WordPress tips: how to block a site in the Reader

Browsing my Reader reminded me of a nifty WordPress feature you’ll love if the subjects you enjoy are often ‘hijacked’ by less scrupulous bloggers – or if you want to block anyone who is going too far. It’s hidden in plain sight so you may not have noticed it.

I’m not talking about bloggers you are following, but some of the ones who appear when you explore topics. Tag-hoggers who clutter up your Reader with multiple posts you don’t want to see again. Ever.  

You know the ones I mean. You’ll find them:

  • Using the same popular tag on a rapid succession of posts.
  • Jumping on a news story to insistently sell you their (unrelated) product.
  • Publishing lists of hashtags. (What’s all this about? Am I missing something?)
  • Posting a stream of other people’s pictures copied without permission from photo sites such as 500px with an abrupt instruction to like and follow in bold type.

Don’t get me wrong – I love photography. By all means compose a thoughtful blog post to introduce me to photographers you admire and link to some of their work. I’ll gladly take a look, especially if I’ve learned to trust your opinion.

I follow some very talented business bloggers and I’m comfortable with blogging being used as a way to sell or promote something, to raise awareness or to influence us. But if that’s the plan, be honest about who you are and what you’re trying to do. Exercise some common sense and don’t set out to monopolise what I read.

It’s About Respect

My sweetheart recently wrote an article about the tragedy of the commons – how we all gain when we respect shared resources, whatever they are – and lose when we don’t.

After nearly a year of blogging, I’ve come to see the Reader as a shared treasure trove we are free to mine for whatever we value. It can be infuriating (thank goodness ‘Explore Tags’ is back after the recent updates!) – but it’s rewarding too.

Tags (used the right way) are helpful little signposts, directing us to recent posts on subjects we enjoy or want to research. The community benefits if we tag unselfishly, for our readers’ enjoyment, and suffers when we tag selfishly, so we’ll get the most possible eyes on our posts, even reluctant ones.

I want to dedicate my Reader time to finding genuine people who create original content. People who broaden my mind by giving me glimpses of their pain, joy or insight; those who see every ‘like’ the way it was intended – as a small token of pleasure, given or received. And I don’t want to wade through something that approaches spam to get to them.

You’ve met tag-hoggers if you’ve ever used the Reader to explore popular topics such as ‘news’, ‘flowers’, or ‘roses’. Some of them are quite entertaining, but others are not.

If their posts doesn’t bother you, or you haven’t noticed what they’re doing, that’s fine. Just scroll past them. But if it does, you have a remedy. Block them from your Reader for ever!

Blocking A Site

The ReaderHead over to your Reader and look for three grey dots that appear in every site header opposite the site title and author (in the top right of the screenshot above).

Click on the dots and a drop down menu appears.

Drop down menu

Click on ‘Block Site’ to prevent the blog from appearing again in your search results.


If you somehow manage to do this by mistake, you have the option to unblock the site immediately afterwards. I couldn’t find a WordPress help document about this feature, despite some searching, so I’m not sure how you’d go on if you later wanted to reinstate a blog you’d accidentally blocked.

If you’re not sure, just scroll past and give the blogger the benefit of the doubt – this time! I’m not suggesting we go wild and block people for the slightest of reasons just because we can – we’re presumably setting a filter which might noticeably slow down our searches if used to excess.

Luckily, these people turn out to be more rare than they appear – a few weeks of using this feature sparingly to block the worst offenders has made my own browsing experience much more pleasant.

Let me know what you think. Am I just being mean, or is this something you do?

If you’d like a refresher on how to use tags, take a look at the WordPress support info Tags in the Reader or my longread post on Tags and Categories

9 Replies to “WordPress tips: how to block a site in the Reader”

  1. This is some useful info. Normally I just scroll past anything that isn’t to my liking, or isn’t what it appears to be. Since I’m probably the least tech-savvy blogger on WordPress, I normally think I must have misunderstood the tag or it’s interpretation, so I just move on.
    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who is dumbfounded by all the hashtags floating around in the world today, again I thought it’s was something all tech-y people knew but was lost on only me.

    1. Scrolling past is probably the best solution in most cases, but it’s nice to have options. If you meet a really persistent case of tag-hogging, you now have the choice to exercise your new found powers to block the offender.

  2. Useful and practical advice. 🙂 I love using the Reader as well, but I have little patience for people earning attention when their content doesn’t deserve it.

  3. Thanks for highlighting this. Certain topics do attract a lot of junk (“Celtic” is another one) and it’s good to stop the spam and/or foolishness.

  4. Good to explain this. I stumbled on the way to do this the day that I kept seeing full frontal nude men showing up in the reader under something, not sure exactly, but I think it was gardening or outdoors. It was scary that is all I know.

  5. there is actually an new system they have introduced – I got a Daily Post update about it this week – its at the bottom right hand corner it you hover there – however, when I just tried it I managed to unfollow you – have followed you again – but I can’t see the block site on it – these things always confuse me!

    however thanks for the info – its not something I’ve been much bothered by, because I use the reader sparingly anyway, and don’t search by tags – got enuf sites I’m already following to add many more – smile

    1. I noticed the new follow (or following) button hovering at the bottom of posts. The dots for the block button etc in the Reader haven’t changed. You won’t see them unless you’re browsing through the Reader which I do quite often. You make a great point about updates – I doubt the dots will stay there forever!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: