To be a great blogger, you also need to be an avid blog consumer and reader. That means dedicating time to reading the blogs of people whose work you admire, and which inspire you. You never know what’s going to spark a new idea, and part of the fun of blogging is joining in the collective conversation online. That is to say, if you notice a topic is trending, and you have something to add, blogging about it from your unique perspective can offer your audience a point of view they hadn’t yet considered.
The thing is, there are so many bloggers to bookmark and great blogs out there that keeping up to date can be a fulltime job in itself. Yes, you can bookmark your favourites, if you’re disciplined enough to set aside time each week to go through your bookmarks and catch up. But oftentimes, especially when you’re busy, blog reading can fall to the bottom of your priority list.
RSS and the Demise of Google Reader
RSS – short for really simple syndication – is a popular means of consuming the blogs you love, acting as a kind of newsfeed of the sites you add so the content comes to you, rather than you needing to seek it out. If you’re unfamiliar with RSS, check out ProBlogger’s What is RSS post for a simple rundown.
Google Reader was one of the most popular RSS options online, until it was discontinued a couple of months back. Users have flocked to use other RSS services – however many have found the user experience and interface of those tools unattractive and clunky. One tool that has become increasingly popular since Google Reader’s demise is Bloglovin – a site that acts as a blog feed, with a more aesthetically appealing layout.
What is Bloglovin?
Bloglovin is by no means new – in fact, the site has been active since 2010, and as of March this year was said to have two million users. Its premise is simple: providing people with the opportunity to follow and read all of their favourite blogs from one place, via their computer or mobile device.
Users can search for blogs they already love, find new blogs to follow by category, or even check out popular posts by category. Once a blog is followed, users can then like posts, and share via Facebook, Twitter and email. They also have the option to receive links to the latest posts in their feed via email.
Even better, of you have your own blog, you can claim it on Bloglovin to see statistics on views via the platform, and adjust how other users will see thumbnails, names, categories and descriptions. Ultimately, this is designed to give bloggers greater control over their audiences’ viewing experience.
Because it incorporates social sharing features, Bloglovin is also a great means of building your online community – and you can encourage existing readers to follow your blog via the platform by adding a Bloglovin Button widget to your site.
Other RSS Readers worth a look
Of course, one size doesn’t fit all, so if you check out Bloglovin and decide it’s not for you, there are plenty of other great options to stay up to date on what your favourite bloggers are posting about. Some of the most popular options currently include Feedly, Digg Reader, NewsBlur and Newsvibe.