But I must move forward and look for alternatives. I know that many of you have moved to Blog Lovin' but I had a few niggling doubts after reading some comments and started doing some research of my own to find something that would be a fit for me. I knew I needed a cloud based reader as I use different devises and sometimes even different computers! There are a bunch of sites that I follow and only just read, and then a smaller bunch of sites that I like to comment on, so I needed to be able to keep my lists, or make new ones. I downloaded my subscribed sites using Goggle Takeout so that I have a back up if I find that I need to try another option, but I narrowed down my choices to Feedly and Blog Lovin'.
After listing the pros and cons of both I decided to try each one out and put them through their paces. Both sync (for now) with Google Reader so I didn't have to upload my current list of subscriptions, this was nice and easy. Both are great options with mobile versions but I have decided to go with Feedly for now. The main reason for this is the lack of groups or lists in Blog Lovin'. Unless I have missed it somewhere, I can't sort my blogs into groups and this is a BIG reason for me to go elsewhere. Feedly also loads heaps faster and I love that I can view my homepage in a few different ways.
**** Edited ... Blog Lovin' does have a groups feature, they just don't mention it in their general help topics. But unlike Feedly, they didn't keep the groups that I already had from Google Reader. I would have to go in and re-sort all of my lists again. So if like me, groups/lists are important to you, then Blog Lovin' could be for you. ****
So here is a brief run down of my Feedly experience so far (in just a day or two!) as it was very strange to start with, but I think that is just because I was so used to Google Reader. Getting to the Feedly homepage is a breeze as Feedly places a special button next to the home button in your browser toolbar. Here is a screen shot of the part of my home page that I could fit on the screen of my laptop. I should also mention that I am using Firefox as my browser.
If you were to scroll down on the above page you would see all of the unread posts listed in the groups or lists that I have them in, with a selection of 'featured' posts at the top. Clicking on the magnifying glass at the top right will enable you to search for sites either by URL, keyword or tags. The little lines on the left are the menu (on a wider screen this wouldn't be hidden). Hovering over it brings up a drop down menu where you can choose to look at lists or individual pages. You can see my lists in the second section of the menu. Each one drops down to show all of the blogs in the list. The third group on the menu are files that I created in Feedly to store posts that I want to be able to come back to, sort of like a favourites file.
Reading sites from Feedly has proven to be quite easy, but subscribing is even easier! I have even been able to add my favourite You Tube channels to my subscriptions and now new videos will come up in my reader. There is a mini tool bar placed on the bottom right of your browsing window. I almost missed it at first. It looks like this ...
When browsing the web you can click on this icon and a new menu pops up ... the mini tool bar.
Do you see the mini tool bar on the right? From this you can even post to Facebook, email the page, and the top green button allows you to preview the site in Feedly. This was a shot just before I subscribed to one of my favourite channels ... once you click on the preview button the site opens up in Feedly and you can then click 'subscribe', choose a list (if you have them) and it is added to your subscriptions. The ability to add YouTube channels was definitely an additional check mark for Feedly.
The iPhone app took a little getting used to but it works like a dream and I love that it has been easy to master. I use the app for scanning all of the blogs that I follow in my lists that I don't comment on very often. One of those blogs posts about 40 posts a day and I don't read them all, I just skim them and read the ones I want and then mark the whole group as read with the click of one button. Without the list feature I run the risk of loosing the blogs that I really care about in the mass of other posts. Those blogs that I like to comment on I read on my computer, it is easier to type :-)
It will be interesting to see how my Feedly experience goes, but so far, so good. More companies are coming out with reader programs so there might be an even better alternative around the corner. If you haven't decided on a new reader for yourself then I suggest that you have a look at a few and give a couple a try. Then you will know which one works the best for you, as it is YOUR reading experience that is important and we all use our feeds differently.
Good luck Reader hunting,