Blogs: Follow or Subscribe?
There are some important differences between followers and subscribers on a WordPress blog. Bloggers and blog readers need to understand the difference. In this post, I will shed some light on the topic.
In order to follow a WordPress blog, you must have your own WordPress account. Most bloggers like to follow other blogs on topics of interest. Oftentimes, they will follow many of their own followers to support those who are supporting them. It is a simple process that just requires the click of a button.
What happens when I follow a blog?
Once someone starts following your blog, they will see each post you make in their newsfeed. This is handy in that they never have to go looking for one of your posts. Following also prevents an overloaded inbox. Consider someone who is following 20 blogs. In that situation, had they subscribed instead of followed, their email inbox would be flooded with post alerts from all the bloggers they follow.
On the surface, this sounds like the best way to go, but it does have downsides for both the follower and the blogger. Before I get into those, let’s talk about subscribing.
What happens when I subscribe to a blog?
When someone subscribes to your blog, they must submit and confirm their email address. At this point, they become an email follower. Whenever you post to your blog, your subscribers will receive an email post alert. In order to read the full post and interact (like, comment, share), they must click on the link in the email which will take them to your website.
Subscription is the primary method for following a blog if you do not have your own WordPress account. Also, subscribers are usually provided extra content in the form of newsletters, free giveaways, and other special offers being sent out to the blog’s email list.
Which method of following is better and why?
From a blogger’s perspective, the more followers they have, the better, regardless of method. More followers mean more exposure for your content and higher numbers to attract affiliates and advertisers should you ever decide to monetize your website. That said, subscribing with an email address is better for both the reader and the blogger. I’ll explain why…
The number of followers is a single factor in many that add to the success of a blog. The number of visitors to your website, link clicks, likes, comments, shares, and other factors contribute to a blog’s overall success. Once WordPress users follow your blog, they will rarely return to your website as they are receiving all of your posts in their newsfeeds. Likewise, they are more apt to read your post and continue to others without further interaction. As a result, the blogger who wrote the post is losing page visits and reader interaction. This isn’t the case with subscribers.
When subscribers receive an email post alert, they see only a truncated version of the post with a link to “read more.” If they are interested in the topic, they will click on the link which will take them directly to your website. That gives you another visitor for the day and often leads to reader interaction. Having their email address also allows you to send out special content such as promotions, events, newsletters, or giveaways. This isn’t possible for followers who have not subscribed since their email addresses are not provided.
From the perspective of followers, subscribing is the best option to support the blog and to receive all of its available content. Yes, it means you will be receiving more email messages to sort through, but if you don’t mind the added effort, it boosts the blog site you are supporting and gives you access to all of the special offers or exclusive content.
Can you follow via both methods?
Yes, if you have your own WordPress account, you can follow the blog and also subscribe with your email. If you go that route, you will see the posts in your newsfeed and receive post alerts and special content via email. That may seem a bit redundant, but it supports the blogger while affording you access to more content than you would have had by simply following.
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