Friday, March 26, 2021

Your blog in a feed reader


Woman wearing headphones and speaking into a large microphone

Unless you disable the option, your readers can subscribe to your blog in a feed reader. 

Feeds are the open-source alternative to subscribe-by-email and to following.

Here's how they work.

By default, Blogger blogs come with feeds that are like broadcast channels.

Like a broadcast, and unlike subscribe-by-email or following, there is no way to tell who is listening. 

But if you write engaging posts, perhaps some of those "listeners" will leave comments and share links with others.

Readers can capture your posts with feed readers such as Feedly and NewsBlur (and there are many others). 

Your reading list, which shows all the websites you follow, is a feed reader.

Your feed

Feeds are a basic web technology. Both subscribe-by-email and follow are your feed with a specialized wrapper. 

Like the other feed-based options, if you turn off your feed or take your blog private, the feed will stop. 

If you limit your feed in the settings, by size or jump-break, you will limit what gets broadcast out (with a "read more" option after each item). This is actually a pretty good strategy.

Since you are broadcasting, there is no way for you to add anyone to your feed. The feed goes out to all who want it.

History with a Blogger twist

Ten years ago, the most popular and useful feed reader was Google Reader. Google pulled the plug on Reader in 2013—an event that to this day inspires fears that Google is going to drop other services.

Today, the closest thing Google has to Reader is the reading list that is exclusive to Blogger.

Learn more: subscribe • follow • overview

Thanks to Tulane University for making the radio image available via a creative commons license.


  1. I like the Older Reeder and the reader (you can place any website on it). The end of Google Reader, Orkut and investments in social tools on Blogger in favor of the failed Google Plus left me with a foot in the back. I love Blogger, but for security I transferred my main site to WP.

    1. Blogger is badly in need of a renewed social layer. Incidentally you can put any website feed on the Reading List, too—it's not just for following blogger blogs.

    2. Yes, I know that ;)

      There should be tools that allow interaction between the platform's blogs (this is more or less what Google Reader allowed). Another thing that destroyed the community atmosphere was the retirement of "Blogs of Note".

    3. I miss Blogs of Note too! I still follow some of them.

  2. The lack of confidence in Google makes me use this wonderful tool that is Blogger more for static sites than for traditional blogs, like this one, in which I present a course from my catholic parish:

    Blogger is so good that, in this case, for me, surpass Google Sites.

  3. I still don't quite get feeds. Is it a stripped down way to view a blog so you're basically just reading text, aren't you? I found feeds a bit dated but since I've never quite used them, what do I know?

    You've mentioned subscribe-by-email and follow but what about the Posts and All Comments feeds? I think I remember having them but then I seemed to have lost them and then I forgot put them back. Do you think they're necessary?

    Have a lovely day.

    1. Though I have really only scratched the surface here, I hope this post is a good introduction to feeds. I will try to answer some of the points you raise.

      1) Depending on how you configure your feed, it can include formatted text and images. See the Feedburner feed of this blog, for instance.

      2) The Posts feed is the blog feed, but there are also feeds for labels (all posts labeled "feed," for instance) and for comments (and for comments to specific posts).

      3) These are quite useful in making different gadgets and automated lists. There are solutions that let you show your blog in reverse order that are feed based.

      And of course, no feed, no following or subscribe by email.

    2. It all seems complicated for no reason but okay. Thanks for answering my query.

      Have a lovely day.

  4. They did just drop another service. . .subscribe by email. That is, starting in July, Feedburner won't support email subscriptions. I can't believe that they did this. It seems like they want to kill Blogger.

    I have over 1,000 email subscriptions that this will wipe out, reducing my blog to unread, overnight.

    I really need a work around on this one. Help!

  5. Hey Adam,
    I am also looking for your take on what to do after Feedburner stops delivering to subscribed emails. My current plan is to export all subscriber emails then import them to my AWeber email marketing accoount. (like MailChimp or Constant Contact) In Aweber, there is a way to grab the Blogger blog's feed and send each post out in email. But, that's so much more work than just using the Subscribe via email gadget in Blogger.
    Any chance there is a 3d party gadget? Or any suggestions for something easier?

    1. Chris and others, I am in the same boat as everybody. My sense is that this will be painful and, potentially, expensive, but that high-volume bloggers might discover that the paid services are actually better for them.

      We have until July on this, so I am hoping the choices will become clearer over the next few months.

    2. High-volume bloggers should simply switch to By paying the cheapest plan, they will have an efficient email subscription system and human support, not these cold and robotic things from Google. I think it is the best cost benefit. Make a post announcing the change and ask subscribers to subscribe to the new site.

    3. @Thiago, WordPress is a fine platform, but this transition is not a trivial one and probably involves loss of readership for an established blog. Personally I would not choose it just to get automated email subscription, since that service is also available without switching.

    4. I'm also really hoping for a 3d party gadget. Or for Google to change its mind. Google seems determined to driver Blogger users away.

      On that, I've been blogging over a decade and have several blogs, but if this can't be worked out, I may just give it up.

  6. If the blog has its own domain, I believe that the loss will not be great. In addition, we must think about what this type of change means: once again Google shows a lack of commitment to Blogger. First, they left Feedburner abandoned for years; then they renewed the Blogger platform, creating templates where the email signature had a beautiful widget, which would be an indicator of investments in this area (which has become hot again, see examples like Substrack), but, suddenly, everything is imploded. This context is very complicated.

    1. I assume this was supposed to thread after Thiagos' earlier comment about WordPress, above.

      I just want to caution that is is not a step to be taken lightly. Every backlink will break, except to the home page, for one thing.

    2. I'm oddly in agreement with both of you. Google seems intent on killing blogger (but then also often the actions of IT people mystify regular people by making things more difficult for no clear reason). At the same time, starting a new blog where an old one has many subscribers, on a new platform, essentially kills the old one off.

      I'm really hoping for a work around on this.