Monday, March 3, 2014

Why I Switched RSS Feed Readers from Feedly to Bloglovin'

Since the demise of Google Reader last year I have been testing out a number of RSS feed readers. After trying The Old Reader for only a couple of days, I switched to Feedly and decided to stick with it for a while. I liked that it was clean and good-looking. It's easy to organize. And there was a good import feature from Google Reader that meant all my feeds were pre-sorted as I like them. But there were two key things that Feedly doesn't have which has made me leave it in the end.

1. Feedly has a very poor search feature for those with free membership. For example, I was searching for "chicken" in my hundreds of food blogs and the search result is pictured below. I could click on the first two results but the rest were hidden. Instead there was a dialogue box saying, "There are more search results for chicken. Upgrade to Pro to see them all." I was mightily unimpressed.

2. Feedly doesn't have a "Next" button--this was my favourite Google Reader feature. If you don't know what I mean, read on, because this feature will change your view about the usefulness of RSS feed readers!

Why You Will Love the Bloglovin' Buttons

Bloglovin' has this all-important feature! Here is a screen shot of my feed page. The most recent new item is at the top: it's a chicken pot pie recipe from Healthful Pursuit. I can scroll down and see snippets and photos from all the recently updated blogs in my feed. (There's a larger photo option, too.)

When I want to read the whole article, I click anywhere on the item. When I click, a new tab opens with the blog post, framed by a Bloglovin' banner at the top.

I love that I get to see the blog post in situ on the Healthful Pursuit blog, which is beautifully designed. I like that I can see the Healthful Pursuit header banner and side bars. We bloggers think a lot about the overall design of the site, and I like being able to see this when I visit the pages themselves. Also, I can comment easily. For me, that is the reason I have subscribed to all these blogs--to build relationships. I love to leave comments as often as possible. And it has proved to be easy, thanks to Bloglovin'.

Now here's the great part. At the top, on the Bloglovin' banner there is a series of buttons: Newer, Older, Oldest. Clicking the "Older" button takes me directly to the page of the next post in my feed. Brilliant! I can visit post after post, reading and commenting. Even better, the visits via Bloglovin' count toward my bloggy friends' statistics.

One more thing about the buttons: you can choose to move to the next older/newer entry in any of the categories you have created. There is a little drop-down menu to select the category you want. So I can just spend my time on a subset of the blogs.

The main Bloglovin' feed page is still open in the previous tab, so anytime I want to I can return there. The pages I visited in the newer tab have all been marked as read when I return. There are mobile apps, as well, and they all sync the posts that are new or have been read.

Moving to Bloglovin' is easy. From your current RSS reader, export your feeds to an OPML file. Then visit the import page on Bloglovin' and a few minutes later you have moved over. The feeds are pre-sorted into categories as they were in your previous reader.

Or if you are new to RSS feed readers, Bloglovin' has an easy (and very aesthetically pleasing) interface to find blogs you want to follow or discover blogs that fit your interests.

I'm a new convert to Bloglovin', thanks to its buttons. (The search function is still rubbish. Sigh. I would love to get some ideas about that!)

How do you like to visit blogs?

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