From Bloglovin’ to Flowreader

14th March 2017

My dislike of Bloglovin’ is no secret. I’ve moaned about it on Twitter and in several blog posts including “My thoughts on blogging…if I owned Bloglovin'”.

Since writing that post, Bloglovin’ has got worse and worse and it is clear that they don’t care about their users anymore.

Most recently, Bloglovin’ has added a feature where by you can leave comments on a blog without ever leaving Bloglovin’ to visit the blog, which of course has an impact on your referrals. Now you can even write and publish blog posts on Bloglovin’, so it’s seems like it’s becoming more of a blogging platform as opposed to a feed reader.

Despite all the flaws I continued to use it because I couldn’t find a better reader, but I was annoyed with myself for supporting a company I hated so much.

That was until Georgie recommended Flowreader to me as alternative way to keep up with my favourite blogs.

Getting started with Flowreader

My initial thought when I first started using Flowreader was “This isn’t very visual.” and no, it’s not as visual as Bloglovin’, but actually this doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. It’s easy, as they say, to “judge a book by its cover” with Bloglovin’ because images are so predominate on the site. With Flowreader you can only see the title and the Favicon from the blog which makes it easier to recognise which post each blog is from.

I started by adding just a few of my favourite blogs to my feed, just to get a feel of how it worked, but ended up adding all my favourite blogs that I’d previously read through Bloglovin’.

Spring cleaning

Going through the list of blogs I followed on Bloglovin’ made me realise just how many blogs I was following that I’d never read before.

There was a time a few years back when I announced that I would follow back anyone that followed me on Bloglovin’ and this was a stupid idea because my feed just filled with stuff I wasn’t interested in. Then I started attending blogging events and doing “follow for follow” with random strangers I’d met and again my feed just got more jam packed then ever before.

Moving to Flowreader gave me a chance to have a clear out and only follow the blogs I really enjoy reading. It all feels so fresh and welcoming.

A few of my favourite blogs were a little problematic to add to my feed. While most can easily be added by just typing in the URL and clicking “Add”, some URLs didn’t work and I instead had to go in search of their RSS feed. In most cases, adding /feed or /rss to the end of the URL resolved the problem.

From Bloglovin' to Flowreader

The advantages

As I previously mentioned, Flowreader is not as visual as Bloglovin’ but this actually makes it more streamline. When I open up my feed I can see all of my unread posts (the bold ones) at a glance.

As with Bloglovin, you can read the entire post in the Flowreader feed itself, but if you click on the post title it will open the blog in a new window. Unlike Bloglovin’, you can’t comment on posts in Flowreader. Hooray!

Another feature of Flowreader that I like is the ability to easily share posts you love on Facebook and Twitter, and I also like the “Save for later” option. Flowreader is much more than just a blog reader as you can integrate social media feeds as well. I’m still getting to grips with all these additional features but I’m already in love with the blog feed.

There is a Flowreader app which is free to download and is pleasant to use. It doesn’t crash, unlike the Bloglovin’ app.

Any disadvantages?

One thing Bloglovin’ users might miss if they choose to move to Flowreader is the Discover/Explore section on Bloglovin’ which helps you to find new blogs to read. I thought I’d miss it too but to be honest, I used to just getting annoyed with seeing the same old bloggers time and time again sharing generic posts that I don’t care about.

I swear to god if I see one more “{insert number here} habits of successful people” or “How to be a successful blogger” blog post I’ll throw my laptop out of the window!

The only other real disadvantage I’ve found with using Flowreader is sometimes it’s a little slow to update. I know I’ve seen this when I’ve published a post on my blog and it takes a while to show in my feed (yes I follow myself – don’t judge me!).

Yes, I recommend it!

Of course I recommend Flowreader. I mean, anything is better than Bloglovin’, but I genuinely enjoy using Flowreader. It’s made following along with my favourite blogs easier than ever before and in a way it’s made me fall in love with reading blogs all over again.

Since converting to Flowreader I have removed the Bloglovin’ app from my phone and I haven’t touched the website on my computer. There’s no need. Everything I want is on Flowreader. As Georgie said herself “It does exactly what I want. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Do you hate Bloglovin’ as much as me? What do you think of all their new features?

Have I managed to convince you to give Flowreader a try?!

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  1. As you know, I really hate Bloglovin, and (almost) always have. First of all, how they handle blogs. That you can’t add and delete your own blogs. I found a way by using a domain I don’t use for blogging, install whatever platform with a feed, add it to Bloglovin and move all followers to that url. Then remove whatever I installed there. The problem is that if you change your mind you can’t add your blog back again (which is another reason why Bloglovin sucks). And other than that – Bloglovin is just packed with fashion, makeup and business blogs, those with tons of followers are first in the list and still they have some infinite scrolling feature you can never get down to the blogs with the least followers (which often are the most interesting blogs). I’ve been browsing there endless hours without ever finding anything interesting.

    And what you mention about comments and publishing… it’s just ugly. Bloggers want pageviews, especially that kind of bloggers that are on Bloglovin. And people spend lots of time designing their blogs and make everything look nice and clean, and then people don’t even see it.. it’s a shame encouraging readers to never leave Bloglovin… A blog directory should generate visits to the actual blog, otherwise it’s useless in my opinion. I’ve always disliked feed readers for this reason. I want to visit blogs, see creativity, otherwise I could just use whatever social media site.

    I did see the advantage on Bloglovin to check new posts on certain blogs, but really, I don’t need a reader. In recent years the number of interesting blogs have decreased a LOT and I don’t really need a reader for it, the blogs I read regularly are in a special folder in my bookmarks bar. I see some (like yours) on Twitter. That’s good enough for me.

    • Holly

      Wow! I didn’t realise how could complicated it can get. You should have the right to remove your blog if you want. I haven’t removed mine from the site because I know that some people still use it to follow me, and I’m happy to give people the option, but I’m so glad I found a better feed for following my favourite blogs.

      Reading blogs in Bloglovin’ is horrific. They turn links to Youtube video into embeded videos for instance, and it just looks a mess!

      I feel like I need a reader because I follow quite a few blogs and sometimes my Twitter feed gets a little saturated.

  2. I use Feedly and like it a lot. I’ve always preferred RSS readers from the good old Google Reader days . . . until they got rid of it. Then I had to use some other alternatives, but then I got with Feedly and am happy with them. I used to like the title/list format you’re using on Flowreader, but now I prefer the card view instead.

    • Holly

      I tried Feedly a few years ago and I can’t remember why I didn’t like it. 🤔

      I don’t think I ever used Google Reader!

  3. Rae

    Really happy to have come across your blog as this post was informative and I am now going to check out Flowreader. I still use bloglovin’ but I have noticed as well – although not as directly – that they have made several changes as of late – and yes you are right these changes may be based more upon driving up revenue than being good to their user base, which is maybe logical and the sad truth when you are a company but sad none the less. In terms of Flowreader, do you think the user base is very different? I feel like bloglovin’ users are other bloggers themselves, but looking around Flowreader I get the feeling that the user base is a lot broader and possibly more serious?

    Oh and honestly, when it comes to the discovery aspect of bloglovin’ or even their “blogs related to” I feel like it’s always just the same bloggers appearing who have huge numbers and is more based on this than quality or relevancy.

    Rae | LFB Blogazine

    • Holly

      Yay! I hope you like it!

      Bloglovin’ has definitely become all about the money. It’s sad because it had so much potential to be a positive place for bloggers, but now I just hate it.

      I guess Flowreader does have a different user base. You can’t see who is following you so it is just a reader. Personally I like that because it’s easy to get wrapped up in the numbers and worrying about how many followers you have.

      I hate seeing the same bloggers time and time again promoted on Bloglovin’. I also used to get recommended a lot of inactive blogs which was annoying when I was trying to find new blogs to follow.

  4. Hey. I came here after seeing you tweet about flowreader. And after reading the post flowreader sounds amazing. I needed something to catchup with blogs and this seems great. I couldn’t use bloglovin too much any way. Off to check flowreader and empfire will be my first to be added there 😀😁

  5. Wow! I had no idea you could leave comments through Bloglovin’. I think that’s really interesting in a weird way. I personally like visiting blogs but I think it speaks to the way people are used to instant gratification. And I also feel like there are plenty of bloggers out there who leave comments for the sake of leaving comments (not because they actually want to) and I feel they would probably enjoy a feature like that. Which I guess is the kind of audience Bloglovin’ is aiming for.

    But that’s great you found an awesome alternative! I’ve been using WordPress.com as my feed reader. I’ve found that it’s more convenient for my needs and I like it more than Bloglovin’, which I’ve tried to use before. And I also discovered you can follow non-Wordpress blogs too! It doesn’t have that “save for later” feature though, which is too bad since it sounds really convenient!

    • Holly

      Yeah, when they first introduced it I thought it would leave comments on the actual blog but it just leaves comments on the Bloglovin’ account. I don’t get the point! I guess I’m just not in Bloglovin’ target market.

      Oh I didn’t realise you can follow non-Wordpress blogs with the WordPress’s feed reader! That’s so handy!

  6. I’ve used Bloglovin as a ready for several years now. I guess, I’m never on it long enough to form too many opinions about it. But the things you’ve pointed out are definitely on point. I just never noticed. I was hoping to find a new way to add the more recent bloggers I’ve been finding. I’ll definitely give this flowreader a chance.

  7. They do seem to be aiming more towards being a blogging platform. Which I don’t actually have an opinion on since I’ve never really used the site. I was a big fan of Google Reader back when it was a thing, so I’ve gotten used to having just a list of RSS feeds. Bloglovin was just an endless list of posts and I found it difficult to keep track of what I’ve read and not read, so I gave up on it pretty much as soon as I found it. It was just way too bulky and disorganised.
    The exploring function is interesting though, and the only part of Bloglovin I’ve actually used a few times.
    I have my own blog listed there, but that’s just to make things easier for the people who do use Bloglovin.

    I use Feedly nowadays, and love it! It shows you the post title, thumbnail if available, and the first few paragraphs of the post. You can also organise your subscriptions and make different categories of your own choosing, which is a huge deal to me as I subscribe to many different types of sites (webcomics, news sites etc.) and like to keep them separate.
    Never used Flowreader, but it seems nice too :)

    • Holly

      Ah I remember Google Reader!

      Yes, I found it hard to keep track of what I’d read on Bloglovin’. Once you read a post they’d remove it from your feed altogether, but I prefer the way Flowread just sort of un-highlights the posts as you read them.

      I’ve seen a lot of people mention Feedly. I tried it once but I never got on with it. Flowread also allows you to categorise the blogs you follow which is handy.

  8. I’m so glad you like Flowreader. I disliked Bloglovin ever since I realised they were just promoting the same people and trying to create a community amongst bloggers but not giving lesser-known bloggers attention. They seemed to write off anyone with less than 5000 followers and consider 5000 followers on the lower end… what.

    I don’t really use the preview in Flowreader, I just open most posts right away by clicking on the link. The preview is nice but I found that it doesn’t always play well with some photos and emoji/emoticons and makes them really big amongst the text. 😆 Just a minor gripe, haha.

    I also follow myself (ahahahah) but usually I do one refresh and the new post pops up!

    • Holly

      I still remember that time they ran a competition to see who could gain the most followers in a given space of time! What a joke! They also have the Bloglovin’ awards with the same nominees every bloody year!

      Yes, I like to see blog posts in their natural habitat, as it were. I recently viewed a blog post I had wrote in Bloglovin’ and their reader have decided to embed a Youtube video using a link I’d added to my post and it looked terrible because it placed it in the middle of a sentence! Grrrr!

  9. There are some things that annoy me at Bloglovin, so I will try flowreader to see if it will be more my style. I don’t like the comments on bloglovin or the fact that they are keep pushing forward the same few bloggers. I would like to see new bloggers, maybe I like their blogs more.

    • Holly

      I hope you like it! It would be great if they supported new and “smaller” bloggers more. After all, they’re the ones who need the promotion more.

  10. Natasha

    Thanks for this, I have to say Bloglovin has been bugging me a while with all it’s changes and the whole blog platform format has really put me off using it because I no longer see it as a feed. So I will definitely give this a try and thanks for the recommendation.

    • Holly

      Yeah, it seems much more than a feed now, and not in a good way.

      I hope you love Flowreader as much as I do!