Are You Missing Out On These Impressive Features On The WordPress Reader?

How often do you use the Reader on WordPress? Do you use it for anything else besides reading the posts of the blogs you follow?

If you answered no, read on because there are some excellent WordPress Reader features you could be missing. 

Banner for the blog post 'Are You Missing Out On These Impressive Features On The WordPress Reader?
Have you used these impressive features on offer on the WordPress Reader?

Have you ever noticed the WordPress Reader menu?

I don’t use the WordPress Reader much. However, I use the WordPress Reader menu because it contains great features every blogger should consider. 

Image highlighting the WordPress Reader menu
Have you tried the WordPress Reader menu?

Let’s take a look at each feature.

Following – This is the one the majority of us know. It shows the latest blog posts from the blogs we follow, plus a list of how long ago these posts were published. You can also manage the blogs you follow by clicking the ‘Manage’ button. Click here for more details. 

Conversations: Clicking on this button lets you read and reply to your conversations in one place. WordPress posts you’ve liked or commented on will appear when they have new comments. You can follow or unfollow a conversation using the ellipsis menu (the three dots to the right of a title) in the reader.

Of course, you can also view when somebody replies to your comment in the notification centre of your blog, but what I like about the Conversations button is that you can also load and view other readers’ comments.

Image showing the Conversations sections on the WordPress Reader
Conversations all in one place!

You can also leave further comments on posts you’ve already commented on. The comments sections of many blogs are a wonderful source of ideas for new blog posts.

Lists: This is the place to create lists of the blogs you love reading the most. However, it’s important to note that you must be logged into WordPress to view lists.

I think this is the best feature and have created two lists (so far) – ‘Favourite Blogs’ and ‘Blogging Tips’ blogs. 

To create a new list, click ‘Create new list‘ and give your list a title. 

Click the Manage button (the small cog) to access the menu of the list you’ve created.

Image highlighting the cog to open up more options on lists created on WordPress
Click the cog to open up more options.

You’ll see a menu across the top – Details – Sites – Export – Delete

Image showing the Managing lists options on WordPress
Check out the tabs on the menu.

Let’s have a look at what each tab does.

Details – on this tab, you can do the following – 

  • Name your list.
  • Decide who can view the list (visibility).
  • Describe what the list is about.

Remember to click the ‘Save‘ button when making any changes.

Sites – click this tab to add blogs to your list. 

To add a blog, type the name in the search box and click the add button next to the blog you want to add.


Image showing how to search for blogs to add to your lists on WordPress
Search for the blogs you want to add to your lists.

Click the Remove button to remove a blog from the list.

I recommend that everyone creates a ‘Favourite Blogs’ list that contains the blogs you enjoy reading the most. I agree that those blogs already appear on your WordPress Reader, but not all the blogs I follow are ones I want to read whenever a new post is published.

How do other bloggers view and follow the lists I’ve created?

First and most importantly, they must be logged into WordPress to follow and view your lists.

Ensure you have selected the ‘Everyone can view this list‘ option of the list you want to share with your readers. 

Copy and paste the slug of the list to the end of your reader URL.

Share the new URL of your list with your followers. You can do this at the bottom of blog posts or your ‘about’ page (like I did at the bottom of this post).

A follow button will appear on your list when they open it. They need to click the follow button to follow your list.

New blog posts on your list will also appear on their WordPress Reader. 

You can also grab the URL from your browser in the list editor. However, remove the ‘/edit’ from the URL before sharing it.

There is a downside to sharing lists via the above methods in that there is no option to open lists in a new window. Therefore, lists will open on the same page, and the reader will lose the page they are reading.

To get around this. I recommend you create a pingback to your lists (like I have done in this post). Copy and paste the URL address of your list and create a pingback to it.

Click here to learn what a pingback is and how to create one.

Remember that all lists are public to all logged-in users. Visitors who are not logged into WordPress cannot view or follow lists.

Export – You can export the list to use on other services. The file will be in OPML format. 

Delete – Click the delete button to delete the list.

Let’s go back to the last button on the WordPress Reader menu.

Tags – When you click this button, a search box opens where you can add tags to find related blog posts from other bloggers. For example, I’ve added the tags’ time travel’ and ‘blogging tips’ to my list to find posts related to those subjects. 

When using tags, you don’t need to scroll through long lists of blogs to find relevant content, as all the posts in the search results are relevant to the tag word you entered. 

Have you used any of the features I’ve mentioned? Which ones do you use? What are your thoughts about them? Do you have questions about them? Leave them in the comments section.

Layout, content, settings, and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

My thanks to Terri Webster Schrandt for her help in helping me with this post. Click here to view Terri’s blog.

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44 thoughts on “Are You Missing Out On These Impressive Features On The WordPress Reader?

  1. Well, wa-da-ya know! Now I’m going to have to go through all of your tips and give them a try for myself. Thanks for the post, otherwise I wouldn’t have known.

  2. Another great tip Hugh, I use the reader but didn’t know about these features, so many thanks 🙂 I’m starting to make a list at the moment.

  3. I’ve never used it because I read blogs that are not on WP as well as blogs that are. To keep them all in one place, I read them through Feedly. Feedly isn’t terribly reliable, though. There are some blogs it used to load but it doesn’t any more. I didn’t know WP Reader had all these other features, so thank you for telling us about that.

  4. Hi Hugh – I use the Reader all the time, but I’ve never paid much attention to the menu. The Lists feature looks like something I could get into. Thanks for sharing this info!

    1. Creating your own lists is a great way to ensure you’re not missing the posts of those blogs that are a must-read, Barbara. I’m delighted to have introduced the list feature to you. Have fun making those lists.

  5. Thanks Hugh for making me look closer. I use many of the features you mentioned, but today I added tags. I found way more blogs to follow using tags than any search criteria used to date.

    1. I like the tag feature, Danny. It brings up the posts I want to read, and I don’t have to look for them. They’re all there. It’s also a great way of finding new blogs to follow.

  6. Interesting, as usual Hugh. I do use the Reader as I do not get notifications from some of my favorite blogs and so I have to go find them. These lists will help a lot. Thanks!

  7. Your blogging tips posts make me realize what I have not paid attention to so far. Thanks a lot for these explanations, Hugh!

  8. Thanks for this reminder, Hugh. I follow quite a few bloggers, but there are a handful I never want to miss. I already have two lists made based on location or subject matter. Now I need to create a new list and use it!

  9. I had no idea about any of these features in the Reader, Hugh, since I never use the Reader. I don’t even know how to get into it.

    I’m a lazy blogger. I read the blogs that arrive in my inbox (which is also how I receive replies to my comments) and that interest me. That’s it.

    Unfortunately, my life is too busy to poke around the Reader and find more interesting blogs or organize the ones I like. That being said, I appreciate the tutorial as you provided; another good job laying things out!

    Funny to see one of my comments show up in your screenshots.

    1. I don’t believe the WordPress Reader is available on a self-hosted blog, Liesbet. However, I could be wrong.

      Likewise, I prefer getting notifications of new blog posts from the blogs I follow via email.

      I enjoy finding new blogs that publish content I enjoy reading and am interested in reading. I used to follow nearly 500 blogs but am now down to only following about 50! I had a big clearout of them and unfollowed the ones I felt obliged to follow. They now have to publish content I’m interested in reading, making me want to engage before I follow.

      Thanks for the great feedback about my tutorials.

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