Today, it has been announced by Google that a number of their products will be closing this year, you can read the full story on TechCrunch. For bloggers, the main closure we need to be worried about is the closure of Google Reader. Many blogger will be using Google Reader as a way to keep track of their favourite websites and blogs, it’s certainly the easiest way for bloggers on the Blogger network (also owned by Google) to interact and follow blogs.
What will happen to Google Friend Connect?
Most of us use Google Friend Connect to follow blogs and this is done via Google Reader, so although I can’t find any evidence that GFC will be axed too, it makes sense that this is likely to happen soon too. There are ways to link other RSS feeds to your GFC account, but it’s not straight forward and unless Google are going to tweak the mechanic of how it works, I don’t think it’s as appealing as it has been until now.
What are the alternatives?
There are loads of alternatives to Google Reader for keeping track of blogs, you can find some suggested alternatives here, on Mashable. However, when it comes to bloggers, there are already a number of other ways you can use for following blogs and in my opinion (being a WordPress blogger) I’ve always preferred anyway…
Hello Cotton – My blog reader of choice, I love the magazine style interface I find it very enjoyable and easy to use. I also love the keyword tracking feature. Hello Cotton is also consistently within my top five referring websites for traffic too. You can find my profile on Hello Cotton here.
Bloglovin’ – I’m sure lots of bloggers will instantly start pimping their Bloglovin’ pages, as it’s the platform most of us are used to. I’m not a huge fan of it for reading, but it’s there if you prefer it over Hello Cotton. You can also login via Facebook, which makes it appealing. You can find my Bloglovin’ profile here.
She Said Beauty – I’m currently having issues with this site, because it doesn’t actually directly link to your blog, so to me, I’m not a huge fan and therefore haven’t spent a lot of time on it. I hear that they are working on making it link to your site better, but not seen anything yet. They do put a link at the top linking to the original source, but in essense it’s just your content duplicated somewhere else, so you miss out on the value of traffic and comments on your site sometimes. Anyway, keep an eye on it and check it out here.
Facebook – This is a great example of when curating a Facebook Fan Page for your blog comes in handy, there’s lots of easy ways to automatically post new blogs to a Facebook Page, I use Networked Blogs. It’s super simple and I find that again, it’s consistently a top five traffic referrer for me. Find my blog on Facebook here.
Google+ – Part of the decision by Google to delete some of their existing products is to encourage more users to switch over to Google+ instead, I love the idea of Google+ and it’s going to become increasingly important in regards to SEO, but with so few people using it and the lack of a link with any other networks, doesn’t make it so appealing right now. However, if you want to get ahead of the game, it’s worth at least starting to learn how it works. I find it really frustrating that I have to login and post content manually at the moment, when I’m already busy on Twitter and Facebook, this seems like a chore, Find my page here.
Twitter – I love Twitter, you should all know that already. Every month, it’s consistently my main source of traffic and I get a lot of interaction there. Follow your favourite bloggers and you can find their latest posts there. Alternatively, you can use the Twitter list function to collect together feeds on blogs you want to read regularly.
Google Friend Connect, Levelling the Playing Field…
Ok, so for many of us loosing Google Friend Connect would be the end of the world. Here’s a little reminder though, WordPress bloggers have been without it for quite a long time and still managed to exist and grow. I only got GFC in November due to some clever trickery from Ms Drifted Snow White and although I have seen more comments and a little more traffic, I know that I can grow without it too.
I think too many brands and PRs use GFC as a measure of influence, when really it’s not an accurate measure, there’s more to take into consideration than the GFC number. So if we were to loose GFC I feel that it would be a great opportunity for WordPress bloggers and smaller bloggers to get noticed. I’m interested to see how things will change.
Got any questions? Let me know!
What will you be using instead of Google Reader?
Comments and tweets to @JayneJRead appreciated!