Blogging

The Importance of Subscription Options

Okay, I have a gripe to share with you.  This is something that’s been annoying me for a while, and I’ve been saving it for a day when I couldn’t think of anything else to blog about.

It’s standard wisdom that writers are supposed to have a website/blog. It’s part of that whole platform thing we’re supposed to be building.  Some writers choose to have a static website that lists only their bio, their books, and any updates on new releases or appearances, etc.  And that’s fine if that’s what you want to do.

But those who choose to have a blog–those are who I want to gripe at this morning.

So you decide to blog.  You update your posts on some regular schedule, be it daily, weekly or whatever.  Your content is interesting.  You start to build a following…

And then you don’t bother having any way to subscribe to your freaking blog!

I’m sorry, but I’m a busy woman.  I do not have time to come by your blog every day to see if you posted something new.  That is why feed readers and email subscriptions were invented, so that your new content comes directly to me.

But over the last year as I’ve stumbled across new blogs I’d like to read, I keep finding blogs with no possible way to subscribe to them. My feed reader (Bloglines at the time) could not find the RSS or ATOM feed to subscribe to.  There was no subscribe by email button.  There might POSSIBLY be a Google Friends Connect widget, but I don’t want to have to go somewhere else to follow blogs because I chose not to use Blogger for a reason.  There’s the Networked Blogs widget through Facebook that’s an option too, but it’s still not the easiest for everyone.

As a writer trying to build a platform this is BAD.  It’s annoying and off-putting to potential readers because we’re ALL busy and it’s your job to make it as easy as possible for us to get your content.

Take a look in my right sidebar up top. See that?  You can click on those buttons and subscribe to the RSS feed (short for Really Simple Syndication) of either the post or the comments, and there’s a separate button for subscribing by email.

Too many blogs I’ve visited don’t have them.  I have to admit, the worst offenders seem to be those writers using Blogger as a platform.  I have no idea if Blogger has any kind of integrated feed or not.  WordPress.com is kind enough to offer these things as pre-integrated widgets.  If you’re on WordPress, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for you not to be using them.  And Blogger folks, there’s no reason for you not to come up with a widget to do it too.  Feedburner has plenty of options to do so.  It should be up top, clearly visible to any visitor to your site.

So this is a call to action!  If you do not already have RSS feeds and email subscription options on your blog, add them today.

13 thoughts on “The Importance of Subscription Options

  1. I just finished a post about website stuff that comes out Friday, so I was just complaining about this myself. Email is my preferred method right now. I was using Bloglines for a while, but it was too easy for me to ignore, to not go there. I always check my email, though. But lots of times, no subscribe by email buttons. Blogspot does seem to have the most offenders. I wish Blogspot would come up with something better–but then, they still have all those HORRIBLE commenting issues they won’t simplify so… I’m subscribed to Konrath’s blog via Feedburner. Yay. Except that I always get the link so long after the post goes live that the discussion is over.

    Anyway, yeah, lots of things I would like to subscribe to and check out more of, but no buttons. If you’re on WordPress.com, you’ll find those things in your Dashboard under Appearance-Widgets. Just drag and drop to add them to your sidebar. IDK how Feedburner works anymore, since Google took it over, but you’d think that would be easy for Blogspot users. If you’re still able to choose on there when you’d like subscribers to be emailed, try to choose a window that’s after your most frequent posting time each day, but not several hours later. http://www.feedburner.com.

    Most blogspot blogs do have a link that reads: “Subcribe to Posts (Atom)” at the bottom of the page, making the reader look for it isn’t the best plan.

  2. I totally got in trouble with Kait for not having a feed. 🙂 I’m glad she told me to get with the program because I actually get comments on my blog now that people can read it. (What a concept.) Don’t be an idiot like I was. On WordPress all you have to do is drag it from one side of the page to the other. Easy!

  3. Thank you, Kait! I’ve been following an author through his blog tour, and I hate the ones that are on Blogspot, which is most of them (I think Blogger is part of the same thing, maybe?) One of my big beefs is that even though you put your WordPress id at the bottom of the comment, if you aren’t logged into WordPress at the time, it will take you to a page that says you aren’t logged in and completely WIPE OUT your post. And I’m not going to start over, I’ll just leave. I like WordPress because it offers an email subscription, which is my favorite way of being notified. I gave a friend of mine a hard time because he chose Blogspot and I can’t sign up for email notification. Sometimes you can use something like Yahoo, but then you have to go to My Yahoo to see it. Grrr. I kind of got irritated on the blog tour and made a snarky comment about Blogspot on that particular blog. I hope the Blogspot police don’t come and arrest me. LOL

  4. I appreciate the blogs that offer an email subscription since I haven’t used my feed reader in a long time. I’d rather have my updates come to me.

  5. Oi, I just realized I didn’t have any such thing displayed on my blog. I think it’s because WordPress has them under the Widgets settings and I never noticed them when I set up my widgets. *smacks forehead* Thank you for the reminder post, though! Now I have subscription abilities clearly displayed on my blog. 😀

  6. I have found that same problem and have been equally annoyed. I would also add that not to be able to share a blog is a problem as well.

    1. I was SO SO happy when WordPress finally integrated share functions into the platform because they wouldn’t accept the outside source code for it. Makes life easier.

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