RSS readers are still popular
For news junkies, or information hounds, the best way to keep up with all of the updates on websites and blogs is through a RSS feed reader so that all updates are fed to one place. When Google killed Google Reader, the most popular option on the market, most people looked to Feedly as an alternative, which was more like a magazine and less like a list of links with a wall of text.
But Feedly isn’t the only option on the market, and competitors like Digg’s new feed reader are looking to appeal to the visual element that early feed readers lacked. With Feedly’s mobile app, you get beautiful transitions that make reading faster, and on Digg, you have tons of social sharing options built right into the free product.
But there’s one feed reader that caught our attention, but we have long ignored for our own use, simply because it is branded as a fashion blog reader and looks a lot like Pinterest when you visit their landing page – Bloglovin.
Bloglovin launched many years ago, saw a $1 million cash infusion, and today has over 16 million unique monthly visitors. According to tech writer, Anthony Ha, has announced a $7 million Series A. The founders have expressed to Ha that they want to be the “ultimate platform” for expressing yourself by curating content that you like
But isn’t Bloglovin for women and Pinterest addicts?
“The [$7M] investment will be used primarily to recruit engineering talent,” CEO Joy Marcus told Ha. “Our focus remains on enhancing the user experience, particularly around discovery and curation, as well as growing our key women’s lifestyle verticals, including fashion, DIY, beauty, and food.”
According to Bloglovin’s CEO, yes, Bloglovin is kind of a place for the ladies, but when you get past the setup process, we see it as more of a feed reader for the aesthetically-inclined, regardless of gender or industry.
If you’re a financial analyst, look at the image above to see that I can skim the WSJ economy section (which I do), or AGBeat (hint, hint). The content contained in a feed reader is up to you.
Yes, suggested content will be fashion blogs and cook book stuff, and it looks like a feed reader for Pinterest addicts (and their marketing affirms my suspicion of this), but for your own use, it doesn’t have to be a feminine experience, rather a rich, visual experience, which for many (like me) lends to faster reading.
Below is the setup process – it took under a minute to get going, and immediately sped up my reading time, which can help anyone’s productivity.
1. Setting up
When you first visit the site, you’ll be asked to sign up – doing so through Facebook was extremely easy for me, and didn’t require that I allow Bloglovin to post on my wall (which I liked).
The blog suggestions may not appeal to you, but calm down, you can add your own feeds. It’s easy to grab a few to get started and you can delete feeds later. Try searching for “business” or “economy,” and see that normal options pop up.
2. Add friends
If you sign up through Facebook, it’ll show you which of your friends are already on Bloglovin, and you can see what they’re sharing. The company appears to also be a budding social network of sorts, but we suggest sticking to the quick in-and-out of the feed reader function if you’re using it as a productivity tool (but seeing what friends share can expand your horizons, so don’t ignore that portion, just do it when you aren’t in a time crunch).
And yes, I acknowledge that everyone on Bloglovin that is also my friend is a woman. They openly market to women, but guys, don’t let that dissuade you – it’s like if steak was marketed to women, would you really care? Nope, you’d eat steak. So go eat steak, gah!
3. Browser extensions and a huge complaint
Sure, Bloglovin comes with a handy browser extension to reinforce how behind you are on your reading by telling you how many new stories are in your reader, but this is where I got stuck and the technology deities couldn’t save me. I run a Chrome extension for HootSuite, and it wanted to interact with Bloglovin since they’re friends, but I got stuck in an infinite loop that I couldn’t get out of because of the conflict, and had to type “Bloglovin.com” in my browser to get out of the loop, which I did.
4. The Bloglovin feed
Here it is in all of its glory, the final product. You can quickly skim, mark as read, read in depth, or see what others have posted. It isn’t too foreign, and looks like a spruced up version of other feed readers you’ve used.
5. How a full story renders
When you click on a story, it takes you to the source, but leaves a Bloglovin toolbar at the top so you can not only share the story from there, but click to the next story, newer or older (which is kind of neat).
6. Features you’re used to
You can organize your feeds just like any other RSS reader, separating them out by topic or business and personal, so you only spend time where it’s required at the moment.
Bloglovin may be marketed to ladies, or filled to the brim with Pinterest addicts, but you can quietly sneak in and use the tool to speed up your reading time if you’re aesthetically-inclined, helping your work productivity immensely. Give it a try and tell us what you think.