Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Girls Don't Cry, They RSS!

Inspired by Book Buzzers, Book Girls Don't Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don't miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:

Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Something Better!

You heard me! Google Reader leaving is not exactly the end of the world, nor is it even bad at all. There are tons of other readers out there, some free, others that require a fee but give out a little something extra for it.

Today I will feature two of my favorite alternatives which also seems to be the ones most liked by the majority so you might learn some tips and tricks if you're new to these, or it may help you choose!

Bloglovin' is close to being the same experience as Google Reader but with some obvious differences, as well as a few pros and cons, but it remains a very solid alternative.

Just a note since I've seen this being said a few times; if a blogger is NOT signed up on Bloglovin, you can still follow their blog on it! (When I signed up I already had over 80 followers!) So don't worry that you will miss out on any of your blogs if they're not on Bloglovin! Bloglovin is a feed reader, so if a site has a feed, you can follow it! The account is to register you a user, then you can claim your blog, but whether you're signed up or not, your blog can be read through it!

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The sidebar only shows blogs with unread posts, so don't get all pissy if you don't see your blog! 
(I know you checked! :P ) 

Bloglovin Pros:
  • Notifications. You can choose to be notified via email every time someone follows your blog, as well as every time a post goes up (from all blogs or just our favorites). This is nice if you have a small list of favorites that you like to read every day.
  • You can very easily follow/unfollow blogs either through bloglovin icons often found on sidebars now, or directly in Bloglovin by using the search and looking up blogs by name. (I used to have the hardest time managing my GFC/GReader subscription list.)
  • Liking! Bloglovin gives you the ability to Like any post. These go into your "Liked Posts" section making them easy to get back to. You're perusing and you're super interested in a post but your dog just puked on the floor? Like it, and get back to it later without sifting through an endless stream! Want to save a post you really enjoyed to reference or re-read at a later date? Like it!
  • When you're visiting a blog through Bloglovin, it give you the ability to click on the next post, or to select your next blog right from the top toolbar when you're reading a post (it only lists the blogs with unread posts!)
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    Bloglovin' Cons:
    • For those who liked to read all at one place without clicking (lazy making and all), Bloglovin only gives you a short snippet of the post and you do have to click on it to read the whole thing. Clicking opens the blog through the Bloglovin frame so you do have some pros to this as mentioned above, but if you just want to be a silent lurker, though, it's more effort to read more posts (yes, clicking is effort!). 
    • No search within posts. This is something I used when I was looking for specific posts/topics in GReader. Bloglovin doesn't have this search function, yet, you can only search for blogs.
    • GFC has no more meaning! Because Google Reader could be synched with your blogger, any blog you followed with GFC would automatically go in your Reader. With Bloglovin, however, that is not the case. When you first create you bloglovin account it will ask if you want to import your Google Reader which imports all your current GFC follows, but after this, and especially once GReader is gone, any new GFC follows will not appear in your Bloglovin--thus make sure to ALSO follow blogs on Bloglovin (or other RSS reader).
    • The unfortunate follow button art. I mean, what is this? I don't know about you, but I don't want no boobies on my blog! Fortunately, you have other (normal) options! You can also blend 2 together like I did if you want a "Follow this blog" button AND to show your following #.
    Eeeh kind of weird:

    Less weird:
    Follow on Bloglovin
    Follow on Bloglovin

    If you want more of the same feel as Google Reader, Feedly is the way to go! It's free, it's user friendly, and easy to use (at least once you spend an hour or so to set it up how you like it). I even like it better than Google Reader, actually. Any blog you follow via RSS, or GFC will get added to your Feedly (though I am not sure if GFC will still be linked once GReader goes away).

    (click to enlarge)

    Feedly Pros
    • Feedly Mini! I freaking love this little thingy! It makes it so easy to follow blogs AND share a post. No more searching for an RSS icon or share buttons. Once you have the Feedly plugin installed on your browser, any site that has a feed will have a small icon on the bottom corner (pic 1), when you click on it (pic 2) you can 1) follow the blog via Feedly, 2) save the article/page you're on for later, and 3) share the post (Facebook, Twitter, G+, and Email). It's ingenious! >.<
    • Options! Options! You can do a LOT with Feedly, and it still remains easy to use! This includes connecting Twitter and Facebook to it to see what posts people are sharing etc. Sharing/saving posts. You can customize a lot with it, as well, which is where I think it wins over Bloglovin by quite a bit. You can change colors, theme, and the way you see the post layout. When I first logged it it looked like a magazine-style of which I was not a fan, but don't worry you can change this layout very easily under the tool icon you can choose six different viewing options. Examples (click on image to enlarge):

    • Because of the last pro mentioned, you can read whole posts through Feedly! This is also a big win over Bloglovin. Like Google Reader, you can scroll through posts and read without having to visit the direct post/blog (this is great for slower comps and lazy people, work comps with internet tracking or blocking of sites, or blogs that are especially slow to load that you would otherwise not bother to read so often). Sure it doesn't give stats to the blog but are we here for stats, or are we blogging to have our stuff read?
    • Search! You can search for any keyword, blog, or even hashtag! Search is very important! *glares at Bloglovin*

    Feedly cons
    •  It takes some getting used to because the interface and options are much less simplistic than Bloglovin, it's a great idea to read these short and informative tutorials here and here on how to get the best from it. But honestly it took me less than an hour and I was all set.
    •  I don't really see any other con at this time, to be honest. This is a very good RSS Reader that will suit all the same needs you had with Google Reader and more!

    *Note that if you want a counter for Feedly/RSS, Feedburner has a counter you can use that displays your RSS subscription # (example on my blog footer).

    There are tons of other alternatives, too. I didn't want to get into each one. I only tried one other: The Old Reader, but it was way too simplistic for me you couldn't even sort them in folders (favorites etc.). Use Google to find and test alternatives until you find one that you prefer. I urge you to do this BEFORE JULY 1ST though because after that, no more easy import to get all your Google Reader subscriptions changed to another reader!

    And while you're at it! Follow me via either of these readers! :D

    Follow on Bloglovin


    What reader have you adopted?
    Anything to add on these pro/con lists?

    Also, don't forget to leave suggestions for future topics you'd like to see! :)

    You know you love me!
    Xoxo, Book Girl!