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.
- Sep 21, 2011 @ 1:26 pm
Sep 21st at 1:36 pm
Thank you for all you do.
Sep 21st at 1:40 pm
This is very good! I like it!
Sep 21st at 1:45 pm
Sep 21st at 1:49 pm
outweigh, not outway
Sep 21st at 1:49 pm
follow my boring pointless blog!
Sep 21st at 1:51 pm
I can’t see any small, cute, little follow button on my blog…
Sep 21st at 1:51 pm
Nice, but if you are using Typekit fonts, the icon obscures it.
Sep 21st at 1:54 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 2:00 pm
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
Sep 21st at 2:06 pm
Sep 21st at 2:17 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 2:19 pm
Sep 21st at 2:21 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 2:33 pm
dont see the button in my blog..even when im off…
Sep 21st at 2:35 pm
maybe cause I have a subscribe button on my widget?…i need to take off this to see the new button???
Sep 21st at 2:42 pm
Sep 21st at 2:44 pm
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?!
Sep 21st at 2:51 pm
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…
Sep 21st at 2:53 pm
But, why I didn’t see it in my blog? Is it need special theme?
Sep 21st at 2:56 pm
“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?
Sep 21st at 2:59 pm
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…
Sep 21st at 3:00 pm
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
Sep 21st at 3:00 pm
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!
Sep 21st at 3:02 pm
Well done. I like this kind of initiatives very much.
Sep 21st at 3:04 pm
Thank you folks at wordpress, as always great job!!!
Sep 21st at 3:10 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 3:12 pm
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?
Sep 21st at 3:17 pm
I sincerely believe that this new tool creates confusion with the subscription and I do not see the difference.
Sep 21st at 3:21 pm
This sounds geat! I’m going to keep track of who and what comes of it. Thanls -
Sep 21st at 3:27 pm
BRILLIANT! Just what I needed. Thank you for everything.
Sep 21st at 3:30 pm
okay, coming from me, that’s a LOT, because i always hate new stuff. ;D
Sep 21st at 3:39 pm
what is the difference between the subscription and follow?
Sep 21st at 3:40 pm
I like it so much, perfect and cute. Thank you WP.com
Sep 21st at 3:42 pm
This is great and I agree, people are more reluctant to subscribe than they are to follow.
Sep 21st at 3:43 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 3:45 pm
Great, thanks! I like it and I appreciate your innovations.
Sep 21st at 4:00 pm
That is a great idea! The word “subscribe” connotes some kind of long term obligation, which many readers shy away from.
Sep 21st at 4:00 pm
Sep 21st at 4:03 pm
This is a very functional addition to blogs. One problem though: The “fonts from typekit” overlaps this follow button.
Sep 21st at 4:03 pm
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?
Sep 21st at 4:04 pm
Sep 21st at 4:10 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 4:15 pm
sounds like an excellent and subtle addition… nice work… too bad you guys don’t run Facebook. too…
Sep 21st at 4:15 pm
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
Sep 21st at 4:31 pm
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!
Sep 21st at 4:49 pm
An excellent new convenience for readers.
Sep 21st at 4:51 pm
Goed initiatief! (That’s Dutch, but I’m sure you’ll understand )
Sep 21st at 4:54 pm
Sep 21st at 4:56 pm
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 ?!
Sep 21st at 5:00 pm
As asual, what about wordpress.org websites ?
Sep 21st at 5:02 pm
Great addition. Good work WP!!!
Sep 21st at 5:15 pm
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! =)
Sep 21st at 5:16 pm
I like the addition of the “Follow” button rather than “Subscribe” for the reasons you mentioned. Thanks folks! Martin
Sep 21st at 5:22 pm
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!
Sep 21st at 5:23 pm
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?
Sep 21st at 5:45 pm
Love it. And I haven’t even taken time to look at it, yet.
Bring it on, whatever will boost . . .
Sep 21st at 6:10 pm
Interesting, it does not show up on my theme, I am self hosted though. It’s a neat idea!
Sep 21st at 6:11 pm
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?
Sep 21st at 6:14 pm
I’d actually like this feature, but I don’t see it on my blog (even after signing out): http://arlohemphill.com/
Sep 21st at 6:26 pm
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?
Sep 21st at 6:27 pm
Sep 21st at 6:38 pm
I think the comment, “subscribe suggests to some its something you pay for, whereas follow has no such connotation,” is spot on.
Sep 21st at 6:39 pm
Thank you for the improvement!
Sep 21st at 6:40 pm
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
Sep 21st at 6:43 pm
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!
Sep 21st at 6:44 pm
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!
Sep 21st at 6:47 pm
Your explanation is most lucid, and the FOLLOW button seems to be a good addition – Thank You.
Sep 21st at 6:51 pm
Neat idea! Anything that makes it easier for people to be told about new posts is great in my book.
Sep 21st at 6:56 pm
thanks for the idea, I think it’s cute.
Sep 21st at 6:56 pm
I think it’s a great idea, thanks! True about the “subscribe” connotations.
Sep 21st at 6:57 pm
The Follow button is an excellent addition. Thank you.
Sep 21st at 6:59 pm
Nice and simple but very noticeable, well done!!
Sep 21st at 6:59 pm
LOVE IT. I think you guys are great. From one happy wordpress blogger, Lynn
Sep 21st at 7:00 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 7:04 pm
how do I add the follow button?
Sep 21st at 7:05 pm
I have very few subscribers. I think this simple follow button is elegant as noted above and unobtrusive. Thanks!
Sep 21st at 7:14 pm
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!
Sep 21st at 7:15 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 7:19 pm
Thank you Scott. I like the idea and I agree that Follow is different than Subscribe.
Sep 21st at 7:22 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 7:29 pm
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 !
Sep 21st at 7:31 pm
and the translation “disciples” is not a very positive word in french… It implies I’m like a guru or something… just saying.
Sep 21st at 7:32 pm
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.
Sep 21st at 7:34 pm
Thank you. That’s a nice feature add.