17 February 2017

Could Bloglovin' be Doing your Blog a Disservice? (and How to Change it!)



If you told me last year that I'd be sitting down to write a fairly negative post about Bloglovin', I really don't think I would have believed you. You see I've been using Bloglovin' for over 5 years now and it brings me a decent amount of traffic due to the 90,000+ followers I've accumulated in that time. So I'm pretty grateful! 

Plus, I use it daily to keep up to date with blog posts from all my favourite blogs

But recently there has been a massive shift in how Bloglovin' are conducting themselves as a platform that is potentially harming a lot of bloggers hard work. And the strange thing... it seems to have gone unnoticed!

Here is a list of Bloglovin's new features
(all of which I feel take advantage of bloggers, both new & established)

  • They have added a new comments feature under all blog posts shown 
  • Currently trying a beta instant publishing platform aimed at non-bloggers
  • All blog posts open in a frame & generally can be read in full from Bloglovin' (this is a biggie!!)
  • Constant use of images found on Pinterest/Instagram on their own Bloglovin' Edit blogs

My main issues are with the new comment feature and the forced Bloglovin' RSS frame. First, let's discuss the comment feature because there isn't much that can be done about it but it highlights the direction Bloglovin' are going in.

New Comment Feature 

With engagement being key right now yet many bloggers noticing a drop in it, comments are important. I know my heart literally sinks if I haven't had a single comment by midday. So anything that could take away possible commenters on your blog is a big no-no, right? Which is what Bloglovin' have gone and done! Comments can now be left on Bloglovin under each blog post shown on the site. These aren't published onto your actual blog and just exist within Bloglovin'. I spoke with a Bloglovin' co-founder on this matter and he mentioned that they are exploring ways that these comments can be transferred onto blogs, whilst also be visible on Bloglovin'. But with so many various commenting platforms (Disqus, Intense Debate, Wordpress, Facebook etc) it's highly unlikely that is will be possible.

I've already received a few comments on blog posts on Bloglovin', but with no notifications, no reply button, plus what I mentioned above... I don't really want to use/encourage this new feature. So as you can see, this just doesn't help bloggers and only adds to the issue of the lull in engagement right now.

The Bloglovin' RSS feed frame issue
(please read if your blog is on Bloglovin') 

If you aren't sure if your blog is on Bloglovin', simply visit the platform and search for your blog's URL. If your blog appears, then it's on Bloglovin'! It's highly likely to be... which is a good thing as it opens up your blog to lots of potential new readers!

If your blog is signed up to Bloglovin' then for every blog post that goes live on your blog a thumbnail will appear on Bloglovin, both in your blog niche category and on the feed page of those who follow you. Then if someone wants to read the post they can click on it and it will take them directly to your blog. Well, that was the case. Now, whether you click on it, or right-click and "open in new tab" the blog post will open up in a frame, still on Bloglovin'. Depending on your RSS feed settings the reader will see one of two things - A) The first few lines of the blog post with a "Read More" or "Next" link that when clicked will take them to the blog to read the full blog post. Which is what you want! B) The blog post in it's entirety, still with a direct link to the blog post at the very bottom, but why click it when the full post is right there. So now is the time to head over to Bloglovin' and click on one of your latest blog posts to check if they are being fully shown on the Bloglovin' RSS feed frame! 


DON'T WORRY IF THAT'S THE CASE! 

YOU CAN FIND A SIMPLE WORK AROUND FOR THIS ISSUE BELOW.

Bloglovin' do explain that when a blog post is opened up in their RSS frame it still counts as pageviews on your blog. This I'm definitely not denying, although it does make Google Analytic stats a little more confusing. However, if your readers are solely reading your blog posts on Bloglovin' and never seeing your blog here is what the reader and you as a blogger are missing out on.

  • Zero blog design/branding/aesthetics shown (it's just a white page with your blog post text & images on it)
  • Zero chance of them clicking on other posts or exploring sections of your blog
  • Zero chance of them clicking any social links to follow you on other platforms
  • No opportunity to leave you a comment on your blog... just the new Bloglovin' comment feature
  • No longer than it takes for them to read the blog post will be spent. The result - a higher crapper bounce rate 
    Now this all may be easier and quicker for the reader, especially if their on the go. But then again most blogs have good mobile versions these days, so it's not like this newly implemented Bloglovin' feature is needed. As for what the blogger gets out of it... absolutely nothing! In fact, you may see a higher bounce rate (see above), less clicks on ads, less engagement and the reader not ever knowing what your blog looks likes or getting a sense of the theme/branding you have most likely worked hard on.

    So why would Bloglovin' do this? Sadly it's for all the reasons that are being taken away from bloggers. They want more engagement, a lower bounce rate, more activity, loyal users and overall a bigger platform. They are basically using thousands of bloggers content to build themselves a stronger platform and it kinda' sucks!

    How to only show a cut off version of blog posts in Bloglovin' frame feature 

    It's simple, if only a few lines of the blog post can be read in the frame then the reader is more than likely going to click "read more" to carry on reading the post. Which will lead them to see your wonderful blog as it was intended to be viewed all along! Below is a mini tutorial on how to do this and I HIGHLY recommend you implement it ASAP, so all future blog posts get read on your blog and not in the damn Bloglovin' frame.

    For Blogger Users: To add the "read more' feature you need to change the RSS feed settings. In Blogger go to > Settings > Other. Under Site Feed > All Blog Feed, change to 'Until Jump Break'. Then click Save! To implement this you will then need to add a jump break (cut off) in every new blog post at the end of the text you want visible on Bloglovin'. This is simply the torn piece of paper icon, next to the smiley face in your blog post editor bar. If you are still confused about using jump breaks in Blogger have a Google - it's pretty simple.

    For Wordpress Users: Unfornutaly I'm not very savvy when it comes to Wordpress so I don't want to give any wrong advice. However, a quick Google of how to change your RSS feed settings should help you!

    Bloglovin' going forward...

    It may come as a surprise to know that only 15% of Bloglovin' users are bloggers. So I totally understand why Bloglovin' is implementing new features to improve the usability of their platform. However, that is currently at the detriment of bloggers and seeing as their platform is built on RSS feeds of bloggers it just not good pratice of them. I really do hope that Bloglovin' will eventually understand that bloggers feel strongly about owning their own content and engagement and can work side by side bloggers, not against them as it currently comes across. 

    Apologies for the super lengthy post but I felt I really did need to point out the new RSS frame change, which could seriously damage the hard work of many bloggers! 

    Shiny makeup posts to resume next week!

    Fee xo. 
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