If you have a Google Reader account full of blogs you like to read, like I do, you probably already know that this feature of Google will be going away soon. Because I like so many blogs on Facebook, this news is not quite as devastating to me as it might have been a few years ago, but for those of you who like all of your blog feeds neatly stacked in one place, it’s time to explore a new solution.
If you mostly click around the web haphazardly, perhaps you’ll consider setting up an account where you can see and organize the blogs you want to follow. RSS readers are a nice way to browse, tag things for later reference, and discover new blogs to follow. RIP Google Reader.
What is a feed reader?
How does it work behind the scenes? Who cares. The key benefit is that I don’t have to remember to seek out the blogs I enjoy. New bloggy content automatically comes to my RSS Reader when it’s posted, so I never miss a post.
When I’m on a new website and I get that familiar feeling, you know, like “I like this site, but I’ll probably forget about it in a few minutes. I don’t WANT to forget about it, but I know myself, and well, I’ll forget,” that’s when I try to subscribe to the blog.
I look for the word “subscribe” or for this icon. Then done.
On RookieMoms.com, for example, the “feed” icon lives in the upper right-hand corner, next to our other social media icons. When you click on it, you go to a page that allows you to choose some different ways to subscribe. (Don’t choose Google Reader. Or if you do, then you’ll want to export your Google Reader account before the end of June into something new.) If you prefer email, select “Get Rookie Moms delivered by email.” That means that every time we post something new, you’ll get the post in an email. You don’t have to remember to come here.
RSS in a post-Google-Reader world
Another option for keeping up with blogs that is gaining crazy popularity is Feedly. It’s a website and a mobile app that allows you to follow and discover content sources you love. I have the app, and I imported my Google Reader account there, but find it a bit difficult to use. Apparently I’m the dummy because 30 million Google Reader customers have already transitioned and David Pogue from the New York Times recommends it. It does look very pretty.
Another tool to play with is Bloglovin’. Here’s how they introduce themselves:
Reading blogs can be a pain in the ass. We created bloglovin´ so you wouldn’t have to visit un-updated blogs, open ten windows in your browser, or forget your favorite blogs web-addresses. With bloglovin´ we wanted to make your blog reading fun and easy.
Sounds good to me.
FeedInbox is pretty much the same thing. And finally, there are bookmarking tools that can support your daily routines. Some of you have said you use Pinterest for this purpose. I should note, also, that most websites have feeds that you can subscribe to; it doesn’t have to be a “blog”. Go to the very bottom of the NYTimes.com website and you’ll see a small link that says RSS. On the page that follows, you’ll find options to subscribe to feeds for the home page of that site; US News; World News; Education; Arts, etc.
If you like to see a glossy, magazine-like experience, a handful of apps will do that for you, integrating your existing social media accounts with your feeds to produce one cool, personalized magazine that includes links your friends have shared, their photos and updates, and the blogs you’ve specifically added. See Flipboard. (It’s super cool!)
Ok, your turn. How do you keep up with blogs you want to follow?