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How to subscribe to blogs (Or, why you shouldn’t panic about Google Reader’s demise)

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

There was a season when I was too busy blogging to read blogs, but then that started feeling weird and wrong, so I started reading them again. (I learned my trick: I need to write first, producing before I consume.) So I started reading blogs again, after I’ve written my day’s personal quota, and reading them reminds me continually why I love this blogging thing in the first place. I have a carefully-curated lineup of favorites, and add more as I find them unmissable.

By far, the easiest way to keep up with blogs is to subscribe to them—it’s free, you don’t have to constantly check to see if there’s something new, and if you want to click over and read on the actual site, you can—the link comes to you, in whatever inbox you use to receive the blog’s feed. (“Feed” is fancy web talk for frequently updated content, if you were ever too afraid to ask.)

And like many of you, I used Google Reader for years, and was shocked to hear its ultimate demise by July 2013. So I started exploring, found my new favorite way to subscribe, and now I can’t imagine ever going back to Reader, even if it were sticking around.

So consider this your primer for how to subscribe to blogs—whether you’ve never subscribed to a blog before, or whether you subscribe to hundreds and are looking for a new place to do it.

There are essentially two ways to subscribe to a blog—via a feed reader (more on this in just a sec), and via email. If you don’t want to manage a second inbox, subscribing via email is the way to go. That way, your favorite blogs come to you in your email inbox, which you check regularly, anyway.

(For this blog, you can enter your email address in the left-hand sidebar, or below, at the end of each post.)

Depending on your email client, you can also create filters and tags to send all your subscriptions to a file and bypass your inbox, thereby creating a lineup of feeds in one place, much like your own personal feed reader. It’s a great option.

The other option is to use a secondary feed-reading client, such as Google Reader—except that Reader is going the way of the dinosaurs. So if you’d like to know where you migrate your blog feeds, might I suggest what I now use?

Feedly

I feel like i need to start with this disclaimer: I’m in no way associated with Feedly. I’m just a user who loves their service.

When you head to Feedly, you’ll first see this screen:

feedly login screen

If you already use Google Reader, click on “Connect to Google Reader.” Voila—your feeds should have seamlessly migrated. Hooray!

If you’re just now subscribing to feeds, create an account. Then, start subscribing. On the right side, you’ll see a magnifying glass icon. Click on that, then add a blog:

feedly subscribe screen

Then click on the plus sign next to the blog’s feed, and it’ll ask you what to name the feed and where to put it (more on folders in a sec).

There you go—you just subscribed to a blog!

Now, when you head to Feedly, you’ll see a personalized screen, like this:

feedly today screen

And if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see this:

feedly read today

It’s all your feeds, shown by most current. BUT—you can organize your feeds by topic, helping you read according to your mood and what you’re after:

feedly paleo folder

You can read all your blog subscriptions at one time by clicking on your folder’s name, such as my “Paleo” folder above.

Or, you can toggle each folder, found in the left sidebar, and you’ll see all your subscriptions listed individually. Then you can read just one blog at a time:

feedly one blog

I love Feedly’s clean, simple interface. I don’t miss Google Reader one bit.

The mobile app

Feedly’s also got a great app, making it easy to read blogs while I’m waiting in the carpool line.

feedly mobile screenshots

feedly mobile screenshots

feedly mobile screenshots

You can read your blog subscriptions in order of publication, or also by your folders.

There are other feed readers, too. Laura Tremaine recently wrote about her switch to BlogLovin’, though her reasons for using that service are my reasons for using Feedly (I didn’t experience the “Ikea-ness” of Feedly that she describes). There are others out there, too.

So, your takeaway?

1. If you like keeping up with blogs, subscribe to them—it’s an easy way to keep up with latest posts, and it’s free.

2. Subscribe to blogs via email if you don’t want a separate inbox. That way, they’ll come to you wherever you check your email.

3. Subscribe to blogs via reader if you’d like a clean interface you can organize according to your needs. I use Feedly, others use BlogLovin’, and there are more out there.

4. If you haven’t yet subscribed to Simple Mom, why not give it a whirl? No pressure, of course, but we publish new posts Monday-Saturday, and we do our best to keep them short and useful. Head here to subscribe via email (or just use the spot at the bottom of this post), and here via reader. And it’s always free.

How to use Feedly (and switch from Google Reader).

Your turn—how do you read your favorite blogs?

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. Tsh, I just switched over to Feedly too. I love it and don’t even miss google reader any more. I’m gonna have to go back and get the app too. Nice to know : ) I LOVE Simple Mom, it’s been in my feed reader forever, and will continue to be…Kirsten.

  2. avatar
    liza lee grace says:

    I read blogs via twitter. If its linked on twitter and seems interesting, I’ll read it. (Which is how I found this post) I used google reader years ago, but I hate seeing unread counts so I’d end up marking all as read and not reading anything, or by spending hours on end to go through them all. Which is why I don’t go the email route, either. Twitter is my happy medium.

  3. avatar
    Kaitlyn says:

    I use Bloglovin and it’s the best!

  4. just updated with feedly. thank you for this tutorial. I like it but don’t understand some of the sidebar stuff. on the right I have about 10 blogs show up.. not sure why they are there or how to have them all listed.. still learning.

    • I’ve just switched to Feedly too. The blogs showing up on the right are ones with unread posts. To see your whole list of blogs, you can click on Index in the LHS menu column. Hope that helps.

  5. I switched to the Old Reader and am happy with it. I subscribe to probably around 75 feeds, including several medical/professional journals like Pediatrics that post literally hundreds of posts at a time — there is no way I would want to log into my email and have to sort through that, which is why I will never sign up for RSS via email nor would I recommend it to anyone who is a serious blog follower. RSS readers are the only way to go.

  6. I have long wished i could organize my reading list (some of the couponing blogs are post-crazy snd annoying, but still useful when i sit down to look for deals). Thanks for sharing this!

    I downloaded feedly on my iPad but cannot figure out how to add categories! Ahh! Somebody help me please!

  7. I’ve used Google Reader forever and I’ve been wondering what I’m going to do now that it’s ending! Personally, I have my favorite blogs on the sidebar of my very own blog (your’s is there!) and that way, I can easily see if there’s a new post. I’m going to check out Feedly though…it sounds interesting.

  8. Very on topic, Tsh. I just switched to Feedly yesterday after being panicked by Google Reader’s demise. Before that I used Bloglines, which also went the way of the dinosaurs. So far I’m finding Feedly very easy to use, and much nicer to look at than Google Reader. Let’s hope that they keep going a while longer so I don’t have to switch again.
    I much prefer having my blogs in a Reader rather than on email, otherwise I get distracted when I’m working. This way I can just go to Feedly when I’m having a break and see what’s new.

  9. I am using blog.com and blogger. I advice blog.com, and now you can get a cool subdomain, another side, it is using wordpress, easy to edit and manage.

  10. I switched to Feedly too, but I am not sure about it. I think I need to set it up more to my liking. I seem to use Facebook the most to follow blogs, I have created various interest lists according to topic, food blogs, homeschooling blogs, bargain blogs etc. and love being able to scroll down and make comments on status updates or click through and read the articles and then share them to my personal or blog facebook page. As long as you don’t have more than 100? ( I think that is the magic number) in 1 interest list you should see all the blogs you place in your list.

  11. avatar
    Christine B. says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been trying to figure out something to replace google reader. Ended up subscribing via email to a bunch of the blogs and it’s clogging up my inbox, so I’ll definitely be using Feedly to switch my subscriptions over.

  12. I am counting down the months/days that google reader is no more. I honestly dislike it. Bloglovin or email is my favorite way to read blogs.

  13. Thanks so much for the tips!

    On a different note, I would love if you could share your ‘carefully-curated lineup of favorites.’ I’ve been looking for a few good mothering/simple living/homemaking blogs to follow but find a lot of them have a negative or snarky tone. I don’t want snark in the morning — I want to read something positive and uplifting! I love Money Saving Mom and recently found your blog but would like to add a couple more to my daily read list.

    If you have suggestions, I am all ears!

  14. I tried Feedly, but it wouldn’t work on my old computer so I went with Bloglovin. I have since gotten a new computer, but think I’ll stick with Bloglovin anyway.

  15. avatar
    rachael says:

    This is great, but I’m still confused. I click on your feedly link and it doesn’t take me to the page you show, it takes me to a page where I can then click on getting it for Chrome. So I click that and then it takes me to the chrome app store. I don’t know where I’m supposed to go from there. I am not computer saavy at all and I don’t have a smart phone to get it to my phone. Reader was easy for me and I wish it wasn’t going away. Can anyone help me?

    • Do you by chance use Internet Explorer? I’m still stuck in the stone age & use Internet Explorer and feedly doesn’t work with that – needs to be Chrome or Firefox. I started using bloglovin’ so I could stay with IE, but I really don’t like it and think I’m going to have to change browsers..

  16. I go back and forth between which I’ll find more useful. Right now I’m in the bloglovin camp, but can easily see why feedly might be as equally awesome too. I guess it really doesn’t matter too much, as long as I keep all of my favorites in one easy to read spot!

  17. I have converted to Feedly and love the interface, but I took a little extra time and manually transferred all my subscriptions. Feedly asks for access to your google account, and I am too reliant on that account to allow that kind of broad access. I figured it was worth noting as many others might feel the same.

    • You can also download a file to your computer from Google Reader and transfer that into Feedly. No linking of accounts needed! I guess it’s too late for you but thought I’d share for anyone else.

  18. I LOVE Feedly! But I am sort of confused about what will happen once Google Reader closes since I have linked the two and have only added a few straight through Feedly. (Their blog says they’ll handle it, but I’m still NERVOUS.)

    Also, dang! You subscribe to a LOT of blogs. I would not be able to handle that without curling up into a fetal position. Ha.

  19. Thanks for the Feedly tutorial! I get most of my blog subscriptions via email, but like some others am finding it clogs up my inbox. I like the clean interface of Feedly & the mobile app-which seems to be the way I’m reading it most of the time anyway. I’m definitely going to check it out!

  20. Yes Ashley – that’s what I’m trying to figure out! I’m thinking I shouldn’t connect with Google reader but instead manually load all my blog subscriptions into the new reader, right? Because when Google goes, I would think the link would be gone too. Tsh let us know if you have seen anything about how this will work in your research.

  21. I read all of my RSS subscriptions on mobile– iPhone or iPad. I switched to Feedly for a little while after Google’s announcement, but I just didn’t like it as much as the service I had been using. I am now using NewsBlur and really like it.

  22. avatar
    Courtney M says:

    I would love to switch to Feedly, but I can only access Internet Explorer at work and Feedly is not compatible with that. Based on what I’ve heard, it would open up a whole world of subscribers if they fixed that. For now I use Bloglovin, which I am not a huge fan of.

  23. I love Feedly. And i am already subscribed to Simple Mom with Feedly. Here is my review: http://practicalmama.com/2013/04/google-reader-alternative-for-following-blog-feeds-feedly/

  24. This is timely for me. I loved my Google Reader, and I’d been dragging my feet about making a switch. This week I’m committed to test-driving feedly and bloglovin on my phone to figure out which one I want to go with. Although I have to say, your full (computer, not iphone) screen shots of Feedly are lovely–far better than my tiny version.

    Also, it had NEVER occurred to me to set up a filter for email subscriptions in gmail. I generally don’t subscribe to blogs by email because I don’t want a cluttered inbox, but that tip might just be a game changer. :)

  25. Thanks for the shout out! I admit that I didn’t customize Feedly nearly as much as you have, and I wonder if I would like it better if I did? I organize my feeds into folders that make sense to me (and when they imported they stayed in their folders – yay!), so when used that way it just didn’t feel all that different from Google Reader to me (except it was prettier).

    So even though I’m sticking with Blog Lovin’ for now, I’m keeping my Feedly account and may fiddle with it later. Thanks for showing me how Feedly could be better.

  26. avatar
    Whitney says:

    Awesome post! I, too, just switched to feedly and am really loving it, especially the mobile app. It really does make google reader look like a boring email. I love the color!

    One thing that took me a while to figure it is to toggle the views for each of my categories. If I click “full post” (it looks like a rectangle), then I can see the whole thing, without seeing a list. I found that very annoying at first. But now, I can read what I like and click through what I want to pay attention to.

  27. So helpful. I just set up an Old Reader account but really don’t like the design – the font is just plain ugly. Maybe there’s a way to change that, but I ran a quick set-up of Feedly – which was about 100 times easier than setting up OR!! – and I like it much better. I still miss Bloglines and can’t believe that Google Reader is being discontinued!

  28. avatar
    Rachael says:

    Your link to Feedly did not take me to the page you described. It was a green page but it just had “Organize and read the content of your favorite sites” with no button underneath. I couldn’t find a link that would let me actually link to Google. Any suggestions?

  29. So…. Feedly is for Firefox? Or I just can’t find a place to download it to IE?

  30. I use Bloglovin’ but I hadn’t heard of Feedly when I signed up. Something to checkout…

  31. I use Feedly and mine looks just like Laura’s looked, but I like it that way! One of the things I adore about Feedly is the many different ways you can look at the blogs you love to read.

  32. Thank you so much for this post! I am not the greatest about keeping up with technology. Your post inspired me to sign up for feedly. I am liking it so far. I am now unsubscribing from my email newsletter and subscribing to them with feedly. I will like my less cluttered inbox much better :)

  33. I’m an old-fashioned girl–I get the blogs I love via email subscription. I set up a separate email account for blogging, so it’s a “filing system” for my reading matter and it doesn’t get mixed in with my personal email. (I have several email accounts–they are all for different purposes–personal email, purchases, blogging, various committees I’m chairing or affiliated with, etc.) Makes life much simpler for me to separate the emails that come to me. And that way, I can find what I need quickly.

  34. I’m an old-fashioned girl–I get the blogs I love via email subscription. I set up a separate email account for blogging, so it’s a “filing system” for my reading matter and it doesn’t get mixed in with my personal email. (I have several email accounts–they are all for different purposes–personal email, purchases, blogging, various committees I’m chairing or affiliated with, etc.) Makes life much simpler for me to separate the emails that come to me. And that way, I can find what I need quickly.

    P.S. One odd thing I’ve noticed about your blog is that it doesn’t show you any evidence that your comment went through. By trial and error, I finally realized that I can’t write the “@” sign in my name, as I can at most other blogs. I wish there had been some sort of little notice about that. Just thought you’d like to know–I always find it helpful when readers tell me about tech issues at my own blog.

  35. My only problem with Feedly is that when I am on a blog and I click the RSS icon, I can’t subscribe directly from the blog. I have to copy the url and paste it into Feedly. Is this the only way to do it or am I missing something? I miss being able to just click the rss icon, click google reader and move on.

  36. I tried Net Vibes first, it was just ok for me. Then I went to Bloglovin and liked it so much better. Then I heard about Feedly and, while I like the ease of subscribing with Bloglovin much better, the Feedly interface wins hands down (especially on mobile devices!).

  37. Thanks! I’ve been avoiding the whole demise of Google Reader, and this made my switch pain free.

  38. Thank You so much for this post!! I was a google reader and was so bummed when it suddenly went missing. I love that I can transfer my google reads over to Feedly. Thanks!!

  39. Woops, sorry about double posting earlier. I guess there’s just a delay from when I post ’til when it appears, perhaps for moderating. Feel free to delete the double post!

  40. Thank you so much for this! I’ve been getting my subscriptions via email where I could get them but they’ve clogged up my inbox so much that they get lost in the shuffle sometimes. I haven’t gone to feed reader because I couldn’t find one I enjoyed using. Just set up Feedly after reading this post and it’s already such a relief. No combing through or filtering out my inbox, now I can just go to Feedly on my iPad or in Firefox and read to my hearts content.

    You are a life saver!

  41. I am just setting up Feedly–thank you- and haven’t used a blog reader before. If you want to see comments or comment on a blog, do you need to follow the link to the actual blog?

  42. I too was a bit surprised and annoyed when I first found out reader was going to disappear. But now I subscribe by email to my fav sites. I just started feedly but am still getting used to the in’s and out’s of it. Thanks for all the great info!
    Cheers!

  43. I too was a bit surprised and annoyed when I first found out reader was going to disappear. But now I subscribe by email to my fav sites. I just started feedly but am still getting used to the in’s and out’s of it. Thanks for all the great info!
    Cheers!

  44. I too was a Google Reader fan that nearly fainted when I read that they were doing away with it. I went with Bloglovin’ & LOVE the ‘older/newer/oldest’ buttons at the top!! I can visit each one giving them hits for those that rely on them & bounce from one to the other very easily.

  45. I was too afraid to ask! Thanks!

  46. The feedly app is what has finally got me ritualistically blog obsessed and organized. I actually haven’t even been on their sure yet but am fully in love with the app.

  47. I’m definitely in the minority on this, I’m sure, but I’ve just tried out Feedly and – hand on heart – I really don’t like it. At all.

    I can’t even share and send, via e-mails (the way Reader used to allow you to easily do), blog posts that’ve come in that I want to share with others. I don’t want to go the Google* route to do it, either. That’s just more work and more time wasted. All I want to do is send a blog post to anyone I want to share it with, via e-mail, just like Reader used to have as an option.

    How do I un-do Feedly, by the way? I don’t even want to see the green icon at the top right of my monitor. I’m disappointed with Feedly and want to opt out of it completely.

    I’d like to try BlogLovin’, but as I’m not on Facebook (call me a luddite if you must), I’ve heard/read that to use BlogLovin’ you have to have a FB account. Is that true? If that’s the case, then I guess I can’t use BlogLovin’ either.

    I really, really, really am disgusted that Reader is being discontinued. It was such a user-friendly option to all blog lovin’ folks like myself. Feedly? No thanks.

  48. Thanks for the tips Tsh. I am also using email, but get too much email so end up not reading it all. I will give Feedly a try. Its a very strange decision from Google to get rid of Reader, what does it say about their support of blogging?

  49. Tsh, I linked to this post in my drama about Reader going away. I just activated feedly but can’t get that left and right sidebar like you have. Tips? I like seeing a list of blogs I follow so I can look for them easily.

  50. avatar
    Renee Mesme says:

    I tried http://eldonreader.com and I loved it right away. I heard about Feedly a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try it soon

  51. I love Feedly! Better than Google Reader ever was. :)

  52. I just tried to set-up Feedly but the link does not go to that page. So I am stuck with an account that didn’t link to my google reader. Still trying to figure this out but I wanted to let you know that they changed the content on that link.

  53. I was a die hard Google Reader user for years and I was one of those who was screaming NOOOO when the news came out that it would be gone. That said, I love Feedly…both the desktop and the mobile app are great! And I just added your feed to my Feedly ;)

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