I'm really excited to kick off my project, One New Reading App Weekly. If you haven't heard about the project from the introduction post, I'm using one new reading app each week (for at least 10 weeks), writing about my experiences, and chatting with their creators about everything from early customer acquistion to product descisions.
For Week 1 I'm diving right into the thick of it with Bloglovin'; an app geared towards people that love to read and stay up-to-date with numerous blogs.
Started in Sweden in 2008, Bloglovin' has grown to over 12 million users and it's easy to see why. The app is easy to use (it can pass the mom test) and enhances the reading experience.
Getting Started With Bloglovin'
Gettng started with Bloglovin' is simple enough. Without even creating an account you're able to take a peek at what the app is like. Once you've input some basic information the app asks you to select 3 topics that you like.
I was surprised to see that startups, technology and marketing are not options but it's clear that these topics must be selected based on the audience of Bloglovin'. Regardless, it's a smart move on Bloglovin's part to not have your users start off with a completely naked feed.
Reading blog posts is truly a wonderful experience because Bloglovin' excels at staying out of your way.
There aren't numerous buttons (just two: one for "liking" and another for sharing) and the text and images are rendered perfectly for reading on a smaller screen.
My favorite control element is that if I push or pull at the bottom or top of a post the app will go up or down to the next article on my feed.
A Focus On Following
Aside from how unobtrusive the design is, the aspect I like the most about Bloglovin' is the ability to follow blogs and people in a way somewhat similar to Twitter.
Each blog has a profile page:
So does each user:
Bloglovin' For Bloggers
As a writer I was really excited to see the features Bloglovin' offered to people like myself.
Bloggers who sign up for Bloglovin' can "claim their blog"
I think it's very savvy on Bloglovin's part to verify ownership by requiring bloggers to create a new post with a "Follow my blog with Bloglovin" link on the website.
Upon following these simple instructions I was able to change the icon for my blog and view data about how Bloglovin' users interacted with my writing. Very cool!
Chatting with Mattias Swenson, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer about Bloglovin'
How did you acquire your early users and at what point did you decide to expand the focus?
Prior to starting Bloglovin, me and my co-founders were building a fashion community. We got to know a few fashion bloggers and found out that they were reading +40 blogs via bookmarks each day. They didn't like the readers that were out, and thought that they were too technical, so we decided to create a product that they would love.
Once we released it, our fashion blogging friends wrote about it on their blogs which triggered an avalanche of bloggers discovering Bloglovin and sharing it with their readers. What was very lucky, was that a lot of people who read fashion blogs, also read beauty, home, food & DIY blogs. So our audience started expanding on a very organic way and we're very happy with the community we have today.
How do you continue to differentiate yourself?
Ease of use and discovery have been big differentiators for us. Every day we hear about users discovering amazing blogs through our recommendations or by seeing what their friends are following or by seeing what's popular. We want to continue delighting our users with new great content that they might not have found without Bloglovin.
How do you balance the need to teach a new user about an app's capabilities while still leaving room for self-discovery?
I guess you need to decide which things a user "MUST" know about vs "nice if they knew about it". The must have features you'll help them find, while you'll leave it to them to discover the rest.
Tomorrow I start using a brand new reading app (I won't be saying which one until my post next week). I'll definitely be missing Bloglovin' but I am excited to see what someone else's vision of the perfect reading app is. Please thank @mattiasbloglovin for taking the time to talk with me and check out Bloglovin'in the App store!
Are you a blogger? Check out 5 Reasons Why Not Enough People View Your Blog (And How To Fix Them)