How do you follow other blogs?

Posted August 21, 2016 by Lory in discussions / 44 Comments


I was not a follower before I became a blogger; I only became aware of the enormous number of wonderful book blogs once I started writing one myself two and a half years ago. Once I did learn of this abundance, I had to find some way to navigate it that made sense for me. My methods have been evolving constantly ever since, and I’m still not quite satisfied.

I started out when I was using Blogger by putting a widget in the sidebar, with a small list of blogs set to show links to the latest post. I would just scan that and click on the ones that sounded interesting. But that quickly became untenable as the number of blogs I wanted to follow exploded. I now only show a fraction of the blogs I follow in my sidebar, which I feel somewhat guilty about — but I don’t like enormous sidebar lists, so some people will have to be left out. (Can someone invent a widget which would randomize a rotating selection from a larger list? That would be cool.)

Anyway, then I started using Bloglovin’ and that worked well for quite a while. I could follow as many blogs as I wanted, and could mark posts I wanted to save and put them in different categories. I made one category for “comments” so that I could go back and look at posts I had commented on, and another for monthly favorites to collect for my Link Love posts. Bloglovin’ increasingly annoyed me with unnecessary changes, intrusive emails, and pushy advertising, but I didn’t have a better alternative.

But then I discovered the WordPress Reader. (Along the way I had switched to WordPress for my own blog.) Here I could easily browse, comment, get comment notifications, and also “like” posts and comments — but most of these functions worked only blogs on or connected to the platform. I really liked having all these features in one place, but Reader does not allow saving to different categories, or distinguishing between “favorite” or liked posts and saved posts. So now I’m using two different formats, and it’s starting to get confusing.

I also like Feedly, but it only allows 100 sources in its free version. However, I might try using it for the blogs I don’t follow with the WordPress Reader, and ditch Bloglovin’ altogether. (If you’d like to join me in checking out Feedly, here’s the link to my ECBR feed.)

Then there are the other forms of comment notification, like Disqus and those few blogs that use the Comment Reply Notification plugin. I try to remember which these are so that I don’t have to bother to tag them in Bloglovin’, but that gets confusing too. And there are blogs I comment on for various reasons but don’t want to follow all the time; how do I mark those?

I’ve started using Pocket to mark posts that I’ve commented on, and that could be a good solution. It’s easier to navigate to than my Bloglovin’ collections, which they have now buried so I have to make multiple clicks to locate them. And I’ve just figured out how to tag posts, which has the same effect as creating collections. Hooray!

If you’re not an organizational nut like me, you probably haven’t made it this far, but if you are, I hope you might have some suggestions for me. What are your tips for following blogs and comments?




44 responses to “How do you follow other blogs?

  1. Haha – I was just like you in that I didn’t follow any blogs before starting my own and had no idea there were so many book blogs out there (if I had, I doubt I would’ve started my own blog)!

    I use Bloglovin’ and always have. But, I agree that lately they’ve been pushing lots of posts into my feed that “I might be interested in” but whose blogs I don’t actually follow. It’s gotten annoying. I also don’t like their new news style feed layout….I preferred the simple linear one.

    I never go back to blogs where I commented…just don’t have the time. I use Comment Reply Notification to make sure people don’t have to check back to mine either.

    • Oh, how I wish everyone would use Comment Reply Notification! It’s really helpful for me, at least.

  2. I started blogging in 2013. My story is similar to yours. I use blog-lovin, but don’t like recent changes either. I didn’t know Feedly charges after 100 sources – I was thinking of switching to that. I already have an account. It seems the tech giants are finding ways to charge more now for services we’ve become a-custom to.

    • Yup, there’s a free version and a paid version. The good thing about that system is that they don’t put ads in the free version. I’m willing to accept some limitations for that.

  3. I didn’t read or follow book blogs before I started my own either. I think I would have been too overwhelmed by the amount of book blogs already out there! As for following, I’ve been using Bloglovin’ since GFC disappeared a few years ago but I haven’t been thrilled with its recent changes either. I’m not crazy about the new layout and most of the “recommended blogs” are fashion oriented and not in my interest group. I’m slowly starting to switch over to email subscriptions so favored blogs don’t get lost in the shuffle. I will say it has made me a bit more discerning as to who fills my inbox and has really made me look at which bloggers I actively follow and comment on. Although, every follow platform has its good and bad sides.

    • I’m thinking I should be a bit more discerning as well. Having a limit on the number of blogs with Feedly may actually help.

  4. I didn’t really follow many blogs until I started blogging, too! I go back and forth on how I like to follow blogs, and how i want others to follow me too. I hate how commercial bloglovin has become, but I’ve used it for so long that I feel I’m stuck in my ways. i also follow some via email, and comment later. I do wish there was a way to read non WP blogs on the WP reader. I love their reader.

    • You can actually put non-WP blogs in your Reader. But you can’t “like” posts from those blogs, and you don’t get notifications for them. Also, you can’t sort posts into categories in the Reader, so I started using Pocket for that. I went through a phase where I started to put everything in Reader, but then I changed my mind…I like some of the features of Feedly too. But maybe you will find it works for you!

  5. When I started following blogs, I used Google Reader, which worked perfectly well and so they shut it down a few years ago. Now we use Tiny Tiny RSS–I subscribe to whatever blog I want, and I can categorize it, and new posts show up on my feed. It’s a very simple interface with a lot of options. It works very well, but I don’t maintain it myself; I have this husband who knows all about computers and he set it up and maintains it on our domain.

    • Interesting, I have not heard of that one. Oh, for a computer savvy husband – I have to play that role in our house, and my capacities for self-education are limited.

  6. Great topic.

    For years I used the “Old Reader” blog reader. It was simple I got used to it. earlier this year it stopped working correctly for me. I switched to Bloglovin’. I find it far superior and I love it. I have not tried the other options that you mentioned. It sounds like there are some read options out there.

    • I’m glad you find that Bloglovin’ works for you. For those not bothered by ads and by constant tweaking, it can be just fine.

    • Er, you’re welcome…I think. I didn’t mean to be confusing, but it’s true there are many different options and all have something to offer, but perhaps not everything you want. Good luck in finding something that fits your style.

  7. I have only ever used Bloglovin. The only problem is that I’m following so many blogs that it gets confusing, but by this stage it seems like such a big task to start organising them into lists and unfollowing all the abandoned ones, or ones I no longer read. Hopefully I’ll have an organisational spree soon and get it sorted! 🙂

    • I never bothered to organize blogs into lists on Bloglovin’. I would organize certain posts into categories, and that worked for me…but now it’s too hard to find my categories so I’ve given up. Using tags in Pocket is easier. And, I have done some minimal organizing of blogs into lists on Feedly. Anyway, good luck with finding that time for organizing!

  8. Deb

    You have really thought about this a lot more than I have! I prefer WordPress if the blog is a WP blog, and I probably read and comment most on other WP blogs because it’s so much easier to use the WP Reader. Next I use Twitter and Bloglovin. If I really like a blog I may follow by email but that’s pretty rare. All these options are just way too confusing.

    • I know, and I’m trying to pare down what I use too. The WordPress reader is great for WordPress blogs, I agree.

  9. As a user of the WordPress platform, I really like the Reader feature. I do subscribe to several blogs by email, which helps keep me organized. However, like many people I loved Google Reader, but you can’t live in the past….sigh 🙁

    • I guess I totally missed out on Google Reader. I never even tried it, so at least that’s one thing I don’t have to complain about. 🙂

  10. I started blogging on WordPress so have always used the reader. I’ve looked at Bloglovin a few times but not been greatly taken with it. I do use Lists on the WordPress Reader – I have an “Essentials” list for those days when I haven’t got time to get round all the blogs I follow but don’t want to miss my favourites. And I use Tags as a quick way to get to favourite blogs – I find most people use a tag that’s specific to them in one way or another. I used to follow by e-mail but got too stressed with my inbox constantly filling up!

    • Good idea to make an Esssentials category, I should do that. I wish there were an option in Reader to ADD tags to posts so you can find them later. But I’ve been using Pocket to do that, and it’s super easy (and works cross-platform).

  11. I went through the whole blog following overload! I went so far as to bookmark the ones I wanted to read in my browser- and divided them by type and on what day I would visit and read them. I was young then! 😉 That rapidly got out of control because I forgot to go and read, people stopped blogging etc. For now, I’m using Feedly, but am really frustrated by it for my own blog bc I can’t get thumbnails to appear and visuals are so important these days.

    Anyway, I had not tried WP Reader, but that sounds like it might be a good solution.

    As for how I find blogs to follow/read someone visiting my blog w likeminded taste is the easiest way or discovery via another book blogger I trust. Or other social media. Sadly, I’m not great about ferreting out unknowns.

    • That is a weird problem with Feedly not showing thumbnails for certain blogs. I wonder if anyone can figure it out and do a tutorial or something.

  12. I actually really like Bloglovin’ because I’ve got it organized with folders in a way that works well for me. I’m not a fan of the ads, but I’m okay with ignoring them. As far as the emails go, you can change your settings so that you only get the ones you want (I only get an email once a week with an update on my followers).

    I think you’ve got a great idea about a widget that rotates blogs you love. I’ll bet there is one – I’ll have to look into that. I actually took my blogroll off because it was causing me problems, but I want to put it back on. I’ve also seen blogs that have widgets that show top commenters and such – I’d like to add something like that possibly.

    • Yay that you’ve organized Bloglovin’ to work for you. They were just removing features I liked and adding ones I didn’t, so it got to be too much.

      I’m glad you like my blogroll idea. I know there are those scrolling ones, but who has time to look at all of those? And I was wondering about a comment widget too.

  13. I use Feedly – I’m pretty sure I follow more than 100 blogs but I’m on the free version. I’ve used Bloglovin’ but didn’t care for it. I might try it out again though I’m pretty cool with Feedly. I also save posts to read later in Feedly, and then any sites I call a resource I bookmark it and save it in a folder on my bookmarks toolbar in my browser (Firefox).

  14. I use a combination of things, but mostly my blog roll (on a separate page, for my WordPress blog) and email subscriptions.

    • More options! A blogroll on a separate page is something to consider. I could fit more on that way.

  15. I used to use BlogLovin’ but they changed their formatting and emails, and I couldn’t stand it. I also unsubscribed from their emails but they kept sending them, which bugged me too. So I switched to Fever, which is an app you have to install on your own server. I love it. It helps me keep track of all my blog reading. (It’s how I came here today!)

    • I have not heard of Fever. I don’t know if I’d be up for it technically, but I’ll look into it anyway. Thanks!

  16. Oh God I still miss Google Reader so much.

    Ahem. What is this about feedly only allowing 100 sources in its free version? Are you sure? Why am I getting a pass on this rule? I have way WAY more than 100 sources and Feedly has never asked me for dollars…

    • Really? Maybe you all got grandfathered in if you were using Feedly before they made that rule. Or maybe I should try adding more than 100 sources and see what happens.

      Details on the account levels are here:

  17. I started out using the integrated reader that came with a short-lived browser. When that stopped being updated I moved to live bookmarks for a while; that works fine when you haven’t too many blogs to follow but it only ever showed the blog title and number of unread posts. I now use a bog standard feed reader, pretty basic but I tend to open the blog links to read them on the owner’s site rather than through the reader so it works well.

    I wasn’t aware you could only follow 100 blogs for free on Feedly. That’s not much of a number in the grand scheme of things.

    • I was following almost 200 blogs on Bloglovin’, so it seemed Feedly would not meet my needs – but turns out there were some defunct blogs in there, and some I hardly ever interacted with, so in combination with the WordPress Reader I can manage.

  18. I started a blogroll on a separate page just last week. I tend to subscribe via email for folks I nearly always want to read (like, say, you) and never check Bloglovin’ for the blogs I follow that way. I could spend a lot of time reading blogs, and it’s better for me to just NOT SEE all the options so I can get something else done with my day.

    • What, there’s something else I should be doing? Oh yes, life and stuff. I’ll get around to that at some point. 🙂

  19. I use bloglovin, but I really should follow your example and switch to wordpress reader. Bloglovin is all ads now. Nightmare.

    • Yes, I hate that. I prefer the model Feedly uses, that has an ad-free version with limitations, and a paid version with more features. Hope it stays that way!

  20. Great discussion! I miss the days of the google blog reader because that was the easiest for me to add blogs and to scroll. I use bloglovin now and I do like that I can separate different blogs into categories but I hate that when you click on a post, it doesn’t take you to the actual link of the post. It makes it hard to link up!

    • I got to hate all the multiple clicks I had to do to get anywhere. Feedly has that problem too but at least it isn’t annoying me with ads as well.

  21. Right now, I’m doing a mix of wordpress and feedly and haven’t yet run into the cap on the number of blogs you can follow. I think I may try to stay under that, since I’m liking the reader and still fall behind on blog reading sometimes!

    • I think it’s actually good if I have a limit – otherwise my blog follow list tends to get completely out of control.