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.
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.
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)
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.
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?