Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Feed Readers

21st March 2013

bloggiesta

Hello, bloggiesta-ers….bloggiesties…BLOGGERS! I hope your Bloggiesta weekend will be productive and fun. As most of you know or have heard, Google Reader will no longer be available after July 1, 2013. What to do? Agh! Instead of panicking, check out this primer. I did the research so you don’t have to! I’ve taken the most popular feed readers and checked out what they look like and what they do. Depending on how important a number of elements are to you (availability of apps, pure RSS, ability to view original blog), you can make a decision below.

Some biases to be aware of: I disliked pure RSS because I enjoy seeing the individual blog. Therefore, what I may see as a benefit, you may see as a drawback. However, I detail what each one is, so you should be able to distinguish. I also use minimal organization within my reader, so if you want more bells and whistles, look for that within the descriptions.

For instructions on how to save your Google Reader feed, check out Charlie’s post and scroll to the bottom.

Here we go:

Feedly

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 10.07.05 PM

Benefits:

  • Powered by Google Reader, so you have the same data/support Google gives to all its products, and same goes for if you already have a gmail account.
  • Has an app.
  • Easy to share posts through Twitter or on your Facebook account, directly from the site.
  • Also, aesthetically pleasing with links opening in a new window. The beauty of this is you can actually see the website.
  • Ability to manage blogs via folders and tags.

Drawbacks:

  • Must be installed on your computer. This could be viewed as a benefit because you can instantly add a site to feedly using a bookmarklet; however, this isn’t easily accessible from all computers – say your work computer when you need a 15-minute break.

Import: Feedly has worked on a transition just for the GR switch, called Normandy. If you switch before July 1, 2013, you should be able to “migrate seamlessly” – go here for instructions.

Feed Demon

Benefits:

  • Simple customization but similar to Google Reader – very technical, not so attractive.
  • A bit primitive.

Drawbacks:

  • Again, must be downloaded.
  • If you’re not a techie, there are LOTS of different tools you may not need and that may inhibit your viewing.

Download: Download Feed Demon here.

Bloglovin

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 10.10.52 PM

Benefits:

  • Simplicity.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. (I’ll be honest, this is the feed reader I currently use and adore.)
  • No installation. Just log on to see your favorite sites.
  • Easily customizable.
  • The dominant image and a teaser of the post is shown Click on the link, and it opens the site in a new tab. Love. It. (And no, they don’t pay me to say that).
  • Ability to view blogs in folders, alphabetically, or by date updated.
  • Has an app.
  • Once you open one site, Bloglovin gives you a utilities “frame”, from which you can “share” or “favorite” the post or click to the next post in your feed. That way you aren’t opening multiple tabs. It’s quick and easy.

Drawbacks:

  • Few bells and whistles. If you are used to mass data and organization options, this won’t be your feed.
  • Also, Bloglovin’ was originally a fashion blog aggregate, so there are occasional ads at the top for fashion blogs.

Import: Import your feed here.

Newsblur

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 10.16.23 PM

Benefits:

  • Lots of customization and organization.
  • You can view the original site or just the plain RSS.

Drawbacks:

  • Newsblur is free for up to 64 sites or $1 a month for unlimited access.
  • Not as intuitive because of all the options available.

Import: Import your feed here.

Bloglines

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 10.19.44 PM

Benefits:

  • Familiar to many.
  • Simple to use.
  • Traditional.

Drawbacks:

  • Signup required instead of immediate import.
  • Since changing hands, has less of a reader feel.

Create account: Sign up here.

WordPress

 Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 10.22.01 PM

Benefits:

  • Perfect for those with WordPress accounts (keeps all data in one place).
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Opens blog in new window.
  • Gives preview of post.
  • Ability to share post within reader.

Drawbacks:

  • For those looking for a pure RSS reader, may not like.
  • Not ideal for non-Wordpress users.

Import: Go here to import your feed.

Blogger

 Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 11.19.27 AM

Benefits:

  • Perfect for those with existing Blogger accounts.
  • Opens blog in new window.
  • Gives preview of post.

Drawbacks:

  • No ability to share post or favorite it.
  • No customization options.
  • No settings to change blog list/viewing options/folders.
  • Not ideal for those without existing Blogger accounts.

Import: Visit site here and click “Add” – this will give you the ability to import your feed.

Challenge: Post about your first impressions and which feed reader you think you’ll like. That way, if you’ve experienced any others or have tips, others can benefit! Link your post below for a chance to win a $15 gift card to Book Depository.

  • http://twitter.com/DiamondsintheLi Becky C

    This is awesome, thank you! I have indeed been panicking. Google, why must you disrupt our lives like this??

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Haha! I only used Google Reader briefly, so I haven’t felt the panic. Hope you find something that works for you.

  • Charlie

    I think if I was to start over I’d opt for Newsblur or Bloglovin’. I like Newsblur’s option to view the site, and the interface of Bloglovin’ is just really nice. I prefer seeing the actual site too, and my desktop app doesn’t allow you to do that, but I’m so used to it now.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      The only thing that would get me with Newsblur is all the options. I’m a bit…ahem…picky, and too many options can be daunting to me. I do love Bloglovin, though.

  • http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/ Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    You are a deity among bloggers. Where, or where, did you find the feedly bookmarklet? I’ve been experimenting with feedly but abandoned for the time since, as you say, it’s a download AND I can’t easily figure out how to subscribe to things. I’m now leaning toward Bloglovin’, based on this. THANK YOU times infinity.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      A deity among bloggers?? I’ll take that title. 😉

      It’s a bit of a challenge to figure out which you feel most comfortable with, but I’ve got to again say how much I love Bloglovin. Try it out. If you don’t like it, you can always switch. It isn’t *that* much work.

  • http://www.readinginwinter.com/ Kristilyn Robertson

    I think I’ve finally settled on Bloglovin … I’ve tried out a few others and find them too finicky. Bloglovin seems to fit my needs perfectly!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Yea! Even though I tried to be objective in my overview, I’m a huge fan of Bloglovin. I hope you love it as much as I do.

  • Kari

    Other than Blogger, I have never used feed readers at all, so this stuff intimidates me. A lot. I would probably like to learn more about Bloglovin or Bloglines. Thanks for the information in the post – it’s very helpful for someone like me who needs all the help I can get when it comes to the technical parts of blogging.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Don’t be intimidated! It’s new. When I first started reading blogs, I just bookmarked them all. But then my habit got out of control. 🙂

      I really like being able to go to one place and get all the blogs I love right there. If you have any questions, PLEASE ask.

  • http://twitter.com/lucysfootball Amy

    I’m using Feedly – don’t love it, but it’s about as close to Greader as I can find. I don’t mind Bloglovin, but I don’t like only seeing a preview of the post in the reader, so Feedly seems to be the best fit for me.

    Mostly, I’m just cranky they’re discontinuing Greader, as it’s always been the perfect reader for me. It kind of makes sense, then, that they’d get rid of it. It’s like when I fall in love with a tv character – they’re sure to die in one of the next few episodes. I’m like a good-thing killer.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Haha! Yes, I know that feeling, and it sucks.

      But I hate you haven’t found something you love. I do love BL but mostly because I only see a preview when I first log in. After that, I just click “next” and go through my feed that way. If I want to come back to something, I “like” or “favorite” it, and it goes into a separate folder. (Just to give you something to think about. Not trying to sway you.)

  • teresareads

    I’ve been really enjoying BlogLovin for the way it makes it easier to comment because it actually takes you to the blog to read it. For some reason, I’m more likely to type a comment if I’m already there, but if I read in a reader, that extra step might keep me from it. Google Reader has a “next blog” bookmarklet that does something similar, and I used it a lot. Still, there are times when I’d like to just read a few posts quickly (such as on a work break), so the fact that the reader page itself doesn’t show the full feed is a downside.

    The other reader I’m trying out that others might like is The Old Reader. It’s designed to look just like a previous version of Google Reader, so it has a really simple layout. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, and no app, but I’ve seen lots of people say that want something more plain. The downside right now is that I think they just launched a week or two before the GR announcement, so they weren’t expecting so many sign-ups and so there’s a queue to upload feeds. Mine took a couple of days to get uploaded, but now that they’re there, I’m pleased with how it looks.

    Now if I could just find a way to combine the two experiences, I’d have the perfect feed reader.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Yes, yes, yes re: commenting. That was ultimately why I only stuck with GR for a short time. I didn’t want to have to add a plugin to comment. It just seemed contrary to what a reader should be.

      This post is the only place I’d ever head of The Old Reader. I’m going to check it out just for fun, but I won’t be switching.

  • http://www.LoveAtFirstBook.com/ Love at First Book

    I looooove Bloglovin! It’s honestly perfect for me, and it’s great on the iPad as well!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Awesome! If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan.

  • http://imlostinbooks.blogspot.com/ Becca

    Thank you for this! This is the perfect Bloggiesta challenge- finding a new reader!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Well, thank you! And I hope you find one you like.

  • http://www.booksatruestory.com/ Jessica B

    I adore Feedly. I like to have my posts super-organized so I can quickly read the posts I want to. Some blogs I just browse the headlines for news like for fan sites and others I want to read the whole post in my feedly. I also love that I can just click the feedly button to add them to my reader. So easy and fast! I actually follow a lot more blogs now. Sometimes I want to read blogs but don’t have time to visit all the sites. I don’t like that I have to visit the site in Bloglovin to read the whole thing. I tended to just scroll through all the posts and didn’t read any of them. So I don’t use it anymore. Google Reader was awful. I’m glad it’s shutting down and I found much better options! Thanks for this mini-challenge!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      And I can definitely see that. I only follow blogs, so BL works great for me. What I like about visiting the site in BL is that I get to see the blog itself (I’m a big one for aesthetics), and I love the “next” button, so I don’t continually have to close a window and reopen.

      Glad you like Feedly!

      • http://www.booksatruestory.com/ Jessica B

        I had no idea that it had a toolbar with a next button! I looked at my bloglovin after you said that…and now I might change my mind…. 🙂

        • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

          Now I feel like doing a little dance. 😉

  • http://btweenthecovers.com/ Heather

    There is an app for Feedly, also. I don’t have it installed on my computer–I do all of my blog reading from my phone.

    Great post.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Isn’t that so funny, how people are different? I tried reading blogs from my phone and absolutely hated it. I rarely, if ever, do. Only on occasion if someone tweets a link out.

  • http://twitter.com/nishmvk Nishita

    I like Bloglovin myself. I never used Google Reader, for some reason, it didn’t click with me and so I am unaffected by it going away. I also love the WordPress Reader. It’s really nice.

    Good post, I am sure it’s going to be very useful for a lot of Google Reader users.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      It didn’t click with me either, but I saw the panic on Twitter and thought this might be helpful. I think the WordPress reader is nice, too. In fact, I toyed with trying it out, but I’m not sure I want to make another switch.

  • http://www.alexayupangco.tumblr.com/ Alexa Y.

    I like using Bloglovin’ as well, and you can actually organize the blogs you read into folders, which I love. I adore the way the posts appear in my browser!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Yes, I really do love it. And I love the frame and favorite option, too. I’ve found I will frequently go back to see a particular post I “favorited” – depending on if I’m looking for a certain product or book.

  • Arenel

    That’s really a big research that you’ve made! I was thinking of moving to another reader for some time now, so this post saved me some time) I’ve updated and linked my Bloggiesta post with my new experience with Feedly Plus. There was some small problem first, but now everything is working nicely, and I hope this will help others to avoid this problem)

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      I’m so glad you’re not having any more issues with it. I hope it is perfect for you!

  • Retha Groenewald

    This is a great challenge. Thanks for doing all the hard work for us.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      You’re welcome, Retha! Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://thebookbarbies.blogspot.com/ Sharon @ The Book Barbies

    Wow, this is awesome! There are a few here I haven’t seen before. I’ll have to check them out. I’ve tried to use Feedly several times in the past, and I just don’t really like it. I really like Bloglovin’ to a point, but I dislike how images appear. They’re always stretched, and if they are transparent images, they automatically have a black background. I’ve been floating back and forth between those two for the last few days.

    I’m currently in the import queue at The Old Reader, though, which looks really promising. I’m hoping it lives up to my expectations!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      That’s so weird. I wonder if BL looks like that depending on your browser. I’ve never had those issues.

      Feedly would be my second option, and it’s only through these posts that I’ve learned about Old Reader.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1612067874 Tina Reed

    I thought I already responded but don’t see my post. Anyway, I am using Feedly and I installed it as an app for Chrome. It’s not installed on my desktop so as long as I am using Chrome as a browser, I can access it from anywhere. Actually, Internet Explorer can also work this way if you have the Google Toolbar installed. There is a link for Google Drive and you can just download the app for Feedly there too. Keep it off your machine. Good for the people who read from work.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Tina – GREAT tip. I’ll definitely try to spread the word. I don’t have Chrome on my work computer (and can’t install without IT coming to do it), but I do use Drive. Awesome!

  • Heather R

    Thanks for this post – just saw the link on Twitter – didn’t even realize Bloggiesta was this weekend! I have started thinking about what reader to switch to because I have had a fine experience with GReader. I’m playing with Bloglovin or Feedly – not sure which will win, might try both. But honestly, thanks for doing the legwork and making this a little easier.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Heck yeah, it’s Bloggiesta! (Thank goodness. I need it.) If you were a GR devotee, I think you’d likely find Feedly the simplest switch. And you’re most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/feministtexican feminist texican

    I kind of had a meltdown as soon as I heard the news about Google Reader. I went with Feedly and I think I’m actually liking it more than Google Reader! So clean and easy to organize things. I experimented with Bloglovin too and I liked it, but I’m a full feed kind of girl. 😉

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Good for you! Yes, Feedly is what I would use if I didn’t like BL. But I can’t download stuff at work without a huge hassle, so I didn’t want to mess with Feedly.

  • http://www.littlepocketbooks.blogspot.com/ Alysia @ My Little Pocketbooks

    Thanks for this Jenn! I had fun with this one! Love me some Feedly!!!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Glad you enjoyed it! Feedly is likely what I’d use if I weren’t already pleased with BL.

  • Chrystal M

    I didn’t write a post about this, but I did enjoy this topic immensely and I’ve signed up for Bloglovin’ – it seems like the best for what I will use it for. Thanks for making this so much easier!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Awesome! I hope you enjoy it. Whatever makes blog viewing easier and more fun works for me.

  • http://twitter.com/DebWorldOfBooks Debbie Suzuki

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been debating what to switch to but have been lazy about doing the research. I’m going to try out Bloglovin since I don’t want to have to install anything on a computer.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      It’s kind of daunting. I know when I first switched a couple of years ago, I wasn’t really sure where to begin. But I knew I didn’t like GR, so I didn’t want anything as technical as that.

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  • http://twitter.com/JenHartling Jennifer Hartling

    I’ve never used a reader. Well, I tried GR out a million years ago and I was just confused so I stopped 😉 I’m giving Bloglovin a whirl though, it seems to be easy to use.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      What do you use, out of curiosity? Or do you just click from your blog roll?

  • http://twitter.com/brightcdns Liza Wood

    Great list of alternatives to Google Reader. Unfortunately, Feed Demon depends on Google Reader, so it, too will end: http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2013/03/the-end-of-feeddemon.html

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  • http://twitter.com/truebookaddict Michelle Miller

    I actually switched over the Bloglovin’ last night and I’m lovin’ it! LOL! I posted my link to my starting line post showing that task complete. 🙂

  • Sarah Watkins

    This has been a very helpful post, thank you. I think I will try bloglovin too, it looks easy to use, and it’s easy to see the blog posts. Cheers 🙂

  • http://angelasanxiouslife.blogspot.com/ Angelas Anxious Life

    Wow! Lots of comments here. I have seen on a few blogs that they are going to go on to Bloglovin and claim their domain name. What does that mean? Should we go on there and do it even if we aren’t going to use Bloglovin? Thanks!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      I found these instructions on their site:

      Go to “Account” -> “My blog” on Bloglovin’ and click on “Claim blog”. Search for your blog and click on it in the search results.

      This will display a box with the title “Paste this text into a new blog post” and some HTML code, starting with “<a href…".

      Copy this code (click in the box and then press CTRL+A (CMD+A on MAC) and CTRL+C (CMD+C on MAC) to make sure you have copied everything).

      Sign in on your blog and go to the page where you write a new blog post.

      Paste the code you've copied from Bloglovin' into the new blog post, and publish it.

      Go back to Bloglovin' and press the button – underneath the box with the code – labeled "Claim blog".

      When these steps are done, your blog will be verified as yours and you will be able to change its information on Bloglovin'.

      • http://angelasanxiouslife.blogspot.com/ Angelas Anxious Life

        Thank you!!! I am off to claim my blog!!!

  • http://losetimereading.com/ Lauren

    Thank you for this challenge 🙂 It prompted me to try Bloglovin’ and now it’s one of my options!!!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Yea! Glad I could help. Hope your Bloggiesta is going well.

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  • Tanya M

    Even though I’ve been on WP for just almost a year, I didn’t realize it had a feed reader till about a week ago. I love that I can copy any website into it and get updates. I still have Google Reader too so going to have to move them over. But I signed up for Bloglovin too to give others an opportunity to follow me that way. It seems like a lot of book bloggers use Blogger. Thanks for the mini-challenge, I linked up!

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      That’s the problem – there are so many options! And typically, they’re all different enough that there’s something you like in each. Makes it that much harder!

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  • http://twitter.com/chrisbookarama Chrisbookarama

    I’ve just read about a thing called Spundge (terrible name) as a RSS reader alternative today. Anyone have any thoughts on that? http://www.techvibes.com/blog/spundge-google-reader-2013-03-16

  • http://www.joyweesemoll.com/ Joy Weese Moll

    Thanks for this! Very helpful since I was avoiding this topic.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      You’re so welcome! And yes, I stick my head in the sand sometimes as well. 🙂

  • Logan E. Turner

    Thanks so much for the information. This is a great post on the topic. I’m definitely enjoying Bloglovin’ more than any of the others for now.

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      Good for you!

  • http://onceuponachapter.com/ Stephanie @Once Upon a Chapter

    Thanks so much for all of the information! I’ve claimed my blog on Bloglovin’. I probably wouldn’t have without this Mini Challenge. 🙂

    • http://www.thepickygirl.com Jenn

      So glad you found something useful here!

  • http://worducopia.blogspot.com/ Ali

    This is really helpful. I switched to Feedly when I saw the news, but I’m not 100% happy with it so I’m going to give Bloglovin a try, too.

  • Shannon Clark

    I like feedly and blogloving out of all of them. However, my favorite way of reading my blogs I subscribe to is through email. Then I can delete as I read. Do those 2 readers allow that? 🙂

  • ShaineTW

    Feedly is a browser add-on/plug-in. It doesn’t install as a stand alone software.

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