More traffic for your blog with the follow button

We’ve written before about our efforts at WordPress.com to help you get more attention for your work. And we’re here again with a new feature: follow.

After weeks of experimentation with different designs, locations and names, we’ve determined the addition of a small, cute, little button at the bottom of your blog will dramatically help pageviews and retention.

Starting today, on all blogs, whenever someone who is not logged into WordPress.com visits, they’ll see this small little button in the bottom right corner. The button is mostly out of the way, but just noticeable enough before people leave.

And when a visitor clicks on the button, it smoothly slides open, revealing a simple way to follow the blog without having the burden of checking back on their own to see if there’s anything new. They can put their email address in, and will be notified whenever your blog has a new post.

Questions we expect to be frequently asked:

1. Why is it called Follow and not Subscribe?  Good question, as many designers here at WordPress.com debated this, including me. Although the functionality is similiar to the Email subscription widget, after testing various prototypes, we learned more people clicked on the button and signed up if it were called Follow rather than Subscribe. We also know subscribe suggests to some its something you pay for, whereas follow has no such connotation.

2. I don’t like it. How can I turn it off on my blog? Easy. Go to your Dashboard. Click on Settings, then Reading, then Email.  Sorry you don’t like it – but we understand. If you change your mind, this is also the place to go to customize the message new followers (subscribers) will see.

3. Will other subscription features also have their name changed? We are carefully studying the impact of different names on existing features. We only change names when we have evidence it helps our bloggers and the benefits outweigh the annoyance of the change. We don’t change feature names to be fashionable or to emulate other services that might rhyme with “critter” or “shmacebook”.

4. Why don’t I see the button? The follow button only appears for users not logged in to WordPress.com. If you want to follow a WordPress.com blog, and are already logged in, simply use the follow button that already appears in your admin bar at the top of the screen. If you want to see the new hotness, log out of WordPress.com and go to any blog, including your own, to see it. To log out, go to your admin bar at top of the screen. Click on “Me”, then click on “Log Out”.

5. Why did you put something on my blog that changes how it looks? We know you want complete control over your blog’s appearance, and that’s why we’ve built so many themes, widgets and customizations for you to use. But here the data was strong enough for the positive effect of this small little button to turn it on.  We’re making sure you know about it and know how to turn it off if you don’t want to use it. In the future we expect to add more ways for visitors to follow your blog, which will give visitors and bloggers more of what they want.


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Scott Berkun

355 Comments

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  1. Mike Elliott

    Brilliant, just what I was looking for… You guys rock! Keep up the good work!

    Like

  2. Seat Pitch

    Great idea… except it hides behind the Fonts button.

    Like

  3. nray

    Thank you for all you do.

    Like

  4. Blogger

    This is very good! I like it!

    Like

  5. sweetman

    Excellent!

    Like

  6. Caroline Bentley Page

    outweigh, not outway

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nelly3014

    follow my boring pointless blog!

    Like

  8. Hugo Silva

    I can’t see any small, cute, little follow button on my blog… :-(

    Like

  9. Dave

    Nice, but if you are using Typekit fonts, the icon obscures it.

    Like

  10. theotheri

    I’m grateful that you have put this icon on my blog so that if I like it, there’s nothing more I have to do. I do like it, but if I didn’t, I have the option, as you point out, of undoing instead. It’s a lot easier that way. At least for me.
    Thank you.

    Like

  11. Pingback: WordPress.com aims to drive pageviews, adds a follow button to all hosted blogs - TNW Social Media
  12. linziloop

    Awesome! Now everybody has to start using WordPress so I can easily keep track of their blog posts, there are so many out there I love but forget to go check for updates!

    Nice little addition me thinks, hopefully it will help my reading figures :D

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Salil Lawande

    Thank you.

    Like

  14. Pingback: More traffic for your blog with the follow button | WP Resource
  15. The Frame Locker

    It’s just what the doctor ordered. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s way down at the bottom and easily overlooked. Your next mission, if at all possible, is to give us the ability to move it to a more prominent spot so we can eliminate the Subscribe widget, which will then be redundant.

    Like

  16. rojan88

    great innovation :-)

    Like

  17. Cyndy Otty

    I like the idea and I like that it’s small and unobtrusive and I really like that there is a way to disable it, but it would be nice if the text of the popup could be customized a la the Email Subscription widget.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Cyndy:

      Thanks for the feedback. We’ll keep it in mind. As mentioned on another comment, we’re unlikely to change the name of a command or term that is used throughout WordPress.com (Comment, Dashboard, etc.).

      Like

  18. trintademaio

    dont see the button in my blog..even when im off…

    Like

  19. trintademaio

    maybe cause I have a subscribe button on my widget?…i need to take off this to see the new button???

    Like

  20. Pingback: OnlineMagazine » Blog Archive » WordPress.com aims to drive pageviews, adds a follow button to all hosted blogs
  21. ajinkyar68

    ajinkyar68 reblogged this from ajinkyar68.

    Like

  22. Gaurav Tiwari

    Hello… I remember that once I saw this button before, when I was not logged into WordPress.com and was try to subscribe via email to a blog. Is it true that it existed already?!

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Gaurav: You may have seen a test we were doing with a prototype of this feature.

      Like

  23. Jan O'Hara (Tartitude)

    I applaud the idea, but is it necessary to add the number of followers, or is there any way to turn that numeric off?

    In my case, flashing my stats won’t translate into an advantage, but will sound like a plea for attention and love. Which it just might be…
    ;)

    Like

  24. isroi

    Good effort.
    But, why I didn’t see it in my blog? Is it need special theme?

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi isroi: Because you have an old typekit widget in the same place, it’s covering the new follow button. We just deployed a fix, and it should be resolved soon. They’ll appear next to each other.

      Like

  25. *No/Deli*

    “We know you want complete control over your blog’s appearance, and that’s why we’ve built so many themes, widgets and customizations for you to use.”

    So when will you allow users to opt out of the two big, ugly blue buttons in the comment forms – the logins for services that might rhyme with ‘critter’ or ‘shmacebook’?

    I want that wild customization.

    Why the inconsistency?

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi NoDeli:

      It will be sooner than you think. We’re working on a new design for the comments area and it’s in testing now. No promises on when, but keep an eye out for it.

      Like

  26. Mikalee Byerman

    This is a great alternative for people who are somewhat skeptical as they peruse blogs. “Following” clearly implies far less commitment than “subscribing” — or even “liking,” for that matter!

    I’m only curious if we’ll be advised of new followers — or if that will be transparent to us? I’m sure we’ll see in the coming days…

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Mikalee:

      You can view your list of followers/subscribers by going to Dashboard, Site Stats, and scrolling down to Totals, Subscriptions and Shares. If you click where it says active subscribers you’ll see the entire list.

      If you want to get notified when there’s a new follower:

      1. Go to Dashboard
      2. Go to Settings, Discussion
      3. In the section that says “Email me whenever” click the checkbox for “when someone subscribes”

      Like

  27. Debi Walter

    Thank you for all you do to make our blogs the best on the Internet! Having been to the San Diego WordCamp I realize how much your goal is to make blogging easy and enjoyable. From my nearly 3 years of blogging perspective you have and continue to meet your goal. I love this change. Thanks!!
    Debi Walter – The Romantic Vineyard

    Like

  28. Tobi

    Not working for me :-/ it’s activated in the Settings, and I had other ppl try it out without being logged into wordpress… no button appearing! Any help? :-) Thx!

    Like

  29. No Nonsense Consultancy BV

    Well done. I like this kind of initiatives very much.

    So: thanks!

    Like

  30. astrawally

    Thank you folks at wordpress, as always great job!!!

    Like

  31. *No/Deli*

    I like the new ‘subscribe-but-we-call-‘follow’ tab, but without any (apparent) ability to alter its text, I had to switch it off.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Nodeli: We’ll consider allowing you to change the text in the future. Generally for features that use an important command name used elsewhere on WordPress.com, we don’t allow customization of the name (Post comment, Press This, or Dashboard) since the universality of the word is what makes the feature universally recognized. But we’ll keep it in mind.

      Like

  32. PodgeThePuffer

    Love the idea. Just checked it out on my own blog and was a little underwhelmed with its apparent insignificance. In fact, even though I knew it was there I had to look for it. Can we alter its location on the page?

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Podge:

      We did significant experimentation with prototypes of the button, including different locations and names. The bottom right did significantly better in all of our tests, and we saw little reason to allow a different placement. For those who don’t like the feature, or find the placement annoying, they can simply turn it off, which is a reasonable tradeoff.

      Like

  33. Joaquim

    I sincerely believe that this new tool creates confusion with the subscription and I do not see the difference.

    Like

  34. joymcdee

    This sounds geat! I’m going to keep track of who and what comes of it. Thanls -

    Like

  35. J

    BRILLIANT! Just what I needed. Thank you for everything.

    Like

  36. bloodsong

    cool.

    okay, coming from me, that’s a LOT, because i always hate new stuff. ;D

    Like

  37. Joaquim

    what is the difference between the subscription and follow?

    Like

  38. Waqas Ali

    I like it so much, perfect and cute. :) Thank you WP.com

    Like

  39. Pingback: More traffic for your blog with the follow button « Mas-Tool's Favorites
  40. readingdivas

    This is great and I agree, people are more reluctant to subscribe than they are to follow.

    Thanks!
    RD.

    Like

  41. Mia Anstine

    I’m not impressed with the number I see in the pop-up. Guess I’ll see that increase soon and not be so embarassed about it later.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Mia: Any number is a good number. We believe showing the number, even if it’s small, gives visitors more confidence than not showing any number at all. Having any followers at all is something to take pride in. And I’d take 30 awesome followers over 300 lame ones. The number isn’t necessarily the most important thing.

      Like

  42. Cooking in Mexico

    Great, thanks! I like it and I appreciate your innovations.

    Kathleen

    Like

  43. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    That is a great idea! The word “subscribe” connotes some kind of long term obligation, which many readers shy away from.

    Ronnie

    Like

  44. yousef59

    …good idea…

    Like

  45. Pingback: Geek Reading September 21, 2011 | Regular Geek
  46. Word Salad

    This is a very functional addition to blogs. One problem though: The “fonts from typekit” overlaps this follow button.

    Like

  47. Hugo Silva

    Why my comment @ September 21st, 2011 at 1:51 pm is still waiting for moderation?!

    I begin suspecting that you only want good comments…

    Now I want to say that the follow button is already on my blog. But only in IE, Firefox and Chrome. I tested in Opera and still nothing? Do you know what is happening regarding this browser?

    Thanks!

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hey now. That was just an hour or two ago – a little patience please? :) As you might imagine, we’re not slackers here – so much to do, so little time. And if you look at the comments here or on other en.blog posts, you’ll find plenty of entertaining evidence that we accept critical comments as well as positive ones.

      We will investigate what’s going on in Opera.

      Like

  48. Jenny

    Love it :)

    Like

  49. Pingback: Wordpress.com adds a follow button | Domain Industry News
  50. Dinesh Wagle

    For the blogs being operated in languages other than English, the need to change the text that is seen when clicking the follow button into their respective language is urgent.

    Like

  51. aspicco

    sounds like an excellent and subtle addition… nice work… too bad you guys don’t run Facebook. too…

    Like

  52. colltales

    Hi, Scott, great feature. Quick question: the Follow button sits exactly underneath a Typekit logo and I can’t seem to be able to get rid of it. Any ideas? I’d hardly noticed that it was there before. It kind of defeats the purpose since Follow can’t be moved to other parts. Let me know. Thanks

    Like

  53. Pingback: Nu blir det enklare att följa din Wordpress blogg med Followknapp! « Sociala Sussi
  54. hollyjb

    This is so awesome! It fits right in with my blog look and is always there so even when they’ve scrolled down and can’t see the follow widget, they’ll see this button. Then they don’t have to remember to go back up if they actually liked the post!

    Like

  55. Pingback: Critter or Shmacebook | tekArtist
  56. John Hayden

    An excellent new convenience for readers.

    Like

  57. cornutus

    Goed initiatief! (That’s Dutch, but I’m sure you’ll understand ;-) )

    Like

  58. ncsalceditor

    Nifty. Thanks!

    Like

  59. Sathya

    Hi Scott, Thanks for all the effort on working to get us more attention. Nifty feature and good one on naming it to Follow ! A quick question though – when u did the testing, was the Follow button as effective when we have the Fonts (typekit) enabled. I know lot of ppl use typekit, wondering if having both these buttons (especially not having similar looks) makes it more cluttered and works negatively …. anything u can share on that ?!

    Like

  60. Cyrille

    As asual, what about wordpress.org websites ?

    Liked by 1 person

  61. letspaintnature

    Great addition. Good work WP!!!

    Like

  62. tenbrokenbullets

    Thank you! You guys here at WordPress continue to amaze me.
    I’m always looking for new traffic just like anybody else on here, so I think this is a great feature.
    Keep ‘em coming! =)

    Like

  63. Martin

    I like the addition of the “Follow” button rather than “Subscribe” for the reasons you mentioned. Thanks folks! Martin

    Like

  64. Sandra Pawula

    Nice! Simple and elegant. I don’t have a sidebar so the button is beautifully obvious. I wonder if that will be the case on blogs with sidebars. I’ll have to check it out!

    Like

  65. Pingback: WordPress.com Aims to Increase Page Views By Adding A Follow Button
  66. eraserhead

    I would like to establish a group of followers and make it look like a special sorority that receives special notices. Can this feature be configured to do that?

    Like

  67. Pingback: WordPress.com adds a new Follow Button to drive more traffic to the Hosted Blogs
  68. katharinetrauger

    Love it. And I haven’t even taken time to look at it, yet.
    Bring it on, whatever will boost . . .

    Like

  69. Pingback: WordPress Follows the Cool Kids with Web and Android Updates « Mediafire Freaks - Rapidshare, Megaupload, Hotfile full Download
  70. stear1

    Interesting, it does not show up on my theme, I am self hosted though. It’s a neat idea!

    Like

  71. dogleadermysteries

    Thanks for the update.

    I wonder why WordPress isn’t giving users options as to where to place the Follow Button? “Top right corner” is the advice as to where to put a call to action on a blog or web site. So I’d really like to be able to move my new Follow option to that position.

    Any chance of offering a layout option?

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Since this is on by default, we needed to minimize the likelyhood we’d be covering an important part of a blog’s sidebar. As you point out, many blogs already have call to actions in the upper right, and we didn’t want to compete with it.

      In the future we might find a way to give more options, or to integrate the follow feature with the existing Subscribe by Email widget (which can be placed anywhere you like).

      Like

  72. Arlo Hemphill (@arlohemphill)

    I’d actually like this feature, but I don’t see it on my blog (even after signing out): http://arlohemphill.com/

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Arlo:

      This feature, like most announced on this blog, are for WordPress.com hosted blogs only.

      Like

  73. Pingback: WordPress Follows the Cool Kids with Web and Android Updates
  74. noraadrienne

    While this is all well and good, Most of us would be ecstatic if you’d find a way for us to have GFC and Networked Blog widgets that actually do something. As it stands now, I have no idea how many network blog followers I have since there’s no indication on that widget.

    PRETTY PLEASE???? Fix things so we can add them?

    Thank you.

    Like

  75. O Lojista

    Awesome!

    Like

  76. Pingback: More traffic for your blog with the follow button | PropertyHeat
  77. Pingback: WordPress introduce un botón “Follow” en todos sus blogs - Online
  78. Paul and Marian Sinclair

    I think the comment, “subscribe suggests to some its something you pay for, whereas follow has no such connotation,” is spot on.

    Like

  79. Slik

    Thank you for the improvement!

    Like

  80. momslifeponderings

    I like it! I am working on getting more traffic. I am now publicizing to FB and added tags and the Pin It capability. I’m at 863 views with 10 posts. I don’t know if that is good or not so good. I’d like more traffic because I am wanting to build a platform for some other writing projects I have. All ideas are welcome! Thanks, Dana

    Like

  81. Gregory LaMothe

    All of you are freaking geniuses and I pat myself on the back every day that I selected WordPress. Thank you for this feature and for thinking it through. Oh, one more thing: you can follow me by clicking on the small “Follow” button after my posts!

    Like

  82. Joseph Lieungh

    Is this live? On all Worpress blogs? I have been to 3 site plus my own and did not see this awesome feature. Can’t wait to utilize!

    Like

  83. christo46

    Your explanation is most lucid, and the FOLLOW button seems to be a good addition – Thank You.

    Like

  84. Brian James Freeman

    Neat idea! Anything that makes it easier for people to be told about new posts is great in my book. :)

    Like

  85. Trisha Allison

    thanks for the idea, I think it’s cute.

    Like

  86. Beth Dockrill

    I think it’s a great idea, thanks! True about the “subscribe” connotations.

    Like

  87. nicoluxembourg

    The Follow button is an excellent addition. Thank you.

    Like

  88. Maria Hortensia Justiniano

    Nice and simple but very noticeable, well done!!

    Like

  89. decorarts

    LOVE IT. I think you guys are great. From one happy wordpress blogger, Lynn

    Like

  90. Jackie

    If people are more likely to follow with a button that says “follow” rather than “subscribe”, why not just change the Email Widget to say “Follow”? Why the extra button? (Don’t get me wrong – love the contstant improvements and the hardworking WordPress team – just wondering why you wouldn’t update what you already have instead of introducing something new. Is it the placement that helps as well?)

    Also, I see others have asked this but it hasn’t been outrightly addressed – I would much prefer that folks don’t see how many followers I have. There’s an option to alter it in the Widget for Email subscriptions but not in the new follow button. I know it’s new – would just like to voice that I would appreciate being able to hide that as well.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Jackie: We may just do that. We like to work incrementally, making small changes, learning and then making more changes.

      Like

  91. advgrrls

    how do I add the follow button?

    Like

  92. Blessed Silence

    I have very few subscribers. I think this simple follow button is elegant as noted above and unobtrusive. Thanks!

    Like

  93. dewofthedesert

    Re: the number of followers question – I agree. This is not twitter or a popularity contest. Quality over quantity I always say. Love this new tool!

    Like

  94. Arlo Calles

    Hi,

    This is great. But we use the WordPress.org cms on our websites. Will the follow button be available as a plugin for wordpress templates?

    Thanks in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  95. brendamarroy

    Thank you Scott. I like the idea and I agree that Follow is different than Subscribe.

    Like

  96. Ken Chawkin

    Thank you very much for this added feature! I could never add the Subscribe widget on my Kubrick theme without removing all the other options on the right. This solves the problem for those who receive my emails about the latest blog post. Hopefully more will now sign up. Still haven’t figured out how to add the Follow me on Twitter button. But maybe this solves that problem more directly as well.

    Like

  97. MAO

    I LOVE it ! Congratz !

    As other mentioned I would be interested too on customizing the text. Don’t worry, I like the “Follow” vs “Subscribe”. It’s not about that. It’s because on my blog, followers get passwords for extra articles so it would be cool to specify that for my personal follow text.

    Thx for the great feature !

    Like

  98. MAO

    and the translation “disciples” is not a very positive word in french… It implies I’m like a guru or something… just saying.

    Like

  99. Niki Fulton

    I think this is a fantastic feature, subtle & efficient but I don’t like the stats showing so I’ve disabled it. I read your answer to the other person who mentioned this but really it’s not necessary to reveal number of existing subscribers – at least there should be a choice on whether to reveal stats or not. Shame as it looks great.

    Like

  100. onemoreoption

    Thank you. That’s a nice feature add.

    Like

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