Feedly is awesome. (At least, once I got my settings right)

by | Aug 7, 2013 | Social Media | 18 comments

There is life after Google Reader. Thank you, Feedly.

I blogged previously about Feedly and its emergence as a top alternative to Google Reader, but truth be told I was a Google Reader dead-ender. I stuck with it all the way until Google shut out the lights, a bit of stubborn denial that probably emanates from the same part of my brain that makes me root for the Sacramento Kings.

And yet, Feedly is here. And I love it. But I didn’t at first.

I don’t want my RSS reader to look like a magazine. I have magazines for that. I don’t want them to look like Facebook. I have Facebook for that. I don’t want it to look like… um you get the idea.

I want my RSS reader to be functional. I want to see every single headline (and just the headline). I don’t need anything fancy, I don’t want any curation at all (I have Twitter for that).

The Feedly desktop view provides roughly this experience in Title Only View, and “All,” which I set as my defaults. The “j” and “k” keyboard shortcuts that navigate between articles works just fine. All fine and dandy.

It was the mobile apps that gave me some trouble. By default, some articles would show up full screen:

Sometimes you as summaries:
I didn’t like this at all. Also, while I loved swiping up to move to the next articles, I would get to the end and realize I still had to mark everything as read. Confusing.
Then I discovered the Advanced Settings, where I set my Start Page to “All” (just my feeds please), switched on “Auto Mark as Read” (swipe up = read it, thank you), and the changed the Default View to “List,” which gives me just my articles plus a thumbnail. You can also do “Title Only” if you want to be strictly utilitarian, but I like the thumbnail for easy scanning.
With those changes, I actually prefer the mobile apps to any desktop RSS experience I’ve ever had.
Voila! How have you adapted to life after Reader? 


  1. Melanie Macek

    Okay, I hadn't even attempted to put anything in a reader. I just hopped from WordPress to Yahoo and back. Now that I've read your article and checked it out, I think I'm a convert. Thanks Nathan!

  2. haydenthorne.com

    I love Feedly. The learning curve didn't turn out to be too much (as I'd originally feared), and it can be added as an extension to Chrome. Since I don't read EVERY post that's there (not enough time), it's easy for me to skim over excerpts of all the updated articles and click on what strikes me the most. With Google Reader, I had to click past every new update.

  3. Kim Batchelor

    I still have a couple of things I'd like to fix, but so minor I haven't really tried too hard. I love Feedly, and early adopted it after the notice that Google Reader was on life support.

    My question: where can I get that Game of Thrones / Princess Bride mashup?

  4. Diane Henders

    I switched to Feedly right away. I was using Internet Explorer at the time, so I had to install FireFox just so I could run Feedly (no problem; I like FireFox). The initial Feedly interface was annoying, but, like you, I got it (more or less) whipped into shape by tweaking the settings and using the All view.

    Still, it was glitchy. Sometimes it wouldn't refresh. Sometimes it hung. Sometimes it didn't pick up my feeds at all. (You probably missed that phase if you stuck with Google Reader until the last moment.)

    They finally brought in the cloud version a little while ago. Ahhhh. Problems solved. I still don't like Feedly as well as Google Reader, but it's the best option I've found. Maybe I'll even learn to love it…

  5. Shad

    How have I adapted to life without Reader? I read this post on Feedly, which is meeting my needs every bit as well as you mentioned. Hope they keep the user experience good and stay free!

  6. Anma Natsu

    I also switched to Feedly, though I held out using Reader until the end. Like you, I really have no desire to have my RSS feeds delivered in a "magazine" format, and because of that I started to skip Feedly all together.

    However, I spotted an article talking about how to make Feedly almost exactly like how I had my Reader, so I gave it a try and followed the directions (basically what you did).

    I still miss reader, but Feedly is about as close as I can get and it does work well. I can still just see the headlines, right click to open the stories I want to check out (like this one :-D), and easily mark everything as read.

  7. Anonymous

    I've been using feedly and have been loving it, but am now discovering that some of the features have been taken away and only offered to pro accounts (the ever so handy "next" button and the evernote link – annoying!). I love it a little less, as I don't feel I should have to pay for the service I want for an RSS feeder – but I'm thinking about it. Other than that, it's fabulous and more enjoyable than the gmail reader.

  8. wondering2004

    I like Feedly – but am having a problem I had Reader – and when I try to add a new RSS feed it wants to go over to Reader – how do I get rid of Reader permanently? Thanks.

  9. Nadine Brandes

    I'm so excited you just posted on this topic. I hadn't heard of Feedly and, only yesterday, started asking on forum for a good suggested alternative to Google Reader.

    I'm excited to try it, especially after your approval of it and the positive feedback in the comments section.

  10. PatriciaW

    Ok. Just ok. Still miss two features of Google Reader: (1) ability to search my feeds to find posts on a particular topic and (2) auto marking as read while scrolling through the unread posts. If I only get partially through the unread posts, the "Mark As Read" feature wants to mark everything in the category, not just the ones I've scrolled past.

  11. Kayci Morgan

    I've never used Google Reader, I've been using Feedly since I first realized there was no way I could follow so many blogs by visiting each of them every day.

    I like it to look like a magazine. I think it's super cool. Though when I saw your imagine I thought Feedly was advertising itself on my page and got mad for a second. Ha!

  12. Peter Dudley

    Haven't yet really used the iPad version of Feedly, but I really like the "title only view" on the desktop. Easy to keep up to date on the blogs I follow. I'm a fan.

  13. Diana Hunter

    I used bloglines BGR (Before Google Reader) and am still using it AGR (After Google Reader). My cell phone is just a phone (well, and a camera, a calculator and an alarm clock) which means I'm a desktop kinda gal. So the bloglines interface works for me. In fact, it's how I read your posts! 🙂

  14. LadySaotome

    I switched to Netvibes & am very happy. One dashboard for my reader, the other to replace my igoogle since that is biting the dust soon, too.

  15. Autumn

    I switched to NewsBlur, which is just like Google Reader but better IMO (it lets you know when feeds haven't received posts in a while, it will fetch text for you, etc.). On the downside, it's not free unless you want to join a wait list, but I don't have a problem paying for sw I use regularly.

  16. Meghan Ward

    I subscribed to Feedly before Google Reader died but haven't used it yet. I have my favorite blogs memorized and tend to find the rest through Twitter links and FB and Google+ posts. Still, I'm glad I have it and will refer to this post to tweak my settings the next time I log on.

  17. Deb

    I haven't been able to work out how to get rid of stuff I've read from Feedly on the iPhone App, so thanks for the advice about Advanced Settings. Will go and suss that out!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hi, I’m Nathan. I’m the author of How to Write a Novel and the Jacob Wonderbar series, which was published by Penguin. I used to be a literary agent at Curtis Brown Ltd. and I’m dedicated to helping authors chase their dreams. Let me help you with your book!

My blog has everything you need to know to write, edit, and publish a book. Can’t find what you need or want personalized help? Reach out.


I’m available for consultations, edits, query critiques, brainstorming, and more.



Need help with your query? Want to talk books? Check out the Nathan Bransford Forums!