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:
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).
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.
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:
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
Tag: Freshly Pressed
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
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
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
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 Reader—click the Settings icon from ‘Blogs I Follow’ or use this link.