If you’re anything like me, it was a pretty sad day when you opened Google Reader and saw a pop-up that informed you that it would no longer be available after July 1, 2013. I am super dependent on Google Reader to keep me up to date on everything that happens in the world of SEO. As a result, I have been feverishly hunting for a replacement. I feel like I’m looking for a rebound relationship after getting dumped!
However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Although I like the idea of having my feed in the same place as my email, documents, and calendar, etc., there are some great options that might end up being even better than Google Reader. I know, it’s hard to imagine. After reading a bunch of articles by SEOs about which feed readers they prefer, I tried out some of the most popular options for myself. I’m not quite ready to make a final decision yet, but here’s a roundup of the frontrunners.
Honestly, Bloglines isn’t my favorite. One of the things that I like most about Google Reader is the ability to label articles so I can easily go back and find my favorites in a certain category if I need a source for a piece. Bloglines doesn’t have anything comparable, as far as I can tell. You can tag things to “read later,” but that doesn’t give me as much organization as I need. I do like the function that allows you to see “recently read” posts though.
The widgets are a nice touch and allow you to get a quick overview of recent posts on the different sites you follow. You can view your feed as a “mosaic,” which looks nice but isn’t really easy to consume.
In general, Newsblur has elicited positive responses throughout the SEO community. SEOs appreciate that you can easily import your feeds from Reader and then organize them nicely according to what you do or don’t like.
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However, the downside to Newsblur is that you can no longer automatically get a free subscription. The feed reader offers both paid and free subscriptions, but when I tried to sign up for the free version, the site very nicely told me that there were over 1,000 people in line ahead of me. While you wait, you can at least play around with their demo in order to get an idea of how it works.
The Old Reader
The Old Reader is designed as an imitation of Google Reader, so naturally it is a popular alternative with die-hard fans of Reader. It looks and acts a lot like Reader, plus it integrates a new social aspect that let you connect with your friends.
It’s incredibly easy to import your old feeds from Reader, but The Old Reader doesn’t sync up with your read and unread stories from Google Reader, which makes it a little trickier to tell what’s new when you’re getting started. In my opinion, the only problem with The Old Reader is that there isn’t really any way to label articles besides “liking” them.
I have to admit, I saved the best for last. I love Feedly. It has a fresh, fun vibe thanks to attractive themes that can be changed easily. The format and colors are super appealing. It’s definitely a shift from Google Reader, but I have yet to find a downside.
Beyond aesthetics, it has the simplest system for syncing with Google by far. When your feeds appear, they remember which articles you had marked as “read” or “unread.” My favorite part about Feedly is that it has tags! That point alone makes it a frontrunner for my Google Reader replacement. The one worry that I’ve heard about Feedly is that you wouldn’t be able to access your reader if their server went down.
My plan is to try out Feedly for now, but I’ll continue to experiment with The Old Reader and Newsblur (if I can ever get a free subscription). What replacement are you going to use?