Here We Go: Following Blogs
Here We Go is back (after a bit of a hiatus while I finished up my day job) and I’m excited to be talking about blog following today! There are so many ways in which you can keep tabs on your favorite blogs and, in turn, allow others to follow yours! I don’t claim to know everything about some of these methods but I’m willing to share my thoughts and opinions!
Before I begin, I would like to say that I think everyone should have an RSS feed set up for their own blog. This is a link that you can use to connect to your RSS button on your blog or even use when signing up for sites like HelloCotton. You can create an RSS feed via Feedburner and the nice thing is that if you someday were to move your blog…your RSS feed will transfer and stay the same! Now onto a few methods:
I predominately use Google Reader to keep track of the blogs that I love. I’ve kept the total number of subscriptions to 63 and it’s very manageable. As you can see, I have about 8 categories and try to really only subscribe to blogs that I wouldn’t want to miss.
Pros: Easy way to organize, keeps tabs on all my favorites (starred), simple, attached to my Google account, easy way to search
Cons: Strips the blogs of their style, still sometimes feels clunky, no easy way to share posts
Bloglovin’ has been around for awhile. I wrote a post awhile back about Google Reader vs Bloglovin’ and decided to stick with Google Reader. After signing up for an account, it allows you to follow other blogs (while claiming your own and adding it to their directory). Here are my pros and cons:
Pros: Simple design
Cons: While it allows you to “remove frame,” (screenshot below) which will allow people to click directly to your blog, it sure did take awhile for this setting to click over after I changed it. I don’t like how delayed Bloglovin’ is when updating the “unread” + “read” posts. Overall, I find this interface to be a bit confusing and I don’t enjoy reading blogs when I’m signed in. I also don’t think that my landing page forms a connection with new readers (image above).
I’m new to Hellocotton (I joined last weekend) and so far, I’m pretty impressed! In order to join, you must sign up and essentially create a profile. You can import your own blog information to join the directory and then choose blogs (based on categories) to follow. It reminds me of Bloglovin’ but (in my opinion) it’s better.
Pros: I like that your blog’s landing page is more engaging and allows followers to “like,” “comment,” and “share!” Like Bloglovin’, you can choose to remove their frame so that when someone clicks to read more…the traffic comes directly to your blog (image below). Personally, I find it easier to find popular blogs through Hellocotton and can see myself using it to follow DIY, fitness and fashion blogs that I don’t necessarily want to add to my small curated list on Google Reader.
Cons: It’s targeted (it’s blatantly stated) towards women. I don’t only read blogs by women and I like to branch out of the lifestyle/fashion clique often. If you’re every interested in some other cons, check out this great post by Dolly Rouge.
I love using my private Twitter list to keep track of blogs that I don’t necessarily subscribe to via Google Reader. I chose not to make it public because I didn’t want the pressure of keeping it updated + accurate. I like that I can add bloggers or remove them without that hanging over my head.
Pros: I always see when a blog post gets tweeted out, I can interact in real time with these bloggers, and it keeps it personal! Twitter crosses that line from following a static blogger to forming real relationships.
Cons: Sometimes you’ll miss posts if you’re away from Twitter for awhile. There’s only so much you can read days later. Also, sometimes when I’m sifting through this list, it’s harder to comment on posts since I’m on my phone.
Some other options that I didn’t go into detail about: subscribe via email and Google Friend Connect.
- Subscribe via email: Here’s a great article about how to set it up for your blog. I have a link in my sidebar for those that want posts sent directly to their inbox!
- Google Friend Connect: This service has been expired since March 2012 for all non-Blogger blogs so I’m not really going to go into any details. If you’re interested in an alternative, check out this post by Google.
I hope this post helps clear up any differences about each service. Like I mentioned above, I don’t know all so please comment below with any other “pros” and “cons” or other services that I didn’t mention! How do you subscribe to blogs? What do you wish you saw more? What do you wish you saw less?
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I really like this – I just restarted my blog and have had to start rethinking which of these sites I try and ‘target’.
My only additional ‘con’ with HelloCotton was the way they signed up a number of big-time bloggers who hadn’t actually signed up. I thought it was a rather bad PR move, but I do think they learnt from it, so I should move past my prejudice!
Great tips! I’ve been using Bloglovin’, but I’ve been annoyed with the same cons as you. Checking out HelloCotton right now!
I’m using bloglovin, and I have liked it better than reader. But I am intrigued by hellocotton. I am going to check it out.
Great post idea! I use a pretty archaic method of following blogs (…bookmarking in my browser!) and I could use a little updating. Google Reader seems like a great option! And I agree with your opinion on Bloglovin’ – it’s pretty clunky to use.
p.s. sorryyyyy to ruin your Twitter screenshot with my dumb tweet! haha.
I didn’t used to like google reader. Now, I can’t imagine keeping track of all the blogs I like to follow, without it, There are some blogs I know I need to keep an eye out for on twitter (for new posts). Others, I just make a point to check google reader throughout the day.
I agree w/ you about Twitter. Twitter is a tool that makes the conversation that was started on the blog, even better, because you can carry on in (mostly) real time.
Also, I have a question for you: which do you like better–FB or Twitter? My blog is much newer on FB & I’ve become a huge fan of Twitter because it has expanded my world more than anything else. I feel like FB is more for just my blog readers, whereas Twitter is melting pot of anyone, everyone. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks for this post. I need to jump into the Google Reader universe.
I use Google Reader, and I like it. If I want to comment or share something, I just click over to the actual post.
I still have GFC and I follow blogs that way, but I really don’t like it. I just haven’t had the courage to remove it from my blog yet :)
It’s all about Google Reader for me, although I guess it does make blogs look a bit bland. If I want to read a blog post more thoroughly I usually click through to the site though, so I get a bit of everything! Definitely need to get involved in Twitter lists though, my twitter feed is a bit of a free for all right now! xx
I really like Feedly (www.feedly.com) for staying up to date with blogs. Simple design, easy to organize categories of blogs, and just a hair prettier than Google Reader. :)
Thanks so much for linking to our site. Great post! I’m all about Google Reader :)
Hi! This post is amazing. I already use BlogLovin (a lot) and I was thinking of joining HelloCotton. I am not pretty sure I understand what is an RSS feed but I will do some research. I just opened my blog the first of august so I need to learn a lot from bloggers like you who have such a nice blog!
I used to bookmark stuff on my browser, but then the blogs got too many and from that time on, I started using FeedDemon, which I definitely find very useful. The only problem that I have with FeedDemon are the blogs that I’ve already unsubscribed keeps popping up, and I have to unsubscribe again. It must be a Google problem since these blogs are usually those I’ve followed via the Google Friend Connect.
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I use reader as well, hellocotton looks interesting, may take a look at it. Thank you for the info.