53 Using Blogger's New Followers Feature

As many of you may have read on Blogger Buzz, Blogger has introduced a great new feature: "Followers".



This new feature allows you to:
  • Show that you are a fan of your favorite Blogger blogs
  • Follow a blog publicly or anonymously
  • See fans of your own blog (and the number of followers you have) from your blog dashboard
  • Display a list of your followers in a new "followers" widget
  • Read your favorite blogs (even those not hosted on Blogger) from the reading list in your dashboard.
  • Import your reading list from Google Reader
  • Read posts from the blogs you are following in a special "Blogs I'm Following" folder in Google Reader
At present, this feature is not available to all Blogger users, though it is being rolled out for everyone to use over the next few weeks.



For those of you who are (like me) impatient to try out this new feature, you can enable this automatically by following a blog (use this link to follow Blogger Buster, for example). Once you have followed even one blog, your dashboard will be updated to show the number of followers, your personal reading list, and the ability to add a "followers" widget to your layout. Thanks to Ionut of Google Operating System for the tip to enable this new feature :)


Add new subscriptions to your reading list

Once your blog dashboard has been updated for the new "followers/reading list" feature, you can easily add new subscriptions to read in your Blogger dashboard.

Adding a new subscription is easy. Simply click on the "Add" button near the bottom of your reading list, where you will be presented with a screen like this:

You can add a new blog by simply typing the URL (eg: http://www.blogsite.com). This does not need to be a Blogger powered blog, nor do you need to know the URL of the blog's feed.

On the next screen, you can choose to follow this blog publicly or anonymously. Choosing to follow publicly means that your friendship with this blog is made public. Those using Blogger can see a list of their public followers, and readers of these blogs can also access follower details if a Followers widget has been added to the blog. In the future, non-Blogger sites will have access to similar widgets to display their public followers.

Choosing to follow anonymously is similar to subscribing to a blog feed in the normal manner: you would be counted among the list of followers, though your details and affiliation would be hidden.

Alternatively, you can choose to import your subscriptions from Google Reader by checking the "Import from Google Reader" option. On the next page, you can see a list of all the subscriptions in your Google Reader account, then check the ones you would like to import. It can take a few minutes to import all of your subscriptions of you have many listed in your reader, so you may need to be patient!


Managing your subscriptions

If you decide not to follow a blog you can easily edit or remove blogs in your reading list by clicking the "Manage" button.

This will generate a page listing all of your subscriptions with options on the right to delete this from your reading list and to toggle between "Public" and "Anonymous" following. You can also add new subscriptions near the bottom of this page.


Building a social network with Blogger...

In time, the "Followers" feature will also be integrated with FriendConnect which is built on Google's Social Graph API.Rather than being a social network in its own right, FriendConnect will link with other social networks and allow you to integrate your blog completely with your online social activities.

I must admit that my research on this subject is sparse, though you can read more about the possibilities for FriendConnect on Google Operating System, the FriendConnect homepage and the OpenSocial pages.


Learn more about the "Followers" feature

The Blogger Help Section has been updated with information to help you make the most of the new Followers feature. Here are links to the most useful pages which should help you get up and running:

What do you think of the "Followers" feature so far?

I'd love to know your thoughts about the new Followers feature, so please feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.

Author: Amanda Kennedy

Amanda is a professional blogger and web designer living in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

In addition to curating Blogger Buster, you can find Amanda on Twitter, Facebook or add her to your circle on Google+.

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53 comments:

  1. Amanda, do you know if it is possible to style the Followers widget?

    Also how many does it list or does it grow indefinately?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What would you recommend about your submit that you made a few days in the past? Any positive?

      Delete
  2. I've not tried styling the widget yet, though I certainly imagine this is possible.

    The widget code contains DIVs with classes, and also tags for the labels ("follow this blog", the widget title, etc) which could be replaced with your own text.

    I'm not sure if it's possible to alter the size of the images yet (I've not tried) and the number on each row seems determined by the width of the widget, as each image is a list which is displayed "inline".

    For the number of followers displayed altogether, I am really not sure :/

    I've looked at a few other blogs using the followers widget, though none I've seen so far have had a great amount. I would hope that there are limitations, and when the followers reach this limit a random selection would be displayed. Otherwise, the widget would look chaotic when one has, say, 1000 followers!

    If I get any more info about this, I will be sure to update :) Hope this helps in the meantime!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Amanda, appreciate the info. I'll have a play at styling them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice feature. Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmmm, it's not quite what I hoped it would be.

    I'd be a little embarassed to put it on my blog at present, as only people with Google/Blogger accounts can use it, which is a tiny minority of the thousands of visitors per day at my blog.

    I think it would actually end up negatively impacting my blog as it doesn't suit the demographic.

    For something like Blogger Buster, your demographic is perfectly suited to and likely to benefit from the Followers feature.

    In the future with tighter integration with Friend Connect (and more open access), I might consider it on my own blog.

    BTW Blogger Buster is one of my favourite blogs. Even though I'm happy with my current design, I invariably check up on you to see what goodies you've unearthed ;-)

    Cheers,
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey amanda , can u reply to the comments in the following posts....i have been waiting for your reply since many days
    1. Adding related links after individual posts(hack by hoctro)
    2. Adding sidebar tabs
    please reply

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey amanda , can u reply to the comments in the following posts....i have been waiting for your reply since many days
    1. Adding related links after individual posts(hack by hoctro)
    2. Adding sidebar tabs
    please reply

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't a chance to check it out yet. I only noticed it this morning. I like the idea of importing selected feeds from your Google reader, as mine is just a little bit overloaded with blogs I rarely read.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey Amanda i think it will take away some feed subscriber as we can now easily read other blogs articles through this feature..By the way i m also one of the followers of your blog :)

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  10. hi amanda,

    you always come with a fully described post. that's why i follow you. and thanks to be my first followers. :)

    i just wonder whether other one will follow on me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Breath taking! How come they work on all these funky widgets, but they are unable to provide a stupid "Recent comments" widget? All the hacks that do this, at this moment, suck big time...

    ReplyDelete
  12. It a great feature, although, I too, would be embarassed to have this on my site to show my LACK of followers!
    One can aspire thought, rightt :):):)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just wrote about Followers Widget on my blog earlier today.

    http://diamondkt.blogspot.com/2008/09/new-blogger-widget-lets-you-share.html

    Here's my question though, since you're the guru of customizing blogs...how do I customize the Followers Widget?

    I'm looking to add a background color (white) and perhaps a border. Any idea on the code I would insert and exactly where I would insert that code in my layout?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am fairly computer challenged...I chose to import all my blogs into Follower. Darned if it didnt import only Blogger blogs. Now I have my regular blogs (200+) and a whole new, partial list under a new Followers folder...I mean why do I want that, other than others with blogger can see my list? That's another thing I don't like. The imported list is now on my profile page for all to see. Any way to keep that from showing? I dont like that very well. Also, when I downloaded my blogs, it pulled some from my main list and I am having a hard time getting them put back...they keep being pulled back to the followers folder. I have tried reassigning them, but isn't doing the trick. This double list is maddening! HELP

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not happy with how it integrated with Google Reader. I imported a bunch of subscriptions (Blogger Buster included) from Google Reader. What it did was follow a different feed for most of the subscriptions.

    For some blogs it followed "/feeds/posts/default", others it followed "/atom" instead. Still others followed their feedburner feed, but not on all of the blogs that have a feedburner feed.

    The end result is a hodgepodge of "unread" duplicate feeds in my Google Reader.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yeah, I'm not incredibly pleased with it either. I like having the widget that gives people the opportunity to click to follow - but I don't like the followers folder it put in my reader, it just duplicates all the blogs I already have.
    It needs a bit more flexibility - options you can opt out of - or opt for.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just wanted to point out that even though im following several blogs already, neither the Followers Icon appears in my Dashboard, nor am i able to add the Widget to my Blog. But i dont blame you ^^ Guess ill just have to be patient...

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have try it. Very nice and easy.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I used Follower and added all the blogs, non-Google/Blogger too. No problems unless it could not find the RSS feed from the domain link. In that case I just found it myself and cut and pasted it in. If you have having problems adding a blog just add it manually. I've got friends who run CMS software which is not Blogger or WordPress and they are all on there, with feeds working.

    My question about Follow is if I add a blog does it show on all my own blogs in Blogger? I have three blogs, one is multi-author. It seems that the blogs I added for my personal blog are in the same Follow list for all three of my blogs. This could be ok but I might like to have a seperate link list (Follow list) for each of my blogs. Hope that isn't confusing. :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. blog design Collective

    Http://design24h.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Personally, I like this new widget as well. But for some reason, my whole blog layout always mess up everytime I try to add it. Hope you'll post a tutorial on how to customize this widget soon! =)

    ReplyDelete
  22. The duplicate entries in Google Reader is TERRIBLY annoying and there is no way to get rid of it. I am now pretty upset I tried out there feature as I cannot seem to undo it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. As of today the feature should work for everyone.
    http://buzz.blogger.com/

    ReplyDelete
  24. The followers hack works for me, but I don't see a point in it because not much people use it. It just launched anyway! I think you're better off using MyBlogLog.

    ReplyDelete
  25. A problem I've come across on one blog is for that one blog, there is no "Follow this blog" line, but otherwise the widget is there. I've found that I can see the line in IE rather than Firefox, but that isn't the whole explanation because I am able to see the full widget in other blogs using Firefox.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I, too have visited blogs, including my own, that have the widget, but the link for people to become a "Follower" isn't there. So if they don't know about Following and entering the URL themselves, how do people follow a blog?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Maddening. That's my review. I promoted it to my mailing list and received a raft of complaint mails because the damn thing wouldn't work. Didn't know it was only for Google members and this jest pissed off everyone who's not a Googleholic. As a result, I have one follower and look like a chump. I'll leave it on my blog but move it to the bottom of the sidebar.

    ReplyDelete
  28. i'm still looking for the HTML coding for "Followers" feature, 'cause i'm using classic template, not new template.

    any idea where can i get the HTML coding for it?
    please reply at my blog:
    http://fallen-angel-renise.blogspot.com/

    thanks. have a nice day.

    ReplyDelete
  29. anyone know how to count the total followers in blog and displaying the number of followers on the blog?

    http://fallen-angel-renise.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Well researched and well portrayed. This is quite a read! I really appreciate all of the work.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks Amanda !!!
    You always have good post.
    I will try to put this in myblog. I know "I kid you not"
    Once again..thanks and I love u full !!

    ReplyDelete
  32. im not sure if i like this feature or not. Will this slow down page load times, once you get thousands of followers, an admin at our site put up a subscribe to feed widget and had 163 people sign up with in a few hours before i took it down. So im sure if i left a followers widget up we would have hundreds if not thousands of followers within a few days. Do you think we would get more traffic from this widget?

    ReplyDelete
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  34. It's a good one, for listing out your followers. I liked it much.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  36. I'm having trouble finding the followers html code for a layout that I'm making. Can anyone send me the code?

    Please email me!
    poofiesarang@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
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