Anyone who is a fan of RSS Feeds will likely know that the discontinuing of service by Google Reader caused many of its users to go looking for another option. One of the winners for the pure RSS reader was Feedly.com, a slick, intuitive reader with native apps on both iOS and Android. Their numbers shot through the roof after dozens of positive reviews with very little negative to say about the service, and I agreed. I exported all my RSS feeds, which I wasn’t really reading all that often, and tried Feedly.com.
RSS, I can’t be bothered
While I only have positive things to say about Feedly, it was my habits which precluded me from enjoying it as an app, and ultimately the content of the feeds to the fullest extent. It was another app in which I would need to stay constantly connected to, there had to be another way. Enter Blogtrottr
In their own words, Blogtrottr is:
As the name suggests, we deliver fresh and nutritious news to your inbox. What makes us different? We send you the things you need, at your convenience. Rather than having to constantly scour blogs and websites, (and forget half the ones you follow) we mail you updates from your own personal selection, on schedules that you choose.
Basically, it’s an online feed reader that emails you with your content. In my case, I take an Inbox-Zero approach to email so getting an additional flood of content isn’t that big of a problem for me as I proactively manage that space.
How do I use it?
Going to their home page, you can see a very simple form requesting:
- FEED URL
- Your Email
And that’s it. You don’t even have to sign-up in order to receive a feed. Once you enter all this information you will get confirmation email and voilà!!
Now lets say you have a few blogs you follow, or what ever other source of RSS Feed information you want to stay current on, you simple provide a few more details, and click the button. By a few, I mean your email and password twice.
Normally, I don’t do too much in here other than use the ‘Subscribe to New Feed’ link right at the top, it is good to see when the last time a feed was updated. In my case, there are several I could prune off as they haven’t been updated in quite some time, or ever according to my screenshot. In this case I can simply select the inactive feed and delete it.
By selecting the feed you are presented with a feed editor. While you can’t edit any of the properties of the feed itself, you can edit how you’ll receive it. There are three editable fields available to you:
- Email Subject – a Variable driven Subject Line Editor
- Subscription Enabled - temporarily disable this feed
- Filter Enabled – More on this below.
The filter feature above is quite cool. If the feed you are subscribed to doesn’t allow for categorical feeds (WordPress does) you can filter it before Blogtrottr sends it to you. Once you click the ‘Filter Enabled’ check box you get a whole slew of new options that allow for building a rule set of what to include or exclude from being sent to your inbox.
Plans and Pricing
All of the features I’ve demonstrated so far are part of their Free Plan. The free plan is ad-supported, which translates to one page-wide advertisement at the top of each email. I find this very unobtrusive and am happy with the free plan I’m currently on.
They have three levels of plans, with the second level (Lite) and the highest level (Full) having the same added features with the number of available feeds being the limiting factor. For additional features, you get No Advertisements and nearly everything else is customizable to include: Email Templates, Sender Names, Feed Titles. You also get the option to have PDF or Text Attachments sent, or you can go minimalist with Title Only notifications, which seems attractive.
While there are a few other options with ‘Coming Soon’ next to them, I have not noticed any of those leaving that status in the last six months since I’ve been signed up to this service. Frankly, I don’t really need more, I’m content with the free for the time being.
Wrap it up already
In the end this service plays right into my daily flow, keeps me included in the happenings of the community and is useful. I highly recommend the service and if the plan fits your needs, I recommend supporting the developer with the purchase of a paid plan (I will soon, I promise)
Almost forgot, I currently have BlogTrottr setup to my work email, since I am a contract DBA that email will change at some point. Unlike other services where your email address is set and unchangeable, with BlogTrottr you simple update your profile and it redirects all your feeds to your new inbox, very snazzy.