Friday, September 25, 2015

Get your feeds under control with Feedly

If you've been doing the A to Z Challenge for any length of time (like, say, at least a year), you've probably discovered a lot of new blogs that you'd like to subscribe to and follow forever. To do that, you need a feed reader (you might also hear it called a "news aggregator"), one that can cope with both Wordpress and Blogger and keep you up-to-date with all your blogging buddies.

Both Wordpress and Blogger have feed readers, and there are a lot of other ones out there. My particular favorite is Feedly. It's been around since 2006, but it became really popular when Google announced they were shutting down Google Reader in 2013.

I used Google Reader, and deciding to shut it down turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. I thought Reader's display was a little too busy. With Feedly, you can specify how much white space there is in the display, the font, color of the sidebar, your favorite sharing and/or saving service(s), and whether you want to see your articles as a list, as individual cards, or as full articles. You can navigate through your list with the mouse or with the keyboard. Best of all, it's free. (There is a Pro license, that includes saving to OneNote or Evernote, sharing to LinkedIn, Hootsuite, and Buffer, enhanced search capabilities, and "shared collections," as well as faster support and article delivery, that sells for $65 a year; so far, I haven't found a need for it, particularly with tools like IFTTT.)

A shot of my Feedly home screen. I use a "comfortable" density, supplying plenty of white space, and a "magazine" format, presenting my list with a preview of the articles.

Feedly has a plugin for both Firefox and Chrome (maybe other browsers) that makes it easy to subscribe to blogs. When you go to a blog's main page, a Feedly icon will appear either in the address bar or in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. When you click the icon, Feedly launches, showing you the feed from that blog. You can then choose whether to add the blog, and to which user-defined category to add it to.

Screen shot showing the Feedly icon

If you're currently using a feed reader and want to try Feedly, Feedly will accept your OPML file so you don't have to add all the blogs by hand.

I don't want to get too deep into the product (sorry, I was a software trainer for fifteen years), so I'll stop there. Anyway, if you're in the market for a new feed reader, give Feedly a try. I think you'll like it!

John Holton
The Sound of One Hand Typing
The Sound of One Hand Typing FM


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi John - that's great as many of us aren't sure about 'readers' etc ... I use Feedly - but in its simplest form ... and got this from there! Cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I switched to Feedly before Google Reader vanished. I like the different folders you can use to organize blogs.

John Holton said...

I keep mine about as simple as I can. The blogs I follow are grouped, but that's not the way I read them; I bring up all the latest updates and go through them that way. I use Pocket to save the entries I want to read later.

Tami Von Zalez said...

I LOVED Google reader. I tried a couple of news aggregators before I finally settled on Feedly. It seems to suit my purposes - I also see no reason to "upgrade."

John Holton said...

So did I, and went through the transition from using Google's servers to Feedly's. Went very well, I thought. There are still a few things I'd like to see (flag dead blogs, eliminate duplicate ones), but on the whole I'm happy with it, and IFTTT makes up for any shortcomings.

John Holton said...

It does the job and is esthetically more pleasing than Reader was. I found it a little overwhelming.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Huh. You mean there's an easier way than trying to remember all my favorite blogs?

Great info.

nashvillecats2 said...

Great post John, have done every A to Z up til now. Great idea of Arlee's that really caught on.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Interesting. Thanks for the tip!

Stephen Tremp said...

Thanks John for the post. I subscribed to Feedly years ago a completely forgot about it. I just logged in and am going to pick up where I left off.

cleemckenzie said...

This post came at exactly the right time. I just screwed up my blog roll and then vanished it. I've been thinking about Feedly, so now you've given me the incentive to actually subscribe. Off I go. Hi Ho! Hi Ho!

Stitching Noni said...

I switched to Feedly when Google decided to dump everyone... and I love it! I have also used Bloglovin' but Feedly is so much better.
Thanks for the great post - I have to admit that I haven't ever noticed the Feedly icon on a blog before so now I am going to keep an eye out for it - it will save me heaps of time adding new blogs to my Feedly reader :o)