Why I’m Wary of Bloglovin’ – And Why You Should Be Too
Written by Lindsay Ropella
I want to preface this post by saying that this is one that will not interest everybody – this post is aimed specifically at other bloggers and avid blog readers who use Bloglovin’. However, I do have a short message for ALL MY BLOG READERS at the end of this post, so please scroll to that. I typically never do this, but I did discover something that I think needs to be shared and it seemed writing a blog post on it was the easiest way to do it. If you are a blogger READ THIS! If you are not but are still interested in what I have to say, I’d love for you to stick around and read it though! Thanks for understanding! :)
This post is going to be as short and sweet as possible. I know that bloggers really don’t have to time to be reading through detailed and confusing posts, but please stick with me and read this post in it’s entirety – it could be very important to your own blog.
Now, let me just start by saying that I know I’m nowhere near a “great blogger.” I’m trying, but I know I still have a long way to go. However, I do know quite a bit about the technical side/SEO of a blog (side note: if you ever have any questions about the technical side of blogging PLEASE let me know! I’m a nerd and I love talking about and helping people out with that stuff).
Up until this week I did not have a Bloglovin’ account nor did I share a Bloglovin’ feed here or really promote it in any way. And let me tell you why that is. I don’t trust Bloglovin’.
When I first started researching BL, my first question as a blogger was of course, “do I get credit for the page views through Bloglovin’?” Some people were praising BL as the best feed reader out there because it was still giving bloggers their own page views. I was pretty unsure that was actually the case, since from a company standpoint I knew that was in no way beneficial to them (it seemed many others were wary as well), so I started to investigate myself. I quickly realized that although I had never put my blog and my content on BL, it was already there. Well, since there is absolutely no way for you to get your blog taken down, I figured if I can’t beat em’, join em’. I created my own account and claimed my own blog so that no one else could claim it (no idea why they would want to, but yano, better safe than sorry). Once I had an account set up, I started playing around with some different things.
Well, I’m 95% sure Bloglovin’ does not give a blogger their page views, which is pretty disappointing since it seems like they claim to. Now, I don’t want to make any straight up claims, since this was only from about 20 minutes of playing around, but let me show you what I found and you can decide for yourself. If you have any knowledge on this as well I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments.
This might get a little techie so bear with me, but here is my research that led me to that conclusion.
What I did was I went to Bloglovin’ from my phone (new IP address) using the BlogLovin app. When you first use this app, mobile view is set to “on” under the settings (same as having the iframe on when you are viewing from a computer) I clicked to my blogs feed and opened up to a specific post (“My Week In Numbers“). Then I went over to my trusty Clicky Analytics and kept refreshing the visitors page to see if my phone’s IP address would come up as currently on the page I was viewing on my phone. I waited a good 5 minutes before calling it quits and nothing ever showed.
Next, I went back to the Bloglovin’ app on my phone, and went into settings and turned the mobile view to “off.” This is the same as turning the iframe off on a computer. I then went back to my blog and then went into a specific post (“Don’t Be That Kid This Mother’s Day“). I went back to check my Clicky web stats and almost in real time this showed up…
You can see in the screenshot that in that very first line is shows an iphone logged in to “Mother’s Day Gift Ideas and Tips.” The time and IP address also matched my phone (I edited those out of the screenshot for privacy). You can also see though that it does not show another iphone logging in any time before that. You would think that if there was a little bit of a delay using either this tracking system or the app, the first one should have shown up by the time the second one did. I tried this a few times just to double and triple check and had the same results each time.
Additionally, when I was viewing my blog with the mobile view on (default) I did not show up as a “real time viewer” in my current viewers section of my analytics. However, when I viewed my blog with the mobile view off (same has having the iframe off) I did show up as a real time visitor.
So, it seems to me that Bloglovin’ does not give blog owners their own page views and their own stats in it’s default settings. The good news is that I believe BL is one of the only feed aggregators to at least give people the option of how they would like to view the blogs they follow, so I do want to make sure I give them credit for that. However, the bad news is that the average blog reader does not realize that these settings make a difference and just leave them to the default settings out of convenience. This seemly small action can be detrimental for a blog for many different reasons (if you don’t already know lol):
1. You are not receiving credit for people reading your blog. Not getting page views decreases your ranking in Google searches, and devalues how much people do actually view and read your blog.
2. Not being able to receive statistics about what posts readers are liking and not liking through your blog’s analytics tool can make it difficult to know what your community is enjoying and where you should focus your attention and content; especially if not many comments are being left.
3. From a financial standpoint, less views means less ads seen, which means a lower income for the blogger. Now, I know we try to not make it all about money, but whether we like it or not, the money we make is a valid and important part of blogging. Erin said in best in her recent post, “I Blog for Money, and Why You Should Too.” Speaking just for myself, I don’t think all blog readers realize hosting and maintaining a blog isn’t free. I make hardly nothing from my blog ads, but I’m grateful that it’s enough to cover the costs of running the blog at the end of the year, but that’s about all it will cover. Taking away from that means I have to pay a lot more to keep my blog up and running.
SO, I know what your asking next. “Well Lindsay, this is all well and great, but what can I do about it? I can’t take my blog down and I can’t make people stop reading it on BL?” Perfect question. And while it’s true that you can’t just remove your blog from Bloglovin’ (and really I’m not sure that you’d want to because a lot of people use it to find great new blogs to follow) there are definitely some steps you can take to reduce the hit to your own blog.
1. Share with your loyal readers the importance of coming to visit your actual blog site. Explain to them the negatives of reading the blog only through the BL iframe and how they really are supporting the larger company and not your blog by doing that.
2. Teach your blog readers how to turn off the iframe on their account as well as on the app on their phone. Thank them for doing so and supporting your blog.
3. Ask them that if they still are going to read your blog through the BL iframe, to visit your blog directly every once in a while and leave you some feedback in the comments.
4. Do things like giveaways and special promotions for your readers to reward them for sharing your posts on places like Facebook and Twitter to get more engagement and to find more readers to make up for the ones who only read through the BL iframe.
So to my own blog readers (if you are still out there at this point in the post), if you enjoy reading my blog and want to show me your support for what I do and what I write, do at the very least, this one thing for me:
1. Go to your BlogLovin’ account and click on your “profile.” Next, click “edit your profile” right under your name. Scroll all the way down to the very bottom of the “edit” page and where it says, “The Bloglovin’ frame” will you please change that to, “I don’t want the frame.” You can read all about exactly why this is important to me in everything I wrote above, but if you skipped that or didn’t understand it, here is the gist of it: If you are reading my blog through the iframe you really aren’t reading my blog. It’s like you never existed here. I do not see that you visited a certain post, I do not see which posts you enjoyed because you spent 5 minutes reading vs ones that didn’t interest you; and basically you are giving all that support and approval that you think you are giving me to the Bloglovin’ company.
If you want to help me out ever further, THANK YOU! Here are some other ways to help below.
2. Find another way to follow my blog that still shows your support by actually allowing you to click through to my site. I just wrote about a great technique to use here that still pretty much acts as a feed reader.
3. If you read blogs through the Bloglovin’ app, go into the app’s settings, and turn the mobile view off. This is essentially the same thing as removing the iframe.
4. If you do not wish to take the iframe off, can you at least leave me comments on posts letting me know what you thought of it, what you liked, and what you disagreed with or your different viewpoints. I LOVE reading your comments, and since I will no longer be getting feedback from your views on what posts you enjoy and what posts you skipped over, it becomes all that more important to me that you share verbally what you like and dislike so I can make sure I’m still heading in the right direction.
By doing this you are not only supporting me, but all the other bloggers out there that you love who work so hard to bring you great content on a consistent basis!
I hope you found this helpful, and if you ever have any questions about web design, SEO, etc please let me know and I would be so happy to help!