So, it’s been a few weeks since our collective mini-meltdown about Google Reader going away, and I hope you are all a bit calmer now. I am. I have settled into a nice new routine for my own blog-reading, and frankly I do not miss the ol’ Google Reader one bit.
So, let’s talk options here.
If you are reading this post right now from the comfort of Google Reader, then I am especially talking to you!
Sooner or later, you are going to have to find an alternative. If you don’t find an alternative, then we risk losing touch, and I would really hate to lose you. So listen up! Here are a number of ways to keep reading Polka Dot Cottage (and many of your other favorite reads):
Feedly is another feed reader, similar to Google Reader (henceforth to be referred to as “GR”). In fact, Feedly currently gets its data directly from GR, so when you sign up, it automatically imports all of your feeds for you. It couldn’t be simpler. Plus, Feedly has a modern, slick magazine-like interface that I really like. If I’d known about it, I probably would have ditched GR for Feedly ages ago.
We crafty people are a visual bunch, and I think Feedly is well-suited to people like us.
Feedly also has mobile apps. I access my feeds from my Android tablet more often than my laptop these days, so I like that. Also, Feedly integrates with Pocket, which I find useful in my workflow. More on that later.
If you are starting from scratch on Feedly (i.e. not importing from GR) be sure to add a subscription to Polka Dot Cottage!
I don’t have any experience with this one, but it’s another feed reader that people have been recommending as a GR alternative. It also allows you to import your GR feeds. You can add Polk Dot Cottage to your Bloglovin here.
Subscribe via email
If you check the sidebar of most blogs, you will find a way to get their content via email. Unless you like getting hundreds of messages in your inbox every day, I don’t recommend this approach for large reading lists. However, it’s a great choice for a select few must-reads.
Subscribe to Polka Dot Cottage via email here. [
And please be aware, there are three different options for delivery here. They are all selected by default (it’s a new mailing list I’m using, and I can’t figure out how to change that at the moment). Please be sure to de-select two of those options, or you will be receiving three notifications each time I write a post! Even if you do consider Polka Dot Cottage one of your must-reads (and I must say I am flattered) you probably don’t want to be emailed about the same post three times. <– Nevermind. Problem solved!]
Use IFTTT + Pocket
This is another option for those must-reads, although I suppose you could also set it up for large reading lists. It would just take a while. This option is more involved than the others, and might not be for you, if you don’t have some basic comfort with experimenting and trying new things online.
IFTTT (or, If This Then That) is probably the coolest website I have come across in ages. I can’t help geeking-out over it! Here’s how it works: There are “channels” that contain “triggers” and when these triggers happen, they set off “actions” within other channels, and these are all controlled through “recipes” that you create.
That didn’t really clear it up for you, did it? Ok, here’s an example of one of my recipes:
This recipe checks the “new post” trigger in the RSS channel and sets off the “add” action in Pocket.
I have about five must-read blogs in my list, and for each one of them, I have set up a recipe like this. The result is that the blog posts that I know I will want to read today are sitting there waiting for me in Pocket. All the rest of my reading list is in Feedly, and I get to those whenever I get to them. This is my new way of prioritizing, and so far I am really liking it.
Why Pocket? Well, I am using that to help manage my weekly link sharing, and to keep me from falling down a rabbit hole of links while I am trying to work. When I read something I will want to share, I stick it in Pocket until I am ready for it. When I read something on my tablet in Feedly, and know I will want to act on it later when I have my laptop handy, I add that to Pocket, too. When someone shares something cool on Twitter, but I am supposed to be replying to business email, I add that cool thing to Pocket to check out over lunch.
Basically, I use Pocket to hold the things I want to deal with but don’t currently have time for. I check Pocket every day to follow up with those items, and I also see the new posts from my must-reads at the same time. It’s become a useful time-management tool.
If you would like to use IFTTT and Pocket together to read Polka Dot Cottage, you can use this recipe I created for you (or make your own).
Not related to feed reading, but cool nonetheless: you can use IFTTT to email yourself the weather every morning, keep a Google spreadsheet of all the links you share on Facebook, or send yourself a text any time you receive important email. Among other things. I totally ♥ IFTTT.
Use Social Media
I share every post I write on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Some of my posts also find their way to other places like Pinterest and Ravelry, but these are less reliable. You can follow me on any of the social media pictured below, but definitely use one of the first three if it’s post notifications you are after:
Get the App
Yup. There’s a Polka Dot Cottage android app. It’s pretty basic, but it gets the job done. Bonus: get push notifications on your device, and read while offline.
Use Your Kindle
This one isn’t free, but if the convenience of getting my posts on-the-go, downloaded to your Kindle just like an ebook is worth 99 cents/month to you, then cool! I see 30% of that fee myself. The rest goes to Amazon.
If you like a low-tech option, this is it. Create a “Blogs” folder on your browser’s bookmarks bar, and add links to all of your favorite blogs within the folder. It requires you to go down the list, one-by-one, and check for new content manually, but if your list isn’t all that long, and you’re not comfortable with all of this other newfangled stuff, then maybe this is your best bet.
So what do you think? Is there something on this list for you? Do you have questions, or maybe other ideas for GR alternatives? Let’s talk about it in the comments!