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By speech enabling your blog, you offer readers the option of listening to your blog content. This can be incredibly useful for people with bad eyesight or for people doing a lot of multi-tasking that just prefer to listen to the content being read as they are doing other things.

But honestly, I think the best reason to do it, besides the fact that it is free and easy to do, is just that it is way cool. It can help to differentiate your web blog from all the millions of other web blogs out there.

So how do you do it? The easiest way I have found is to use a new product called webReader. webReader offers various subscription services that can be used on commercial web sites, but they also offer a free version for personal websites and blogs. The only downside is that the free service includes an advertisement that is read at the beginning of every post. But the ad is very short and I think the benefits of having the service far outweigh this one minor annoyance.

Getting started is easy. Just go to the following link to sign up for the free version. When signing up, you will need to select a language (they offer American English, Swedish, British English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese) and a voice type (male or female). You will receive a confirmation email before the service is activated but that is very standard these days.

Once activated and logged in, you can go to the Implement webReader link under Profile. Here you will find links that bring you to specific instructions for how to implement webReader on your blog.


The free version offers plug-ins for WordPress 2x and Joomla-based web sites. They also offer widgets for Blogger, Typepad and Ning. You can also manually embed scripting code within your personal website or blog.

I decided to give it a try and implement webReader on my site. All I had to do was copy the scripting code provided in the instructions and paste it into an empty textbox in my site sidebar.

Just to give you an example of how easy it is to implement for my website, I just went to the Manage tab and clicked Features. I then dragged a new text Box onto the layout and saved the results.

I then went to the main tab and clicked Edit for the new Text Box I added. I pasted in the code that I copied from the webReader web site and clicked Save.

And that is it. The whole thing was super easy and it took me less than 10 minutes to get it all working properly. When complete, you should see a Listen icon next to each post in your blog.

I would love to hear from others that implement webReader on their personal web sites. Drop us a comment and let us know how it went and what you think of it.

  1. Roy
    April 22, 2009 at 8:57 am


    The Listen button will be there until the post is deleted or until ReadSpeaker webReader is uninstalled. This is the case in both the free and paying versions.

  2. Phyllis
    April 13, 2009 at 8:49 am today I'm taking the odiogo code off the client's site. Thanks for mentioning this - funny how things happen with blog comments!

    • Mitch
      April 13, 2009 at 11:03 am

      Glad to have been able to bring it to your attention; good luck with it all.

  3. Phyllis
    April 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    when I checked my client's site for the June post - I clicked it and it started so I assumed it was the whole post - but NOOOO - it was just the odiogo ad part! So then I checked all the posts - and some worked - some didn't - some had the front-end ad - some just said "this post is no longer available" and the dates didn't seem to matter. Now I know some posts were re-posted so that might be why. Now I'm very upset - I went through all I could find on the odiogo website and read nothing about a time limit - this is very upsetting to say the least!

    • Mitch
      April 13, 2009 at 12:32 am

      Trust me, I know how you feel, because I went back and wondered why many of my posts that it had been working for had suddenly stopped. That's why I wrote them, and that's what they told me. And, truthfully, the service listed above doesn't have a time frame on their site either, so I'm betting that it does the same thing, especially for the free version.

  4. Mitch
    April 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    A quick question on this one, if I may. I use Odiogo, mainly because I heard of it first, but have learned that they only keep content for a few weeks, then it's all gone, and all your sounds are gone from old posts. Any idea how long this one stays?

    • Phyllis
      April 12, 2009 at 2:29 pm

      never heard that - but we have a post dated in June 2008 that still works...sorry about the misspelling of odiogo

      • Mitch
        April 12, 2009 at 7:43 pm

        Really? Can you share that post with me? I talked to the people at Odiogo and that's what they told me, but if you have older posts then maybe I can get some older posts also.

  5. Phyllis
    April 2, 2009 at 9:32 am

    I put odio on a client's site - we love it - but blogger let me put it right in, whereas my wordpress site (free one) won't let me do that. So I will check this one out - thanks for the tip!

  6. Andy Lau TC
    March 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    ya...good!cool...going to use and test....tq!

  7. dave
    March 29, 2009 at 3:41 am

    I've added it to my Blog and I think it's Cool. Thanks for the post =)

  8. Rahul Jadhav
    March 29, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Nice post. I have included it in my Sunday Link Love post :)

  9. Shaun
    March 29, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Why did you not use it in this blog so we could see how it works?

  10. Kerry
    March 29, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I use odiogo for mu blog. But, since I installed it, I notice that the site upload speed has gone down. I am now debating what to do ...

    • Sara Morgan Grand
      March 29, 2009 at 1:21 am

      Hi Kerry,

      I have been using webReader on my web site for over a week and have not noticed any problems with speed. Might want to give it a try. It's really easy.

  11. Harsh Agrawal
    March 28, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    This is good....but is it really useful..?
    It might work for blogs like "Blogging" "SEO" "story telling"
    But a blog like mine which is a strict tech blog where we talk more about links....
    Will it be useful?
    I donn't feel so...
    Though I might give it a try.....WIll wait for few more reviews....

    • Sara Morgan Grand
      March 29, 2009 at 1:18 am

      As far as I see it, the ability to hear the blog is just an optional enhancement. The reader does not have to click the Listen icon, so they can decide for themselves whether it works for them.

      I would suggest adding it to the site and then doing a post asking the readers whether they like it or not. If you do, be sure to post back here and let us know what they thought. I think I will do the same on my web site where I implemented webReader.

      Nice site, btw :-)

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