How To Survive Without Google Reader

by Gigi Ross on March 13, 2013

google reader
This afternoon, Google announced that it will be sunsetting Google Reader come July 1.

If you’re a blogger, this may be sad news. It’s been a much-beloved tool in the blogger toolkit for years.

So how do you survive without Google Reader? Fortunately, there are a few options for you to consider.

Utilize Facebook

google reader
You can “like” all of your favorite blogs’ Facebook pages and then access them via the Pages Feed in the left sidebar of your Facebook stream.

The problem is that blog updates will be combined with any brand pages you like, so it’s a less-than-perfect solution.

Utilize Twitter

google reader
If you’re an active Twitter user, consider following all of your favorite blogs on Twitter. Then, create a separate Twitter list that includes only the blogs you want to see updates from regularly. In Hootsuite or Tweetdeck or whatever Twitter stream management tool you’re using, create a separate column for that specific Twitter list.

I already do this in a list called My People – it’s full of all the PERSONAL blogs I follow regularly. However, it doesn’t include things like Mashable or larger blogs that update frequently because it would cloud that stream. You’re also going to get a lot of extra chatter – that’s what Twitter’s for! So this still isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s better than Facebook.

Utilize A Tool Like Feedly

If you’re not familiar with Feedly, it is awesome. It aggregates the websites you tell it to, and it displays their posts back in an easy-to-read format. It has a web version and a fantastic app version as well (all versions stay in sync).

Now, Feedly has always integrated with Google Reader. Feedly announced today that they have a transition plan for everyone who is currently on Google Reader. Once Google turns off Reader, there’s a solution in place and Feedly users will never know the difference. All their Reader stuff will still be there. Hurray!

If you’re using Feedly, rejoice that you’re using Feedly.

If you’re not, you should go sign up right now. Here’s how to get started with Feedly very simply using their desktop version.

Go to the Feedly home page and login with your Google account or via Google Reader. (These instructions are for Chrome)

google reader

In the left hand column, you’ll see all the blogs you follow – however you’ve organized them in native Google Reader. I have mine organized into a bunch of different folders based on topic or niche. Read your posts in whatever order you like. There are plenty of preference settings to customize the appearance of Feedly, too.

In all versions of Feedly, you can also mark posts to read later, share in social media, and more.

google reader


When you view these folders in the app version, it’s got a beautiful, Pinterest-y, Flipboard-y style feel that’s easy to swipe and read.  Here’s how one section of my Feedly looks on the iPad version (I added myself and Natalie from Mommy of a Monster as an example):


And here’s how the beautiful navigation looks on iPad:



If Feedly delivers on its promise, you will be able to continue to read all of your favorite blogs, just as you’ve arranged them in Reader, after Reader goes away. I actually find it much easier to read blogs on a touchscreen device using Feedly; I can quickly get through posts that don’t interest me and deep-dive into the ones that do.

Feedly also lets you add new blogs or sites to your portfolio. In the left sidebar, you’ll see a link for “Add New Site.” Click on it, and a popup panel appears on the right sidebar. Enter the URL of the site you’re looking for, and Feedly populates results in the bottom.  When you find the site you want, simply click the + sign to add to Feedly. You’ll see how I searched for my own site below.



After you’ve selected the site, a popup panel appears on the right. This panel lets you choose what folders you’d like to add the new site to. Or, you can create a brand-new category. Hit update and you’re good to go.


I highly recommend getting your Google Reader organized now. Clean out the sites you don’t want and add the sites you do. Sign up for Feedly. And sit back while everybody else panics over what they’re going to do next. You’ve survived!

Are there any other alternatives you’re considering once Google Reader goes away?



Nick Kellet March 13, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Try this crowdsourced lists. Vote and suggest additions

Amanda {A Royal Daughter} March 13, 2013 at 6:24 pm

You’re awesome. Craziness on Twitter right now – I might have to shut it down for the night…. :/

Jackie March 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I’m setting up Feedly right now!

Thank you.

Carolyn West March 13, 2013 at 7:04 pm

All set up. Thank you so much for posting this. I wouldn’t have had a clue – never heard of feedly before.

just JENNIFER March 13, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Well there ya go! The solution all neat and tidy. Thanks, Gigi!

Bre March 13, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Gaaah! I totally missed this today because I was stupid working and not on Twitter. I’ve been using Bloglovin’ because you can instantly reply to the blog right there in the browser. I’m not sure what it does for blogger stats, but I think commenting helps me be a better blogger and connect with people more.

Diane {Created by Diane} March 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Thanks, I’ll give it a try.
I have an rss feeder set up on my google chrome tool bar now, as I was trying to re organize my google reader, not sure if that will be going away or not.
I don’t find staying up to date with blogs is great on facebook, with all the changes all the time. I think bloggers may now the “new” stuff they are doing, but when I talk to people who don’t blog or aren’t into much social media, they have no idea what to do about the ever changing with facebook. Most aren’t on twitter and have no interest in joining other social media.
I will go and set up feedly now :) Thanks

Jeanette Nyberg March 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Well. THAT was painless! All of my stuff magically flew on over to Feedly. It really is good-looking, too. Now if I can just figure out how to add the bookmarklet…

Robin | Farewell, Stranger March 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Hey look, there’s me as a kindergartner! (Hint, hint.) 😉

I set up Feedly ages ago but it didn’t feel intuitive for me. I’ll have to look at it again. I use to use my reader on my Mac client – not ideal either but it works.

Too bad about Google Reader – I loved that it made it so easy to read and comment on blogs. It seems like Google is ditching all kinds of things these days.

Gigi Ross March 14, 2013 at 8:41 am

I know, you’re famous!!!! I think Feedly’s interface on the app version is much stronger than its desktop version. I’ll bet that getting a huge influx of users yesterday and today will prompt them to improve the design a bit on the desktop.

Elaine A. March 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm

You are ON IT, Gigi! I have never used Google reader and pretty much keep up with my sidebar, FB and twitter but Feedly does look interesting. Great post!

Alison March 13, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Thanks for this, Gigi! After reading various sites on alternatives, Feedly has popped up as the one of choice, so I’m signing up right away!

Having taken care of the reading side for ourselves, do you have any ideas how we can easily transition our current RSS subscribers using the Reader, to ensure we don’t lose anyone? This almost feels like starting over with subscriptions. I think half of them will be bloggers themselves, who will look for an alternative for their reading purposes, so that’s taken care of. It’s the others that I worry about. When GFC was removed, I had a 3 month ‘campaign’ on the blog to get people re-signed up via RSS or email. Same deal here?

Gigi Ross March 14, 2013 at 8:40 am

I don’t know that I’m going to do anything about this, to be honest. I guess I’m operating under the assumption that most of the folks who use RSS feeds are bloggers – whether that assumption is valid, time will tell. Most of my IRL friends that don’t blog read my blog via Facebook. But it’s probably not a bad idea to do a post on how people can keep following you if they DO use RSS! Let me know what you decide to do!

Kim@Co-Pilot Mom March 14, 2013 at 4:31 am

I have to admit I was feeling pretty disappointed by the news last night – I have really gotten attached to my reader. Thank you for these tips – Feedly looks great!

Katie March 14, 2013 at 5:44 am

I am a bit nervous about it all. I tried to load Feedly to my Chrome last night, but it wouldn’t connect, so I didn’t get to dig around much. Can you get a full feed in Feedly or do you have to click through to the blog?

I have been considering BlogLovin’ too. It’s got a pinterest/instagram feel and you can comment through it. You also get the page views when someone reads your blog there. I’m still trying to figure it all out though.

Jay Cooney March 14, 2013 at 7:14 am

Thanks Gigi! On top of it as always!!!
Yours will be the first blog I add to my Feedly. :-)
Hope you’re well!

Greta @gfunkified March 14, 2013 at 8:08 am

Thanks for this! I’ve never heard of feedly until today, and I’m going to check it out. I’m glad I reorganized my Google Reader recently (even if I don’t have time to look at it much).

Kelley March 14, 2013 at 8:57 am

This is great, Gigi! I guess this means no more Google Friend Connect, too? I am going to share this on my FB page/Twitter!

Carolyn Y March 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

Have you heard of BlogLovin? I just read a tutorial on how to switch over GR to BL.
I may try that one first.

Gigi Ross March 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

I haven’t. I had already been using Feedly, and it had already pulled in my Reader stuff. It’s so easy to read and the app version is so great on the eyes, I haven’t really felt a need to try anything else, especially since I don’t have to do any extra work with Feedly. But I have heard that people use bloglovin’ and like it.

Carolyn Y March 17, 2013 at 8:47 am

I just peeked at Feedly, I think I may use that. It seems a bit more user friendly and I like the interface more.

renee a. schuls-jacobson March 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

I am kind of freaking out. I just tried to log in to — to check things out, and I see that my blog does NOT even come up on the Google Reader unless you put in the URL. Whaaaaat? It also comes up with the former name of the blog (Teachers and Twits). Do you have any idea regarding how to fix this? I have looked everywhere on my dashboard. OMG. Disaster.

Natalia March 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

This is great, Gigi, thanks for posting on it. I was wondering the same thing as another commenter above, I wonder what happens to all our followers? What’s up with Google lately? It’s seems like they’re getting rid of a ton of stuff!

AJ Collins March 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Fabulous!! :) I am not a big Google reader user, but it’s good to know that these type of tools are available!! :)

theperfectnose March 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Interesting but social media does not compare to RSS feeds. I still cant alphabetize feeds in Feedly (or check basic metrics like subscriber count) and until that happens it’s not a viable alternative. Digg is coming up with an alternative that should rock given that web2.0 abilities. Gonna sit back and watch. Meanwhile I’ve used Takeout to backup my feed list.

Deirdre March 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I’m totally down with bloglovin’
I should read the article, but why are they getting rid of it?

Dawn @ The Momma Knows March 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

I found and set up Feedly this afternoon and had to ask myself HOW I’ve not seen this before?! It’s beautiful! I have it set up for my laptop, my phone AND my tablet. LOVE IT!

Kristi Hines March 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Feedly, Netvibes, and Newsblur are on my trial list until July 1st. So far, Feedly is winning on my laptop and Netvibes on my mobile. Newsblur looks to have lots of promise, but they still haven’t figured out how to handle the server overload.

Gigi Ross March 15, 2013 at 6:23 am

Yep…a friend said Newsblur was down all day yesterday!

Lady Jennie March 15, 2013 at 8:50 am

I’m almost positive you were the one who taught me how to use netvibes and I still use it today.

What benefit does google even have in eliminating google reader? I don’t get it.

Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs March 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

Thank you for this! I’ve had a couple people ask me and have shared this post with them. You are awesome and much appreciated!

Tiffany (NatureMom) March 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

Thanks! I have been stressing over this, just because I hate switching to new services and relearning all the ins and outs. I will try Feedly and Bloglovin and see which is the best fit or if I need to keep looking. Feedly sounds as though it might be it though. :)

Meg {Phase Three of Life} March 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Thank you! I was looking for an alternative today and it looks like Feedly is it. Love the way the iPad app looks, which is primarily how I’ll be reading blogs once I’m done working next week.

Missy | The Literal Mom March 16, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Uh, shit!

Considering I’ve been living under the proverbial blogging rock the last couple of months, I had NO IDEA! Good grief – the hits just keep coming on stats and keeping up with blogs.

thank you, though, for the tips.

Stephanie Clinton March 29, 2013 at 5:53 am

I haven’t heard of Feedly yet, thanks for the info! I’ve been trying out Bloglovin for my new reader this past week. So far, so good and it was super easy to transfer all of my fav blogs from my google reader.

Felicia May 2, 2013 at 4:42 am

I hadn’t heard of Feedly previously, but after reading your post I hopped right over to check it out. I absolutely love it! It’s a great way to stay organized and makes it really simple to look at multiple blogs at the same time. Thank you so much for the heads up on it!

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