Eureka! I Found a Workaround for the Utterly Awful WordPress Reader

Warning: The Magic Formula you’re about to use will instantly improve your WordPress Reader experience!

But first, a word on why. Then, a few words on how.


This is the utterly awful and inadequate blog reader that WordPress.com bloggers and our followers are given to use:

Wordpress.com Reader

WordPress.com Reader in Overview

Contemplate these two views of the WordPress.com Reader: above, the constantly scrolling view, where it’s easy to miss a post, and you may even get carpal tunnel from all that scrolling scrolling scrolling . . .


Below is the view you get when you click a post (consider how huge this is on a large desktop monitor, and how little actual information you get from the extravagant use of all this real estate).

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 3.33.37 PM

One Story from the Blog Reader


Why inadequate? Besides its juvenile design, it lacks all of the functionality of better readers, including my preferred choice, the fantastic Feedly.

What’s the WordPress Reader missing that Feedly’s got? Here are just a few functions I yearn for:

  • Create genres, or topics, and group my blog feeds within each
  • View all stories in a given topic at a glance, in a grid or in a list
  • Bookmark stories to save for later in Feedly
  • Mark as read, or dismiss, stories I’ve already seen
  • Search by topic, title, author, whatever to find any post
  • Share any story by email, to social media, Buffer or Hootsuite—from right within Feedly
  • Save posts to Evernote or Pocket, One Note or Instapaper
  • Have a better user experience, with current typography and design
  • Sort, organize and rearrange the layout I read from
  • Enjoy the same synced experience from my desktop to laptop to iPad to iPhone
  • Read every blog I subscribe to—not just WordPress.com blogs—under one roof

If you already use Feedly, or if you just decide to explore it (it’s free), you’ll find many more reasons it tops the inadequate WordPress Reader—by a long shot. And it’s irked me for awhile to be stuck in Reader, until I got this idea.

“Eureka! I can create a workaround to import my WordPress blogs in to my Feedly reader!”  Tweet:

Voilá! Here’s how to fix it. Since I follow some 445 blogs, it’s important to me to be able to review them efficiently. I’ll bet you feel the same way. So I’d like to share this workaround with you; you’ll just want to customize it for the topics you read about.

You probably follow posts in your Reader by tagged topics, like I do. So you simply create a custom “feed” for each tag. Feedly will import your tagged posts when you insert your own tag where you see the red type in my Magic Formula:

feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://wordpress.com/tag/your-tag-here/feed/

Copy the Magic Formula, above, substituting the tag you want to follow (for example: creativity, or photography, or writing, or design, or marketing etc) where you see your-tag-here shown in red. (You will need to insert http:// in front of the copied text.) With your Feedly browser open, paste your variation of the Magic Formula into the Search box at the top right. And bingo! In come all of the WordPress.com posts tagged creativity, or photography, or writing, or design, or marketing etc!

Upon import, Feedly will offer to put the posts within tag categories for you, or you can group your entire tagged feed under something like “WordPress Blogs I Follow.” Or if you like, you can choose a category for each blog individually (from your sidebar of topics) once you’ve imported them. They’ll land under Uncategorized, in that case.

Take a look at how these examples work out—with the feeds I used to import them:

Tag: Weekly Photo Challenge

feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://wordpress.com/tag/weekly-photo-challenge/feed/

Weekly Photo Challenge Posts from WordPress.com Reader

Shown in Feedly: Posts Tagged ‘Weekly Photo Challenge’ from WordPress.com Reader


Tag: Books

feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://wordpress.com/tag/books/feed/

Posts Tagged 'Books' from WordPress.com Reader

Shown in Feedly: Posts Tagged ‘Books’ from WordPress.com Reader


Tag: Freshly Pressed

feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://wordpress.com/tag/freshly-pressed/feed/

Posts Tagged 'Freshly Pressed' from WordPress.com Reader

Shown in Feedly: Posts Tagged ‘Freshly Pressed’ from WordPress.com Reader


Tag: iPhoneography

feedly.com/i/subscription/feed/http://wordpress.com/tag/iphoneography/feed/

Posts Tagged 'iPhoneography' from WordPress.com Reader

Shown in Feedly: Posts Tagged ‘iPhoneography’ from WordPress.com Reader


And it gets better. Feedly offers you several layout views to choose from (in your Settings, you can set a default layout, but you can always customize the view in any category, as well). So photography-oriented blogs might look like this:

See six posts at once from Red Stuff Dan, in this Feedly layout

Red Stuff Dan's Blog

Red Stuff Dan’s Blog


Or choose from several other layouts, such as Cards, Title Only, Magazine, Full Articles. Or click to open directly in the website. Don’t forget to share—you’ll have access to every social media site you like, right from within Feedly.

See three posts at a glance from Angeline M‘s blog

Angeline M's blog

Angeline M’s blog


Isn’t it great to see so many of a blog’s posts at a glance? Imagine how quickly you can work through the Weekly Photo Challenge entries!

Posts by everyone, when tagged Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge posts in Feedly

Weekly Photo Challenge posts in Feedly


It’s a big step up from the WordPress Reader layout when it comes to photoblogs. Or any kind of blog, really.

Ever wish you could get to a blog you follow from the WordPress Reader, only to find there’s no good way to search within it? And without knowing the blog’s URL, you can’t get to it from your browser. So you miss it that week, unless it happens to randomly appear in your Reader at the moment you’re scrolling through it.

But not so with Feedly. It has a powerful search engine to let you find topics, author names, blog titles, whatever. Or you can just glance through your visual display of blogs and find it that way.

Do you follow blogs that aren’t WordPress.com-hosted (like Blogger or any other platform)? You can’t follow them in the WordPress Reader. But if you bring them all into Feedly, all of your favorite blogs are created equal!

Pretty nifty, isn’t it? Now there’s no reason to wallow in the WordPress Reader’s muck while the Automattic developers play with redesigned interface icons or roll out more whimsical features like Beep Beep Boop and “This post is super-awesome!”

Just bring your favorite posts in to Feedly, pour yourself another cuppa joe, and read blog after blog after blog. You’re welcome. 

Explaining how to import the feed from your “Blogs I Follow” category, with its mishmash of varying tags, is a bit beyond my pay-grade. But the Feedly folks have the directions posted on their (WordPress) blog, here. And it’s really quite simple and seamless when you follow Feedly’s instructions. You’ll need to export the .opml file from your WordPress Readerclick the Settings icon from ‘Blogs I Follow’ or use this link.

How do you like your new reading experience? Got a gripe I missed about the WordPress Reader?

Give me a heads-up in the Comments.


Click Here to get your free monthly digest of Popular Pairings.

38 replies

  1. My goodness, your post just verifies how little I know about the Internet and specifically the intricacies of these different sites. Congratulations to you for informing yourself and us. While I agree with your points, I just cannot go beyond what is offered to me on WordPress. It’s too labor intensive. Maybe someday…Thanks for your insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hope I haven’t made it seem too daunting, Sally, since my goal is ease . . . and this is one way to keep all of the virtual bits we use organized in one spot. If you want me to walk you through it, give me a holler. Once you sign up for Feedly, it’s a breeze.

      Like

  2. I use feedly for all the writing and literature related blogs that I follow, and I use the WP reader for photo blogs mainly because it allows the user to click on the “like” star without clicking through to view the post. It really helps look at a lot of photo blogs that way 🙂 This is a cool trick you’ve provided here though and I’ll be sure to remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know that’s how most readers deal with viewing the Weekly Photo Challenges, and what irks me most about the Reader is how terribly it displays my posts. On my blog site, I work hard at making the design and photography the best it can be; but most “Likers” never get there to see it, and the Reader does such a gawdawful presentation (shall I say, abomination) of its style. On the plus side to bringing the weekly-photo-challenge tag feed into Feedly . . . you can see much more quickly which photos are worthy of your “Like” and it’s a quick two clicks to get to the actual WordPress blog to hit Like and get back to Feedly. Thanks for your feedback, Jeri.

      Like

  3. Bravo to you again Jann! And here I thought I was the only one critiquing and criticising the many “options” that Word Press gurus offer its participants. There are better ways of doing this thing called blogging. You have undoubetdly discovered an important nugget of truth.

    Many times inquisitve folks discover alternative approaches to performing a difficult task and keep the information to themselves. Perfectly correct. Other folks share this insider information. A third class of contributors accept the status quo and tend to muddle along with the hopes that the system will somehow improve and that the gurus will share some tid bit of enlightenment with the rest of us. This rarely happens unless by total accident.

    Thank you for sharing what you discovered with us. Much appreciated. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s great to hear that you appreciate it and are in the same camp as I am on the WP changes. Speaking of that, do you always default to the old WP Admin Dashboard to post, like I do? Whenever I get stuck in the “new, enhanced” interface, I go nuts trying to find certain features that we had access to in the old Admin Dashboard.

      There are many longtime WordPress users who are revolting and complaining, but WP seems to be ignoring them. Even closing off some of the forum threads begging for the old features.

      I began this thread the other day in the Forum > Ideas but no one’s picked up on it yet:

      How to Improve the WordPress Reader
      https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/how-to-improve-the-wordpress-reader?replies=1

      Many thanks for weighing in. Have you tried Medium.com? I’m here: https://medium.com/@AustinDetails

      Medium was developed by Blogger’s and Twitter’s creator as a better way to share content. We’ll see. But there’s big money behind its path to future success. It’s a much cleaner, much easier interface, and I get many more views there . . . but alas it’s not my OWN site, with my own domain, as my WordPress blog is.

      Like

  4. There is a way around the “new” WP editor. Click on the icon that indicates that you would like to compose a new blog. Then give the article a title. Save this “title”. Then totally log off the program. Gives this a few moments. Then re enter WP. Click on posts. The new post you entered with title only will be the top item. Click on this and you should be connected to the old format of editor. I know it sounds nutty but there must be a slight glitch in the “N E W” editor program that takes you back to the older model. This works for me. But I do not like the new version of the text editor. Again thanks for being proactive in your WP approach. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble. here as well Jann. I wonder if bloggers who use WP.org face the same types of frustration as we do on the freebie network. I guess we Grumblers will just have to stick together and keep peacefully lobbying for a more improved and user friendly program. Only time will tell. But, for the record, keep right on grumbling. I still do! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I admire your work, Jann, but something isn’t working for me. I have tried pasting exactly the code as you suggested, but it keeps returning ” Sorry. No feed found. Please try searching for another url, title or #topic” I tried replacing ‘http’ with ‘https’ but that makes no difference. Any ideas would be welcome please.

    Like

  7. Hi Jann, I’ve already commented on this post some time ago. Now I wanted to start using Feedly and I was looking for an affiliate link to Feedly on your blog. Do you have one, I’d love to let you profit from my signing in.

    Like

I'd love to hear what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s