTunes store)

Other Follow Options

Follow (for platform readers)

Of course, this blog offers several other options you can choose to keep abreast of new blog posts. The wordpress.com offers a follow option – if you’re signed into WordPress.com, you will see the option in a top menu, and to the top of the sidebar. Blogger used to have a similar Follow option, but now utilises the Google Friend Connect widget on sidebars.

Both WordPress and Blogger followers then need to read their followed blogs inside the platforms – these appear as a stream of the latest feeds, and can be liked, shared, or reposted onto your own blog.

Feed Emails

Many blogs offer a signup for updates of posts via emails. Mine is included as a WordPress provided option in the sidebar. If you input your email address, you will receive an email everytime there’s a new post.

Others utilise feed to email services which you signup for. Blogtrottr does this for you. Google’s own Feedburner also allows signup to subscriptions of individual feeds.

Several newsletter email services such as AWebber or Mailchimp can also be setup by the blog owners to send out the RSS feed of new blog posts, rather than customised newsletters, but this is an individual thing per blog.

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