Necessary tool, or one more username and password to forget? The what, why, and how of bloglovin’.
While catching up with your favorite bloggers, you’ve probably seen an invitation to “follow me on bloglovin’!” in more than one sidebar.
What is bloglovin’? Don’t you already follow the blog in your Reader? Do you really have to sign up for another online account? Let’s take a look at why lots of bloggers are signing on.
What is it?
Bloglovin‘ is a tool for keeping up with blogs — a way to manage feeds. Lots of bloggers turned to it after the demise of Google Reader. When you create an account there, you can follow any blogger on any platform, whether or not they’re also signed up. Then, you can log in and see the latest posts from all the blogs you follow in one spot. There’s also an app, so you can catch up with your reading on the go.
Unlike with Google Reader, you don’t read posts on bloglovin’. (Sort of.) Clicking a post title brings up the full post on the blogger’s own site; this means you can easily leave comments, and the blogger gets credit for a page view. Here’s a post on my personal blog, viewed via bloglovin’:
As you can see, it’s my site — but inside a bloglovin’ frame. A reader can close the frame and hang out on my blog, or use the tools in the frame to navigate between the other blogs they follow. Here’s a close-up:
(The settings also allow you to turn off the frame, so you can use bloglovin’ as a simple feed reader.)
Bloglovin’ also lets me explore other blogs I might be interested in. I can browse and follow blogs by topic…
… or look at popular posts in each topic:
In these cases, I’m limited to blogs that are signed up with bloglovin’ (in their terminology, blogs that have been “claimed”), so I’m not exploring the whole world of blogs.
Great… but can’t I just use the WordPress.com Reader?
Yes, you can! The Reader serves a pretty similar function:
(Not sure what the differences between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress blogs are? Here’s a primer.)
- You can like and comment on WordPress.com blogs, and soon, you’ll be able to do that for self-hosted WordPress blogs too.
- You can follow anyone in the Reader, including non-WordPress.com blogs. You can add any blog with a feed to your Reader — Blogger, Tumblr, whatever.
- You can browse any topic. You can also explore a curated collection of WordPress.com blogs in popular topics like photography, travel, politics, food, and more on the Recommended Blogs page, and read great posts on a range of topics on Freshly Pressed.
You might not want to log in to another site to keep track of blogs when you’re already logging in to WordPress.com regularly. That said, there are two good reasons you to consider using bloglovin’ in conjunction with WordPress.com:
- To follow blogs and keep track of unread posts. Bloglovin’ shows you what posts have been published since your last login, making your blog-reading more efficient — no more scrolling through a list of blogs, wondering where the new stuff starts.
- For a traffic boost. Shockingly, the whole world is not on WordPress.com.* Bloglovin’ users love blogging, and love exploring what bloggers have to say about the topics they care about. That is: it’s a community of potential new readers. “Claim” you blog, and it can appear in bloglovin’s topic and popular post pages.
Want to give your posts visual punch, but aren’t a photographer or artists? There are plenty of places to find high-quality, free-to-use images.
Bloglovin’ is a site full of people who want to find your blog. If they’re WordPress.com members, they might find you in the Reader organically — but if they’re not, bloglovin’ is a great way to get your posts in front of readers-to-be. Its highly visual, Pinterest-esque layout makes posts look extra-appealing and clickable. If you’re trying to grow an audience, creating a bloglovin’ account and claiming your blog is a free, low-hassle way to introduce your blog to a whole new group of fans.
* Yet. Bwahaha.
How do I sign up?
If you just want to use bloglovin’ to manage the blogs you follow, head over and register for an account. You can create a new account or log in with Facebook, and the site will walk your through adding blogs to its service.
To “claim” your blog, you’ll first need to register for an account. Once you’re logged in, hover over the blue heart in the top right-hand corner of your screen, and select “Add blog” from the drop-down menu that appears. Follow bloglovin’s prompts to find your blog, and bloglovin’ will generate a little piece of HTML code for you:
You’ll need to enter this snippet of HTML into a new post on your blog — this is how you prove it’s your blog. Select and copy this HTML, start a new post, and paste the HTML into the post using the Text Editor. Then, head back to bloglovin’ and click “Claim blog.”
After you successfully claim your blog, you can delete the HTML if you’d like. Now, when you log in to bloglovin’ and head to “My Blogs,” you’ll be able to see stats on how many people are reading and following your blog via bloglovin’. You can choose to use bloglovin’s reader capacity in addition, or just claim your blog and let it ride.
We also recommend that you spend a few minutes tweaking your profile and settings (also accessed via that little blue heart). Here, you’ll find tools to create a “Follow me on bloglovin'” badge for your blog, as well as all kinds of notification and email delivery settings.
So what’s the real answer to our opening question: “do you really have to sign up for another online account?” The answer is (don’t hate me!), “it depends.” WordPress.com, which most of you are already using, includes plenty of tools for finding, following, and promoting blogs. However, if you’re in serious audience-development mode, bloglovin’ is a low-effort way to expose your blog to a larger community.