Let’s talk about blogging and not just blogging but following blogs. It’s no secret that as bloggers we want to connect with and digitally socialize with other bloggers in the bloggo-sphere. Writing down a list of URLs and checking them all manually every day ain’t the way to do it! And, if that is you using your trusty pen and pad to keep up with other blogs then this is definitely the article for you. Or, maybe you only use Feedly or you only use the WordPress reader. Here, I will explain the pros and cons of both and let you decide. This post was partly inspired by Mr. Bookstooge’s When do you stop following? post.
What is Feedly?
Feedly (stylized as feedly) is a news aggregator application for various web browsers and mobile devices running iOS and Android. It is also available as a cloud-based service. It compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources for the user to customize and share with others. Feedly was first released by DevHD in 2008.
First a bit of background from a technical standpoint: Feedly relies on the use of RSS feeds ( basically an XML export of postings on a site ) to syndicate information from all the sites you want to get information from, all in one place. Eons ago, during the last technological movement of a previous Earth, I used a desktop client for this purpose. I don’t remember the name of it. Then, Google released Google Reader and that was great – they since have discontinued the product. I could pull up my Google Reader anywhere there was a computer that had internet ( We didn’t have cell phones with well internet at the time ) and get my ‘feed’ on. After the death of Google Reader, Feedly.com was unleashed. Also, please note that there are alternatives to Feedly.com such as Inoreader.com, but I am unfamiliar.
Pros of Feedly:
- It’s free with the option to pay for extra features
You can follow other sites with an RSS besides WordPress sites, i.e. News Sites, Blogger.com sites, reddit.com, etc. – literally any site that exports an RSS feed.EDIT: It has come to my attention that this is inaccurate and you may add any RSS feed to your WordPress Reader.
- Feedly gives you suggestions on who else to follow based on what you are adding as a following.
- You can categorize your sources into different ‘feeds’.
- You can follow comment feeds, but have to open the website to reply or like a comment.
- This pro is outside of regards to blogging, but using Feedly, if I am paying attention, I can read news before it is featured on radio or TV.
- You may customize the way you read feeds, magazine view, one line view, etc.
Cons of Feedly:
- No email alerts without paying money which means you have to pull the app up on your phone or the website to get the feeds
- Other features are also restricted to paid only
What is WordPress Reader?
The WordPress.com Reader brings together all WordPress.com sites – those hosted at WordPress.com and those connected through Jetpack – in one central location.From The Jetpack Reader article.
Similar to how Feedly.com parses the information for you, WordPress reader also relies on RSS feeds to get information and display it in a readable format.
The WordPress blog must be making use of the Jetpack plugin ( EDIT: It has come to my attention that this is inaccurate and you may add any RSS feed to your WordPress Reader ), essentially tying your blog back to the central WordPress cloud hive mind.
Pros of WordPress Reader:
- You can customize delivery of information to your inbox in instant, or other preferable digest, like weekly or monthly.
- You may discover new blogging sources through the discover feature ( BUT – “Only posts from sites with a paid Jetpack plan will appear in the Posts search results in the Reader.” )
- You can follow any WordPress tags ( BUT – “Your posts will only appear on Tag pages if you have a paid Jetpack plan.” )
- You can keep track of your WordPress discussions, comment, like and reply to comments in one place.
Cons of WordPress Reader:
You cannot follow anything that isn’t a WordPress site with JetPack enabled.EDIT: It has come to my attention that this is inaccurate and you may add any RSS feed to your WordPress Reader.
- Some features as described in the Pro section are paid only, however these may be worth it to you.
- You cannot categorize feed sources and you see all or nothing.
- You cannot customize your viewing experience of your subscribtions, such as magazine or title only view like you can with feedly.
Based on your preference there is no right or wrong answer, it is what works best for you.
We learned that you may use Feedly.com to follow sites that aren’t WordPress. Both WordPress reader and Feedly allowing adding of any RSS feed. We learned that we can categorize and customize the way we view feeds with Feedly, but it doesn’t allow inline commenting and liking. I use both WordPress Reader and Feedly.com to get information. My method of operation is mass addition to my Feedly first, then if I read repeated quality content from your blog, I follow you in my WordPress.com and have an instant message to my email inbox as soon as you post content, so I don’t miss anything.
BONUS PRO TIP: Check out an article at WPLauncher to find out how to create feeds for categories and tags. This would be useful if you only want to add a category or tag to feedly.com for one site OR you as a blogger want to present that tag or category feed on your website as a link.
Guys, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley