How Do You Read Blog Posts?

Blogging word cloud

I started this draft a long time ago, and then I got thinking about it again after seeing people’s comments a while back on my post The Mystery of the Blog Viewer But Non-Interacter. I tend to fall into the trap of thinking people read blog posts the same way I do, which is absolutely not the case. I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but that’s okay; let’s chat about some of the various ways.

WordPress Reader

The WordPress Reader gives you a handy little timeline of posts published by people you follow, plus you can search and follow tags and all that good stuff. People’s posts may or may not show up in the Reader; that’s been a bit of an issue.

I was recently reading on the WordPress support forum that RSS feeds from non-Wordpress.com blogs are only fetched at certain particular times (it didn’t say what those times were), so there’s a delay in newly published posts from self-hosted blogs showing up in the Reader. This was news to me.

Reader Notifications

You can also get WP to notify you of people’s new posts within the Reader, so the newly published post shows up in your notifications list under the little bell. I’ve recently started to do this for certain blogs that aren’t reliably showing up in my feed (which has been quite a few lately).

The screenshot below shows how you can set this up. Bring up the blog’s feed in the Reader, click the settings button, and toggle on “notify me of new posts.”

screenshot showing follower settings in the WordPress Reader

Website

Some blogs only show excerpts of their blogs in the Reader, so you have to visit their actual site (if you want to set this up, it’s under My Sites > Settings > Writing in the Feed Settings section). Certain block types aren’t visible in the Reader or they show up funny, and you can only see them properly on the blogger’s actual website.

Some sites, depending on the background and font colours used, can be very hard to read, and sometimes it makes me wonder if a blogger has actually looked at their site and realizes how hard it is to read. I’m a big fan of basic black text on white background for the main body of the text.

Email

I tend to forget this is an option since I never use it. I really have no idea how many people read via email. I know my site doesn’t have many email followers who don’t have a WordPress.com account, but I don’t know how many people with WordPress.com are reading via email. I don’t want blog stuff clogging up my inbox, so I don’t follow any blogs by email.

Other blog readers

There are assorted blog readers out there, like Bloglovin (which has since been shut down) and Feedly. I know Renard uses Feedly to follow some blogs as it’s more reliable than the WP Reader at actually showing people’s posts.

My own reading habits

I’m a big WordPress Reader fan. I get very easily overwhelmed, and the Reader helps cut way down on the overwhelm factor. I like to compartmentalize, and the Reader puts all my WordPress in one place. The Reader also minimizes visual noise, and having all posts look essentially the same cuts down on the mental energy required for reading.


What about you? How do you prefer to read blog posts?

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79 thoughts on “How Do You Read Blog Posts?”

  1. I use the reader for my reading as well. Often times I will click to read online only because I am curious what others website looks like. I tend to use the app on my phone for easiest access.

  2. I read through the reader on a browser, both phone and laptop, depending where I am. I know I miss some posts, and I am OK with that. I can’t be bothered making a list of favorites and visiting their actual pages every day like we did in the tymes of olde. I follow like 200 blogs anyway, so that is just impractical. I assume people understand if I haven’t liked or commented on something, if they even keep track. I don’t. I have no idea if a certain person has been avoiding my posts or even unfollowed me. Who cares? LOL

  3. I read almost entirely in email although some posts only come across as a snippet with a “read more of this post” link and then I read in a browser.

    But I’m curious about comments. If I comment on someone’s post and then get a notification in email that they liked it, the only way I know to check to see if they responded to the comment is to click through to the post again. Do you know if there’s another way to get comments on someone else’s post if I was using the WordPress reader?

    1. You can follow the conversation. In the app, in the comment section there is a follow button top right on the screen. This will notify you of any further comments on a post.

    2. If you’re in the desktop version of the Reader and click on your Gravatar i the top right corner, then click on “Notification Settings” and then the “Comments” tab, you can choose if/how you get notified when people like or reply to your comments on other sites.

  4. I follow via email, using the WordPress dashboard settings. I will then ckick on that email to read the blog post directly at the blog.

    Some other blogs, not on Words directly via email. But there is not many that are not with WordPress.

      1. Yes, I am surprised too this happened, as I signed up to my blog by emails as so I could check they were coming out fine. So to say this feature was going, I am surprised I still get enails from my blog.

  5. I interact mostly on the desktop. I like working on the computer, as opposed to my tablet or phone. Mostly so I can edit – you’d think things would be closer to perfect by now πŸ˜‰ I do like the reader in the web version – like you, I like to filter via various topics. I do, however, get emails from sites I stan on? Some daily, everyone once a week. Sunday’s email is always a little scary.

  6. I usually like to read blog posts in my email. If I like the posts, I can click on like right from the email. Although it will not let me do that with your posts. I have to actually click on the post from my computer to go into it and like it as it only says comment and not like. I can’t do that at all from my phone. From my phone, I have to go into the reader to find the post to like it which can be difficult to find if I read it the next day. It doesn’t seem to recognize my account when I get the email from my phone. It’s easier to read on my computer but not the most convenient. Sometimes email can be glitchy though. Sometimes I like posts via email but then it shows up later that I didn’t like them. I’ve had to stop email notifications for people who post multiple times a day since it blows up my emails too much. I don’t use WP notifications because it blows up my notifications too much and I can’t easily see my own notifications since for some reason I no longer get any notifications from WP on my phone. So basically I have to go into my account to see if someone commented which irritates me because I don’t know right away or constantly have to check my WP account if I want to respond in a timely manner. I wish with all the upgrades there was an easier way to stay up to date on the blogs I follow.

  7. I prefer the reader too. I like that it suggests other blogs to read with similar content. Took me awhile to find the preferences that allow me to say no to emails every time someone posts.

      1. I notice all my WordPress emails go to spam/junk no matter what I do… so having a different option was super helpful!

  8. I use the Reader because what else is there aside from being inundated with emails. Sometimes I use the bell thingy and sometimes I just click the “Reader” button. If the post looks interesting I’ll click through to the site but some blogs are so poorly put together that reading in the reader is the only sane option. (Yes, please look at your blog in the various formats – desktop/mobile – itsy-bitsy teeny weeny fonts drive me up the wall.) Mostly I’m reader on my desktop but when I’m reading on my iPad I use the bell thingy because the format that comes up is easier to read and comment if I so desire.

    1. That’s a very good point about people needing to look at their blog in different formats. I don’t look at mine as often as I should on my phone, and sometimes what I fid is pretty cringeworthy.

  9. I definitely prefer the Reader. I receive emails from WordPress when bloggers publish posts, but every week I just delete all of them….I am talking about hundreds of emails in a week. The Reader is great.

  10. I prefer the reader as well. I don’t always check and do end up missing some blog posts depending on the day. It’s nice to scroll through when I do log in and see everyone’s blogs.

  11. Speaking of, I am in need of a little technical assistance. How do you unfollow in email but keep access to various blogs at WordPress or at the little bell? Thanks in advance for your help! My email box is swamped but I don’t want to unfollow and have no notifications of new blogposts from folks at WordPress…..

    1. If you’re in the desktop version of the Reader, click on your Gravatar image in the top right corner. Then go to “Notification Settings.” Then click your blog name and it will show you a list of different notifications, and you can uncheck the tick boxes for email notifications.

  12. I have the really bad habit of reading but not interacting in any way. I’m trying to change that, but a lot of the time I don’t even think about it.

  13. I use WordPress Reader to read the blogs I follow. I’m self-hosted and I’ve had WP Reader take 17 hours to put up my blog before. By the time it showed up, not one could see it on their feed anymore, unless they scrolled down a while. Fortunately it has only happened a couple of times.

  14. πŸ™‚ I follow those blogs that truly matter to me via Feedly (It is a great way of not missing those blogs that I enjoy visiting).

    Then there is a portion of blog posts that I locate via the WordPress Reader; I press the “Visit” tab and that sends me directly to the person’s blog.

    I have also memorized a few URLs (I type them out in the address bar, press “Enter” and I visit them).

  15. I’ve done all of the above and I’m not sure I have a deeply strong preference for how to read others’ blogs. Maybe that is weird.

    The more interesting question would be why I read certain posts and not others. The title and first couple lines or so from the reader feed or my email (if the blogger’s setting don’t put the full post in the email) have to be intriguing enough for me to open it. Otherwise, I’ll just keep scrolling through my feed.

  16. Johnzelle Anderson

    I don’t like the WordPress reader, but it’s less annoying than email alerts. I just have to remind myself of patience when I go to the WordPress app because I know it can take a good 30seconds to load a new post on the reader.

  17. I tend to prefer visiting someone’s actual website, though through the reader. The reader makes it easy to access their blogs, but you can I like to pay my respects to the site itself, unless their site makes it difficult to read.

    I also tend to put out excerpts for my posts, but only because I feel the intros I write up won’t always give people a sense of what they’re getting into.

  18. I use the reader to see who posted what, but I go to their sites to read. This way I am helping them in their analytics and getting views not only for wordpress but google and ads (if they have them) too.
    I don’t read everything. I follow a lot of people and a lot of different topics, so I do have to scroll through my feed in the reader and see what will grab my attention. The title, image, and the first couple of sentences play a huge role, of course.
    Also, I think most people are quite loyal (me included), so they will go to web pages of people who liked or commented on their texts and see what has been published there. Community has its value, especially when you are following a lot of people and have a limited amount of time.
    I hope my answered helped. Stay well πŸ’š

  19. A great post Ashle as l was pondering on this the other day πŸ™‚

    I don’t use the reader, or read via email and that notification system is switched off anyway, or from other blog platforms or use apps.

    I do have however a directory within my hidden pages that displays to me the blogs l follow and the reading schedule l apply to them as in daily, weekly, two or three weekly, newbie or monthly that takes me directly to the website of the blogger l wish to read from.

    I don’t follow many blogs anyway on the personal GUY blog, so it’s never a huge issue for me anyway.

  20. I also prefer the reader. You made me think about what the heck I was thinking when I chose white text over hot pink (a color I don’t even care about). I’ll have to change that sometime soon. πŸ˜€

  21. I’m trying to get better at reading blog posts. I hate using WP on my phone so I stick to the reader on my desk top. It’s easier to leave longer comments too. Nice write up!

  22. I use the Reader, I get notified of some posts via email (although I’m thinking of dropping that, the volume is growing and is getting overwhelming), and others I find because I “trip” over them from reading someone else’s blog post and getting directed there. The Reader does have advantages certainly, everything is right there (theoretically). Some blogs (like yours) don’t show up in my Reader. I have no idea why either, which is why I’ve ticced the “email” notification box. I have probably ten or so blogs I follow that don’t show up as they’re supposed to and that has undermined my confidence in using the Reader exclusively. I like to mess about with the colors on the font, but I stick to a plain white background (there is wall paper on my blog, around the edges from my point of view, and a side bar with various jokes and statements I like. I’ve been told that it’s a bit too busy or too big/small? for easy reading via cell phone. I can’t ‘see’ my own blog from a cell phone perspective, I use a tower desktop PC only, because I’ve tried blogging on my tablet and wanted to run screaming from the experience. It’s far too difficult that way, courtesy of that $#!@ block editor B.S. and the modified keyboard AND the font is too small for me to comfortably see. No more of that for me. I’ll stick to my desktop, but I do appreciate suggestions, because honestly? I don’t know. Nice topic Ashley!

    1. I do most of my blogging on my laptop, and I find it so much easier than my phone.

      It’s so strange that some blogs/posts show up in the Reader and others don’t. It’s doesn’t seem like there’s any consistent characteristic of the sites that are affected that way.

  23. I mostly use the WP Reader on my smartphone simply because smartphones use less power and I had a tyrant landlady blaming me for the power bill despite how it’s _really_ not me using all that electricity.

  24. Every week, I go to the following section in WordPress reader and save all the posts from the pasts week to read later. I may also go into the explore section every once in a while to explore new blogs. I only read from WordPress reader. If a blog shows only the excerpt, I will not click on the website. I will unfollow that blog. I follow around 300 blog sites and keeping up with them all is overwhelming for me as it is. During the week, I go through the saved posts and read them in chronological order. I don’t skim or scan. I actually read them. I always click like, unless they said something I disagree with on a religious level. I occasionally comment because I don’t always have the energy. I had no idea that some blogs on WordPress reader are not from WordPress.

  25. I suppose I’m one of these odd people that actually like following blogs by email πŸ˜… I forget to use WordPress reader, but I check my mail often. I simply keep the email for post that seem interesting, but I go to WordPress reader to do what I do now: comment 😊 Some blogs I follow by getting links through a newsletter, these I usually view straight on the author’s site from the link in the newsletter.

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