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How to Follow Blogs. Part III

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Good evening (or morning) my sweets how are you all doing? Busy trying to keep up with what’s happening in the blogosphere? That’s a full time job isn’t it. Well here I am with the promised third part in my series on how to follow blogs, the easy way. Today I am going to share some alternative ways on how to keep close tabs on all of your favorite blogs and sites without having to resort to skipping showers, not feeding the dog and becoming glued to your couch.

There are so many ways to read and follow blogs there is bound to be a way that suits you and your lifestyle.

So let’s get on with it.

6 Easy ways to follow blogs

First things first. Why did I start this series again, let’s recap.

Word is that Google Friend Connect is going to go away, first on WordPress blogs, probably later on Blogger blogs too. So if you rely on that followers gadget to keep you updated about new posts from your blogging friends you might need to start looking for another solution. Or do you?

 

UPDATE ON THE DEMISE OF GFC!!!

About Google Friend Connect going away. I have recently learned some more about it that has made me modestly optimistic that there might not be a problem at all, at least for most of you. Let me tell you quickly what I learned, and I need to start with a little history lesson.

Once upon a time there was Blogger that decided it would be neat to have a little gadget that would make it easy for people to follow blogs and add blogs to their sidebar blogroll. The followers gadget was born. And we in the women blogging community loved it and jumped on the followers train. We put a FOLLOWERS gadget on our blogs and started to FOLLOW blogs through it.

Some time later Google decided that it would be nice to have a function where people could become members of sites and enter into discussions, sign up for newsletters, share the news from those sites with friends. And Google Friend Connect was born.

Fast forward a couple of years (or months). The guys and girls at Google and their Blogger department got together over lunch, started yapping and decided that there were a lot of similarities between followers and members: they both loved a blog/site, they both signed up for updates, they both made a ‘connection’. So they decided why not join those two functions. And that’s what they did.

I think most of us didn’t even notice that we no longer had followers but instead now had friends, and that the name of the gadget changed. It seemed like a hardly noticeable, peaceful merger.

Or did it?

We did notice that the followers gadget became unreliable. Disappearing on us for days, not updating even when we knew people were signing in, no longer customizable etc. Well the problem seems to have been that the two different sets of code that were based on different source programs didn’t really work together very well.

So why is this important?

Well apparently Google is disconnecting the two again. Discontinuing Google Friend Connect but keeping the followers gadget!!! In fact I have read they are going to improve and strengthen the followers gadget. So what does that mean for us? Well if you are on Blogger it means that the followers gadget will definitely stay and probably function even better than before. And for us on WordPress? Well I am secretly optimistic. Since my original followers gadget was set up through Blogger and is in fact still attached to Blogger (I moved it with me without losing any of you) I am hoping it will continue to work here too.

We will have to wait until March 1 to be sure…..

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Ok that about Google Friend Connect and the Followers thing.

If you think now ‘”okay nothing is going to change for me and I am happy where I am” good for you. If you think “there is room for improvement” read on….

Because here is a short list of some alternatives ways to follow blogs

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1. Google Reader.

Google Reader
I shared the pros and cons of Google Reader in my last  post in this series. Go there for the video of all my tips and tricks on how to use Google Reader. I show you how to set up folders, share on social media platforms, translate, and of course how to set up the ‘one click to the next unread blog’ button.

2. Feedly

Feedly 2

In there own words “Feedly is a news reader for creative minds, a simple and elegant way to read and share the content of your favorite sites”.

Feedly

  • It has a beautiful minimalized look (and you can choose a theme of choice)
  • let’s you personalize and customize the way your read blogs
  • Uses keyboard shortcuts like Google Reader
  • Remembers your preferences and favorites and adjusts the presentation accordingly
  • It allows you to read blogs in a magazine style
  • It let’s you import your subscriptions from Google Reader
  • By adding a little feedly button to your toolbar you can ‘one click’ add blogs to your follow-list
  • Is fully integrated with Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus
  • Mobile friendly
  • Many ways to add extra features, preferences etc.

3. Bloglovin

Bloglovin'

In there own words: “Sign up, add all the blogs you want to follow, and then you’ll get notified every time one of your favorite blogs has written a new blog post. Both on the web and on your iPhone or Android phone”.

Bloglovin' 2

  • It seems to be designed by and for a women audience
  • It collects the latest updates of your favorite blogs and gives you short excerpt of the most recent post and one click access to the original source
  • It gives you lot of suggestions for blogs and sites to follow
  • You can choose to have email notifications when blogs are updated
  • Allows you to import from Google Reader etc
  • Mobile friendly

4. Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs

You might know NetworkedBlogs as a Facebook app. Well it is, but it can be used a blog reader too. Since Networked Blogs allows you to sign in with your Facebook account you don’t need a  separate login and you can easily import and connect to your FB favorites.

 

Networked Blogs 2

  • Offers a wide range of suggestions to follow
  • Adjusts those suggestions according to your likes and votes
  • Fully integrated with Facebook
  • Gives you a list of recent posts on your favorite blogs and a one click way to the original blog
  • Has a widget to put on your blog to show off your networked blogs followers and allow following

5. Linky Followers Tool

Linky Followers

Recently some of our DIY/ craft pal bloggers got together with the Linky Party coder Brent and developed Linky Followers. It is brand sparking new and new features are being added almost daily.

 

Linky Followers 2

  • Easy organization of your blogs in categories
  • You can see who follows your blog
  • Gives you the most recent post of your followed blogs and a one click to go to the blog
    [updated, thanks Tina], the most recent post is manually added by the blog authors, so it depends on them when you will get notified of the update.
  • Has a reading panel to read the post within Linky Followers
  • Has a widget to put on your blog to show of your followers and to allow following

6. Facebook, Twitter, Google+

Of course if you still haven’t found what you are looking for… Then signing up to the Facebook page or Twitter stream of your favorite bloggers is a way to stay up to date too. Most bloggers send an update or message to their Facebook wall or page, their Twitter stream or their Google+ page when they write a new blog. Of course in the mad stream of those social media sites you might miss the notice, but it is still there. Set up a list of your favorites and you won’t miss the link to the update. Of course these sites offer the additional benefit of connecting and communicating and getting to know your favorite bloggers in a whole new way.

So I guess I have given you enough options on how to stay updated on all of your favorite blogs. And if you don’t want to miss a thing from me, simply subscribe and read in your reader of choice, subscribe by email,  or follow through Blogger (guaranteed until March 1 Glimlach ), Like me on Facebook, Tweet me on Twitter, Follow me on Pinterest.

For part 1 of this series: What is a feed reader and why do I need one?

Part 2 of this series: Tips and Tricks on how to use Google Reader

So do you think I covered it all? What’s your favorite way to read blogs? Have I changed how you think about readers? My favorite way is still Google Reader because I know it like the back of my hand, and when I want a little more beauty I turn to Feedly as the runner up.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips, Marianne! My favorite is Google Reader. So easy and convenient.

  2. How interesting to hear about that with GFC! I do hope it works out better from March, I’m really in a muddle with all this!

    Thanks for these handy tips!

  3. Well it’s good to know that our little follower gadget is not going away. I just love seeing all those sweet little faces! I really do like the Google reader as well and have recently signed up on the linky follower thingy but alas…it only has 6 little followers and that makes me sad :-(

    I’m so glad that you are putting the word out though and educating all of us!

    • Marianne@Songbird says:

      Yes good news on the follower gadget. I really hope I get to keep it on my blog too. We’ll see who can ever predict what Google is going to do next.

  4. Marianne your Google video was so helpful to me, I’ve been using it for a year now and you gave me some tips I didn’t know about. By the way I love your accent :) Thanks again!
    Susan

  5. WOW! Thank you so much for all this info – I knew about the followers/friends thing or thought I knew about it. Thanks for providing the whole picture. And readers??!! Who would’ve guessed there were so many! So now I am going to go out and check them out fully but on first opinions based on what you provided Feedly looks like it might be my favorite! Thanks again!!!

    “Her” and Romeo (who thinks ‘feeder’ is my first name)

    • Marianne@Songbird says:

      I love feedly too! It does most of what GR does but it is so much prettier.
      I am glad you found this post helpful, these posts are always a pain to write but they make me happy when I get comments like yours.

  6. Great overlook Marianne – personally I love ‘bloglovin’. it´s so easy to follow your favorites that way. I have installed the new Linky Follower too though. Only you have to make sure you update your new blog post in there to have your followers to see you have a new post. I would love it to show automatically, but that might come.
    Have a great day.
    Tina

    • Marianne@Songbird says:

      Didn’t realize that about the Linky Follower. Ah well it is still in development who knows where it will go. Did you add my blog to Bloglovin? Or only blogs who have the blogloving follow widget on their site (I don’t yet).

  7. Great information, Marianne. I like Google Reader and think I’ll be sticking with that. It’s easy and works for me.

  8. Bedankt voor het goede nieuws! Ik denk dat ik het bij Google Reader hou, lekker makkelijk. Ik geloof trouwens dat jij me indertijd GR aan de hand gedaan hebt. Voorheen bezocht ik nog alle sites persoonlijk, ik moet er niet aan denken.
    groetjes,
    Marianne.

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