If you used Google Reader for an RSS reader its a safe bet to assume you realize they shut down the service back in July. If you were like me you just couldn’t understand why Google would do such a thing. Then you remembered, It’s Google, I don’t understand a lot of the decisions they make. But one thing you did know is you needed a new reader and went scrambling for a new replacement.
There were quite a few good choices out there for RSS readers so I decided to dip my toe into a few and test them out before I dove head first with true commitment. For me, Feedly was the clear choice. The main reason (like most users I assume) was the nearly seamless integration from Google Reader. Everything imported perfectly into Feedly from Google Reader and I didn’t even need a new sign in. I also rather enjoy the design, layout and magazine view option.
There were a few things missing from this new RSS reader though, mainly, a comprehensive search function. Oddly enough when I first tested Feedly this was one of the functions I was sure to look for, as I did with each of the readers. And it was there. It was. Within a matter of a week or so the app was undergoing several changes/improvements to gear up for the mass of users transferring over from Google Reader. During that time the functionality just disappeared.
I headed straight to the support forums and found that many new users were already requesting this feature and those familiar with Feedly were wondering where it went. Feedly was a bit vague about its existence but it seemed once the updates were finished search functionality would be reinstated.
Well… that update with search never came but what did come was Feedly Pro, along with the search functionality as well as several more very nice features. Feedly Pro of course comes with a price tag of $5/month or $45 annually ($3.75/month). Or if you were ready to pull the trigger within the first eight hours of their special offer you may have snagged the $99 lifetime membership fee. I had my chance but declined. Why, might you ask? Well that’s because you can more or less get Feedly Pro Free. Yes, I’ll run down the features of Feedly Pro and suggest easy and free work arounds for some of the Feedly Pro best features. Then you can ask yourself – Is Feedly Pro worth it?
Feedly Pro Free Work Arounds
Here I’m highlighting the eight advertised reasons to upgrade to Feedly Pro and free work arounds for them. The main key to this puzzle lies in one application – IFTTT. If you don’t know then you should know – IFTTT stands for IF This Than That and allows you to create an automatic action from another specific action. IFTTT does so with recipes and the first one you’ll need is Feedly “Saved for Later” to Evernote.
Yes of course in addition to IFTTT you will need an Evernote account. Sometime in the not so distant past I converted all my notes (Word, OneNote, iPhone Notes, etc.) over to Evernote. In addition to just making notes you can also save articles from webpages or full webpages if needed. So what this recipe does is put every Feedly item you click ‘Save’ into Evernote in a new folder called IFTTT Feedly. Ok, so that is Step 1. On to the Feedly Pro features you get for free.
Full article search: Search within your Feedly feeds.
After completing the IFTTT recipe in Step 1 all of the articles you’ve saved will now be in Evernote. NOTE: If you’ve been using Feedly for awhile and/or were using Google Reader for awhile previous to Feedly, the feeds you’ve already saved will not be automatically saved in Evernote. Yes, I realize this can be a pain but I incorporated this shortly after starting with Feedly and I took this as an opportunity to clean up my saved articles from Google Reader (trust me, it was needed).
So now that you have all your favorite articles in Evernote you can use the search function (within Evernote) to search through your Feedly articles. Yes, I know, it’s missing the entire article search, you can only search the articles you’ve saved. But let’s be honest, doing a search through all articles can sometimes be useless – there’s just too many articles to sift through to find what you’re looking for. So if you think you’ll need an article’s content later, just save it.
The other great part about having your Feedly articles in Evernote is tagging. You can not only have your articles organized in folders but also sorted by tags such as SEO, PPC, Recipes, Cute Animals, or whathaveyou. This is going to give you additional search capabilities that were not even available in Google Reader. So you can look under a specific Tag, then search for a term or phrase to find what you’re looking for. Now that is good search.
One-click Evernote: One-click save to any of your Evernote notebooks.
See Step 1.
One-click Pocket: One-click save to pocket.
Again, IFTTT comes to the rescue. Yep, there’s a recipe for that (hmmm, future advertising campaign for IFTTT, or Apple trademark infringement?) Just use the recipe Save Feedly “Read Laters” to Pocket.
Speed boost: Get updates from small sites 30 minutes faster.
Ok, so I don’t have a free work around for every Feedly Pro feature. But how fast do you really need your updates? I typically check my feeds once a day, maybe twice. If you’re checking feeds more than that you have a problem and you need to focus on getting some work done. And hey, if you need up to date news just get on Twitter.
Shape the roadmap: Suggest and vote on the next batch of features.
Sure it would be nice to help shape the product into something that truly works for you. This was a feature available to all users prior to Feedly Pro. How do you think they came up with the main features for Feedly Pro? But really, can you get by without this? Yes. And chances are there are other users out there just like you, paying $5/month to suggest the best features that everyone wants. Hey, that’s FREE!
Custom sharing: Define custom sharing URLs.
Come on, don’t you already use a service to create a custom URL to share? Or 3 or 5 of them? That are free? But yes, maybe it would be nice to have this one click closer and integrated right into Feedly. But then again, why not just use the url shortener right on your browser once you click into the article?
Premium support: Get bumped to the front of the support line.
Yes if you’re a super user this would be nice. I haven’t had to use support yet and probably never will.
Support Feedly: Help the team plan for the future.
Ok here’s the kicker. If you’re out for charity and would love to donate to keep this application running and improving there is no work around for this. And if you love Feedly (as I do) and want to pay them simply to build the company then do it. But as with Google Reader – in this day and age someone is always willing to take your place – usually at a better cost and with more features.
Do you have additional Feedly Pro free work arounds? I’d love to hear them in the comments.