Do you read blog feeds via RSS feed reader? When I first started following blogs, I kept a long list of bookmarks that I visited every day to check for new posts. I was thrilled to finally discover that feed readers automatically pull those new posts and give them to me in one place.
Unfortunately, I’ve had bad luck with the actual feed readers. Every time I find one I like, within a year or two the company decides to stop supporting the program. And I hate the search for new readers. There are plenty out there, I find most of them flat-out ugly. If I’m going to look at the interface for hours every week, I don’t want ugly!
Luckily, the latest search led me to a reader that I really, genuinely, kind of love. It’s called Feedly. Have others heard of it? Apparently it’s been around for years, but I’m always behind the curve. (See “long list of bookmarks,” above.)
Feedly integrates with Google Reader but puts the content into a form I find more appealing. I’d call it “attractive minimalist.” The default is the magazine-style layout above, but you can customize the settings to read posts however you prefer (I like full-text), group related feeds into folders (I’ve got “Friends,” “Travel,” “Deep Thoughts,” etc.), play with background colors, and more. There’s always one small ad, like the black-and-red one in the screen shot above, but I find them unobtrusive and they make the program free. Best of all, Feedly integrates well with my phone and I’m now reading blogs from my phone for the first time. Both the web and mobile versions make it easy to save posts for later, email links, and share with Facebook or Twitter.
My main grumble with Feedly is that I don’t like the magazine-style defaults on the web version — I prefer to read one blog at a time, in full text. I’ve updated my preferences to make that possible, but it takes a few extra clicks to get there on each visit. And once I reach the bottom of each long page of posts, I have to click the “up” arrow to get back to the navigation areas at the top of the page. All minor things, but for me it keeps the system a few clicks away from perfection.
A few basic details: Feedly is free and well-reviewed, even by people who actually know a thing or two about technology. Apparently there are “integrated” versions for Firefox and Google Chrome, but it works for me as a regular website in Safari. There are mobile versions for iPhone, Android, iPad, and Kindle. You can find it here.
How do you read blog feeds? Have you tried Feedly, or do you recommend a different program?