We just found out that Google has announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect, also know as the Followers gadget for all non-Blogger sites. Which means, WordPress blogs (like our DB blog) and other sites that utilize this feature will no longer be able to. As far as we know the gadget will still be available to those on Blogger, even if you have purchased a domain name to replace the Blogspot address. However, keep in mind that Google may cancel it or phase it out at any time.
So now what??
There are a couple options…
1. Google recommends that in place of a GFC widget that Bloggers create a Google+ page and add a badge to their sidebar. The problem with this is that the features are completely different. Google+ is 100% a social network. It allows you to follow and interact with people and businesses much like Facbook, but its not a way to subscribe to a blog. Google+ does allow bloggers (WordPress, Blogspot..etc) to create â€œbusiness pagesâ€ that act sort of like Facebook fan pages.
2. Set up or really start pushing your RSS feed. This is the closest alternative to the GFC gadget. It allows your readers to actually subscribe to your posts and stream them automatically. See this tutorial on burning your feeds onto a Feedburner account, to make subscribing easier.
3. Facebook. Duh… but really, add a Facebook Fan Box to your sidebar.
4. Twitter. Ditto… add a Twitter widget to your sidebar.
5. Create an account with Bloglovin’. Add all the blogs you want to follow, and then youâ€™ll get notified every time one of your favorite blogs has written a new blog post.
6. The creator of the Linky Tools (you know you like a good Linky party!) has developed a Linky Followers tool and just launched it a few days ago. As far as I can tell it functions similarly to the GFC gadget — you can add and categorize blogs into groups and there is a blog reader function. Please note, with this tool GFC followers will NOT be and can NOT be automatically transferred over.
What about the monthly exclusive giveaways here on the DB blog?
Well we’ve decided that the easiest way to choose a giveaway winner from our “Followers” would be to utilize Google+. So if you want to be included in this month’s giveaway and you haven’t yet, add Designer Blogs to one of your circles. We placed a Google+ badge on our sidebar for easy access. Then you can be entered to win some social media buttons!!