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The WordPress Reader: Love It or Hate It?

Wordpress logo surrounded by rainbow cloud

Ah, WordPress. We love to complain about it in all its buggy glory, yet here we are. One of the things that divides people is the WordPress Reader, so let’s chat about it.

Doofus-friendlier

I’m very gung-ho WP Reader. It makes life so much easier. I don’t want blog notifications clogging up my inbox. And I am a doofus. With the Reader, everyone’s posts appear in one place (except when they don’t, which is annoying). I don’t have to go anywhere to see my notifications; they’re quick and easy to check. I can’t even imagine the buttloads of email notifications I’d have to wade through if I didn’t use the Reader. Yuck!

There are 2 people I follow on Blogger that I get email notifications from, and that’s plenty. There are some self-hosted bloggers I follow that I’d have to subscribe by email to get their responses to comments (and the responses of everyone else to that post), but that seems all kinds of excessive. Then again, if I have more than one email in my inbox, I start to get confused, so there’s that.

I read people’s posts in the Reader unless they (like me) don’t allow that, but I still arrive there from the Reader. My concentration is craptastic, and the uniform appearance, with dark text and white background in the Reader is so much easier to read. It doesn’t take much in terms of busy backgrounds or text that doesn’t stand out for me to give up and bail on trying to read.

I don’t really understand how people manage to not use the Reader. I’m dazed and confused enough as it is with it, and have strong doubts as to whether I’d still be blogging without it.

Show excerpts only in the Reader

Some annoying people, like me, won’t let you read their posts in the Reader; you have to click through to their actual site. Some of these blogs aren’t intending to be annoying; they’re self-hosted and use WordPress.org. I don’t actually know the details of how these folks get their blogs to show up (or not show up, as the case may be) in the Reader.

For the people like me who use WordPress.com and are annoying by choice, this is how to do it, if you’re so inclined.

My Sites > Settings > “Writing” tab > scroll down to “Feed settings” > toggle “Limit feed to excerpt only”

I first switched to excerpts only when I upgraded to the business plan. I was trying out running ads through Google AdSense, and ads don’t show up in the Reader, so to get a clear picture of whether or not I could make a bit of money that way, I forced people to the site itself. I eventually decided that was a failed experiment and I didn’t have the buttloads of visitors that you need to make money off of ads, so I briefly switched back to being viewable in the Reader.

The block editor

But then the block editor came along. I started using a lot of media+text reusable blocks in my posts. Those look really ugly in the Reader, because it doesn’t do fancy blocks. I’m too attached to the convenience of media+text reusable blocks, so back to excerpts only. I prioritize my convenience over yours because, well, it’s my blog and I’ll be annoying if I want to. 😉

So, that’s some of my thoughts on the Reader. I would love to hear yours!

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34 thoughts on “The WordPress Reader: Love It or Hate It?”

  1. I prefer using the reader because I just want to read text, I don’t want to see all the graphics and other assorted nonsense people clutter their blogs with. Of course if it is a photo-type blog then I just click “visit site” and I can get the full effect. I can have it any way I want! And no to getting email notifications – Oy! does that make a huge mess in your in-box. So, yeah, the WP Reader is a good thing.

  2. I definitely 💯 prefer reader over email notifications. I am a messy person and just don’t understand how to organize my blog email notifications so that’s where WordPress reader is helpful. I love, love, love coming on WordPress and having an option to read and comment through the reader itself. Basically, I’d be nothing without WordPress reader! Though, I do agree that WordPress gets buggy, and sometimes I don’t see some posts made by people I follow, still it’s a life saver 🥺Also, as someone who has few inline HTMLs in my blog posts agree that it gets frustrating when reader don’t support it.

  3. We have to click through to read your posts, but your site (still viewed in Reader) doesn’t allow us to “like”your posts. The button is just dead. We have to go back to the excerpt to like, where we also comment, too, like now.

    We use reader but posts shuffle their order randomly and we don’t like to scroll, so we miss some on occasion. We don’t follow many blogs but wouldn’t want to chase email anyway. We don’t consider how our posts show up to others except that sometimes we forget to put a title on a post and then go back to give readers an idea of wtf we’re posting about.

  4. I love reader too, especially when I’m on the go (or at the rink) – pre-covid that is. But I can’t get you to show up there. But that’s ok…I’ll figure it out.

    One thing I don’t like about reader though:

    If I see a new follower I want to check out the first thing I see is their latest post in reader. Which is fine. Next, I want to go to the About page. If they have one (I hope they do) I have to leave reader and go to their site.

    All pages are only accessible through the sites. So there’s that.

    Re block editor? I have, against my will, practiced it on both laptop and mobile and I’m getting used to it. But I’m still bitter that they forced us to learn. So…I’ll use it but I’m not happy about it. 😉

  5. When I used to blog here at WordPress, I loved the Reader, to read blogs I follow there, for knowing I won’t possibly have a distracting background if visiting the blog directly, as some blogs I follow don’t have a plain background or simple text. But as you mentioned and what I observed in only the last 2 years, I discovered I was missing some blog posts, even though I was signed up, so had to unfollow, and then re-follow to correct.
    I still use reader, but not often as now the blogs I follow, I follow via email. I don’t follow all blogs by email though. Currently only 37 out of 153.
    I find following by email better than I thought.
    Out of those I follow by email, two post very regular through the day and like when following by WordPress reader, I am not going to read everyone of them.
    Following by email is my way to go now and visiting the WordPress dashboard to check in replies, in case I need to resspond back, then while there, the ones I still follow, but not by email, I may check them out.

  6. 🙂 I love the WordPress Reader; I use it mostly for discovering new blogs.

    However, I like to press the “Visit” tab underneath the post in the WordPress Reader because it forwards me to the blogger’s website.

    I also use Feedly to follow a small portion of blogs (Your blog happens to be one of them).

    I have been using Feedly since my days over on Blogger.

    By the way, Ashleyleia, you can follow any website via your WordPress Reader. Simply copy the URL and paste it into the “Search” bar at the top of the WordPress Reader and an option to follow it will become visible underneath it (You can also use this method to follow Blogger blogs via your WordPress Reader).

    1. That’s good to know! There have been some blogs where new posts never show up in the Reader, and I have to change my settings to get a notification rather than simply having them show up in my Reader feed. I’ve never been sure why that happens, although I’m guessing it has to do with their RSS fees settings.

  7. I love the reader too, especially for the notifications like you said. I don’t mind clicking on the links to the website as long as the site is easy to read if I’m using my phone. I love swiping from one post to the next without having to go back, or use the notifications in the corner of my browser to go through my followed blogs in order. Much more convenient.

  8. I still never use it! I just like to click through my email notifications!! I must be old-school! (Gee, who’d’ve thunk it? Me, old-school?) But on the topic of the new block editor, I’m wholly onboard with it at this point, and I still love to use the classic block just all the time. I no longer feel like I’m making an adjustment, and I can’t even remember how it used to be!

  9. I personally enjoy reader. It’s a really nice way to keep track of the blogs I follow all in one place. Also being directed to your site to read full articles is not a bother or an annoyance on this end 🙂.

      1. Ooh good point Ashley, l knew you had written something, but my short term memory is so crazy at present, l wake up each morning and it is taking me five minutes to remember who l am …. you know what l mean? Thank you for the reminder.

  10. I would love to use the Reader more, but for now email notifications work best for me as i can read them when it suits me.

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