Blogging just got a whole lot less important

I intended to say something about returning from camping. WordPress changed my mind about that. I have my doubts whether anyone will read this post, because I have my doubts about whether anyone will find it now. I have a cool photo from camping, and I'm not including it on purpose. I want to see how this post comes across.

WordPress changed its Reader design this afternoon. I don't like it, and wonder if WordPress continues to hold the value for me now. As of today, they are taking my (your) content and spreading it across a white page. If you decide to read this post it has all the appeal of a typewritten letter. Gone is a link to my site, the one I change the wallpaper on every month, the one that is as individual as I am, the one where my book covers are proudly displayed.

There is no point in coming to my site if you can get the content via reader. Those people will never see my cool covers, and their all important links. They will never see my free paper dolls either. I've never hidden the fact that I started this blog to connect with people who might want to actually buy my books. Future connections are going to be a lot harder to make.

The new Reader is designed around photos and images. I'm not a photographer, I'm a writer. I think a decent image can help out a post, but most of my posts are written words.

I tested my re-blog post of Mae Clair's announcement. The first click was a boring white sheet about my reblog. You have to click again to read more, in fact you have to click three times to get to Mae's site. People will never do this. This could mean the end of any value in reblogging something interesting. Reblogging shows support, but if I reblog something I kind of hope my fans will check it out. Now it's kind of similar to another like button.

The like button remains on the Reader. This means you can like a post without reading it. If you bother to read it, there is no like button. (But you can like comments from there.) You have to click all the way through to the original post before getting the option of showing your appreciation. (Or go back.) I sincerely doubt this will happen. I honestly read your posts before I click “like.”

I have a concern about stats too. If people view content in the Reader, but don't follow through to my site, will I be able to track my progress?

When I clicked through to my site, it was displayed as a single post. I like the fact that people could scroll down and read more, now they can't.

I like having my categories displayed in the sidebar. If someone enjoys one of my Idea Mill posts, maybe they want to open the category and read more of them. I honestly don't believe anybody is going to click four or five times to get there.

The value in WordPress was that I got an original site to display something about myself. WordPress just stripped me away and homogenized us all.

Like I said, I have my doubts whether anyone will find this post. If you're out there knock twice, or something. What do you think about the new Reader?

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90 Comments

Filed under Blogging

90 responses to “Blogging just got a whole lot less important

  1. Without commenting on the rest of your post, as I haven’t fiddled with the new Reader yet, I’m pretty sure you’ve NEVER gotten site hits from pages viewed there, which is why sometimes you can see more likes on a post than your page has had hits.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I always click the part where is used to say “x more words”. That took me directly to your site to read your posts. But, hey, at least someone found this post. I’m off to try the WordPress app next.

      Like

      • Ah, but I found it through Twitter. ๐Ÿ™‚

        My suspicion– not to crap all over your comment thread or anything like that– is that most actual readers have your page bookmarked and aren’t using the Reader anyway. It’ll be interesting to see if engagement drops over the next couple of weeks. Then again, you just said yourself that you usually read me through the Reader, so maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • People use multiple methods, including independent RSS feeds, and email. Reader is a pretty important part of the mix. You’re building a platform. I’m sure getting folks to see the book covers and other options is nearly as important as your most recent post.

        Like

      • That’s what I also used to do when borrowing my wife’s Ipad. It is a bit disconcerting to find that link missing. On the PC version of WordPress’ reader, some articles now have a link saying “There’s More, visit [site name] for more”, but I don’t think the presence of the link is based on the length of the post. Perhaps it’s based on the theme being used by the site, or whether the author placed one of those “more” tags.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have access to a PC tomorrow. I’ll see what the difference is. Thanks.

        Like

  2. (Goes and looks)

    Yeah, that’s heinous.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have concerns about the new reader view too.. especially since it takes a while to get to the blogs themselves…. I’m willing to give it a little time to see what the benefits might be but.. I didn’t really see problem with the old one.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I get most of my posts by email that I like to read regularly. Honestly, people not in my email lists don’t get read to very often as I rarely use the reader. I’ve just been really busy. I’m so ashamed.

    Off to check my reader.

    Like

  5. I’m on your page now, with the groovy mushroom background and your book covers, like always. I use my laptop for WP and I just right click the titles with “Open in new tab” so this change in readership will not affect me. I open all the tabs I want, see all the pages, read what I like, Like what I liked reading and comment accordingly. No change from this reader.
    All that being said, I don’t like the new reader. — insert sad face emoticon with pouring tears —

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I just logged out of WordPress and logged back in as I wasn’t aware they changed the Reader today. But now that I see the new design, I agree with you, and I don’t like it either. What’s the point of designing a theme if people only see a white page? As you mention, most visitors aren’t going to want to keep clicking to get to the actual blog page. Not sure what they were thinking with this one. Hope it changes again soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ooo – is this all about mobile phones? Hmm – not a good development! Our sites also degrade on mobile phones, it’s sickening, one designs a site for PC and the mobile phone users moan that it degrades…

    Strongs with your blogging. I think the key is using all your social media to refer to each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t looked at the reader yet. I get an e-mail which I open and read.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Like Susan, I read most posts by email. I found the Reader annoying before anyway, and I’ve mostly just been reading the blogs of people I follow by email because that’s all I have time to do right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s been months or maybe even a year since I looked at my reader. I have all my favorite blogs go to my email since the reader was always a mess. So I’m not the best one for this test since I always come here through email.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I read virtually everything via my app reader which has been pretty limited viewing for a long time. I have book marked my super-favorite sites so I can go back and revisit posts or things that I want to see. I have spent a lot of time on the visual presentation for both of my sites and it has been frustrating knowing very few people ever actually see that, admittedly. Still, it’s free and I am not aware of any better platform. Yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m not liking it, either. But with my blogs, you can’t read my posts in the reader anyway. I have it set so that you must go to my blog to read the full post. Mine says “Visit I Read Encyclopedias for Fun for more” so you have to click there to read it all. I would suggest setting it that way so people will have to go to your blog to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with you. It’s awful. You can’t see how long ago anything posted so WP can hide the chunks of posts they inadvertantly delete. The print and view is so compressed you can’t see or read it easily, but WP can cram more posts in the reader so they save money. The identifiers for whose post you are reading is really hard to see. This format your comments on now in the reader is truly bad. WP seems to purposely irritate it’s customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I haven’t had time to check out the new reader, but I got your post without any difficulties. I’ll look about tomorrow. For me, the site seems not much different, but first I don’t visually look at anyone’s site and secondly I dislike the reader and, whenever possible, follow bloggers by email. It saves me hours of scrolling time, given the way the reader displays the blogs I follow. On another related topic, my work around for blogging in the old, rather than the new wordpress editor seems to have stopped working which means sometimes it takes me an hour to post and I can’t edit tags anymore. Frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I see your categories, too. Is it that the categories don’t show up on the reader?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reader is now more like black letters on white space. Images are allowed, but the charm of a unique site is filtered away. I may have found a partial fix.

      Like

      • How frustrating. Glad you have the partial fix, but a service which forces the people it’s put out for to keep performing tech acrobatics around increasingly user unfrendly “improvements” I mean, obnoxious obsticles that serve no purpose, has a real problem. Who or what are these changes benefiting I wonder, because it isn’t us.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. What fresh hell is this?? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Since I’ve had to pull away from many blogs I receive yours and a handful of others (my regular reads) through email, so I didn’t notice the changes. I’ll have to check my reader. I will say, this is very disheartening. Why have a site if you can’t draw readers in for your books? More and more it seems like a self-hosted WordPress site is the better option, but that would mean putting hours of work in to redesign from scratch. Aack! Might be the only alternative we have left though.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I rarely use the reader, Craig. So didn’t even know about this. Why can’t WP leave things alone? Why fix whatvisnt broken? What you describe does not sound like progress to me. I will have to go have a look-see now. I feel your frustration. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t really use reader that much. I get your blog announcements and many others I faithfully follow through email. Now and then I poke around in reader. Guess I need to hope over and see what it looks like now.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I never use reader. I visit blogs based on notifications by following.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I read this whole post before liking it. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Good stuff. I am still on the fence about the new Reader layout.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Twilight Jewels

    You might want to share your experience and thoughts about these changes in the wordpress forum. Check out what others had to say, too. Here’s a link to the most popular thread: https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/reader-view?replies=82

    Liked by 1 person

  23. The reader looks a lot like it always has to me, Craig, with only a few changes. But then, I only ever use that secondarily to visiting sites that i want to read thoroughly. And as for your site, I still see everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Like I said, I have my doubts whether anyone will find this post

    I’ve found it! I would like to try to help by posting some replies and explanations and I pre-apologize for the long comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There is no point in coming to my site if you can get the content via reader.

    There are many other feed reader apps already out there. Hopefully the WordPress.com Reader will be the best possible reading experience for those people who choose to use it and who like how it looks and works. However, not everyone has to! It’s just one option of many, and the readers are the ones who will decide which option they like best. Based on reading through the comments on your post so far, it sounds like you do have a lot of email subscribers, and that’s cool. Each blog may have a different audience and those different audiences will choose different ways of reading. The Reader is one extra option but certainly not the only one.

    The new Reader is designed around photos and images.

    While the Reader does include featured images, that doesn’t mean it favors photographers over writers full stop. Hopefully, if you write interesting and compelling headlines those will win you a spot in the hearts of readers who are the most interested in what you have to say. You need to find the best ways to connect with your specific audience and focus on those. You’re already well on your way by talking to your site visitors in the comments here.

    Regarding reblogs, the way reblogging works will hopefully be redesigned to work and look better in the future. It is a planned update, but I am not sure of an exact time frame and other updates are in line ahead of it.

    On likes, I know that some people use them as a read later bookmark, others may like something for the title alone, and others may simply want to support someone by clicking like. The option though, is left to each visitor and you can’t really control how other people use likes.

    About stats, you should see “WordPress.com Reader” listed as a referrer in your stats and a page view is counted for your post if someone clicks on the full post view from within the Reader.

    When I clicked through to my site, it was displayed as a single post. I like the fact that people could scroll down and read more, now they can’t.

    One thing that might help is that clicking on your blog name in the Reader will show a list of all the posts one after the other, similar to what you described. I know it’s not exactly the same. For me, keyboard shortcuts will help a ton with this, and those are coming soon.

    Like

    • Wonderful information. You sound like a WordPress insider, and I appreciate you stopping by. The changes that came out after the initial release seemed to address most problems. I’m impressed that they are looking into the re-blogging issues too. A re-blog is to support a good post. I don’t like making it a chore to get to the actual material by passing through my site. It isn’t about raising my stats on the back of someone else’s post, it’s about sharing good stuff with my readers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I should have added a disclaimer earlier! I work for WordPress.com. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Honored that you stopped by. Can you tell me what happened to a theme called iTheme2? It caught my eye and disappeared.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sure! It researched iTheme2, and it looks like that theme was retired. Sometimes the theme team will remove older themes that are no longer going to be supported. Newer themes are always being added though, and the newer ones tend to have more support for more features and are usually also much better at responsive design (meaning they are mobile-friendly automatically).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sheri, I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes. If I’m going to complain about things, it’s only fair to offer space for opposing points of view. I’m actually pretty happy with the changes made after the fact. Would you like to write a guest post and have me post it? I think my fans would appreciate it, and it provides WordPress the chance to talk directly to some of their users.

        Like

      • Iโ€™m actually pretty happy with the changes made after the fact.

        That’s fantastic! I’m happy with the way the launch went and how responsive the team was that worked on it too.

        Would you like to write a guest post and have me post it?

        Thank you very much for the offer! I do think my comment from earlier covers quite a bit already, and there are also tons of replies worth checking out on the Reader Refresh post as well as loads of discussions about the same topic in the WordPress.com Forums over the past few weeks. Here, I would like to just encourage your readers to keep an open mind like you did and to say hello in the forums if they’d like to talk more about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

  25. I didn’t appreciate the changes to the WordPress reader either! But I am a stubborn soul. I just kept clicking until I came to the actual websites. I like the colors and backgrounds that people have chosen, and I want to see that….not some generic white WordPress page. So not to worry. No matter how difficult WordPress makes it — I will keep clicking until I find the actual source.

    Liked by 1 person

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