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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355 Comments

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  1. Rosie Cochran

    That’s a great idea! I checked out my blog when signed out and it looks pretty slick! Thank you!

    Like

  2. Rone Neffect (@RoneNeffect)

    Most Excellent!

    Self-hosting version via JetPack in the near future? Also waiting on the new commenting system introduced back in June (“Post Comments Using Twitter and Facebook”) to be implemented for self-hosting WP blogs as well. Keep up the great work!

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Rone:

      Thanks for your interest. Adding more features to Jetpack is in the works. I know it’s hard to realize from where you stand, but to make features work securely and reliably on any webhost (which is what Jetpack features do) isn’t as simple as copying the code for the feature for WordPress.com and pasting it into a plugin for use on self-hosted sites. Follow http:///jetpack.me if you want to be first to know about future Jetpack releases. I can promise there will be a major update coming soon.

      Like

  3. boomerontario

    I like this a lot, but why can’t I turn off the part that says how many followers I have? I don’t want that information seen. On the subscribe by email button, I can hide it. Can I hide it on the follow button? If not, I’ll just turn it off.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Boomer: Feedback noted. Currently there is no way not to show this. We recommend you do, as we believe people are more likely to follow if they see the number. But if you don’t want it shown, best bet is to turn it off for now.

      Like

  4. GxP Perspectives

    I think this is a good addition but I think it needs work. I just looked at this feature on a friends computer and I don’t think the “follow” button is very visible. It is small and not on the actual blog. It is also “grey on grey,” at least on my blog. I din’t even see it the first time I looked, and I was looking. I would suggest a contrasting color to set it off a little. Ask your mother-in-law or someone not at WordPress to comment on visibility. Or better yet, what do other people think? I would very much like “follow” to be a success.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      One challenge we have for something like this is striking a balance between drawing attention to the feature, and taking attention away from the blog itself. As I mentioned in the post, we tried a few different experiments for how this should work, and this was a good tradeoff. Its something people notice as they finish reading, or briefly while they skim through a blog, but it’s not demanding enough to distract people away from the blog itself.

      We pay close attention to how new features are used and if they are used as much as we expect, and we’ll make future changes accordingly.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Like

  5. inkydancestudios

    All sounds good to me.

    Like

  6. glamitalian

    to me it’s seem like a great idea…it really makes sense!

    Like

  7. glamitalian

    to me it’s seems like a great idea…it really makes sense!

    Like

  8. inkydancestudios

    And the reason it sounds good to me is that I’ve never liked the word subscription for something that doesn’t cost. I often ignore things that ask for a subscription.

    Like

  9. Tawna Crawford Richard

    I have signed out of all 3 of my blogs and do not see the button, and I want it there:( They are fitafterbabies.com, tawnasplan.com, and btrbb.com can you tell me how to get the button on there?

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Hi Tawna:

      This feature is available only on WordPress.com. It doesn’t appear any of your blogs are hosted with us.

      Like

  10. Timothy D. Naegele

    Great idea, Scott, but lots of blogs notify followers when new comments have been posted beneath each article (e.g., NBC’s ProGolfTalk, which is one of your sites). For example, we post articles, and then may have 100+ comments beneath them. Some people are interested in new comments to our articles. This new feature of yours does not seem to address that issue.

    Like

  11. sertacady

    Great idea. Thx

    Like

  12. camary1996

    HOT DIGITY DOG!!! I love it! Anything that helps my blogs gotta be good, I’m glad you guys are always thinking about bettering (like that word?) wordpress. God bless you and help you keep up the great work.

    I’ve had a blast blogging on wordpress….well my only negative thing is….where’s my followers?? You do have tutorials and I did everything…..well….I’m still having so….that was your purpose for WP?….fun…..right?

    Like

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  14. Lizzi_writer

    Thank you, sounds GREAT to me!
    Lizzi

    Like

  15. trintademaio

    Like

  16. Lee Porter

    I, too, love this new feature but have turned it off because I do not want readers to know how many subscribers/followers I have.

    Let’s be honest, in this techno world, numbers (fans, friends, subscribers, etc) have some significance. Numbers don’t speak to the quality or talent of a blog/blogger, but they signify something.

    Please let us know when you tweak this up, and I will add the feature again. Thank you! Love all you do!

    Like

  17. peixesloucos

    thanks for this!

    Like

  18. the island traveler

    Thanks to you and the Word Press staff finding ways to make blogging more fun, exciting, easy to use and most of all finding more readers for our thoughts and spreading the awesome connections in the cyber world. Have a blessed day. Keep inspiring the world with your innovations and ideas. http://consumerjournaldotnet.wordpress.com

    Like

  19. José Carlos

    Thank you WordPress.com. Nice feature !!!

    Like

  20. Clownshoes

    The “follow” button is really tiny and tends to blend in to the grey background when using the “Freshy” theme. You can see my blog @ youthstrikesback.com if you want to see what I mean.

    Like

  21. fallcorn1936

    I think this is a great Idea and am glad that it is not called subscription as this does suggest payment. I have been trying to have people subscribe without too much success and hope this will change their minds

    Like

  22. buylocalmarket

    Thank you for continuing to make WordPress great!

    Like

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  24. DG MARYOGA

    As bright and promising as ever!
    Endless allowances and support,offered liberally.
    Thanks kindly

    Like

  25. davidstrachan611

    Sounds good and effective

    Like

  26. makedigitalmoney

    That’s great, that is the best thing do, and it is going to improve our future connections with more exposure. Keep on the good work.

    Like

  27. gifted1der

    Just wanted to say thanks for adding this. It’s cool.

    Like

  28. kristinaaron

    Keep work well!!

    Like

  29. Brian James Freeman

    Oddly enough, so far my blog keeps telling me I have “1” subscriber every time someone signs up to follow the blog! 🙂

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Taking a quick look at the follow button on your site, it says you have over 30 followers.

      Like

  30. Kadeejia Irvin

    I don’t see it on my blog, nor do I have an “email” option under settings>>reading. I thought maybe it was my browser but it can’t be because I can see it on this blog.

    Like

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  32. Elliott Odeh

    I’d love for it to be centre-right on my screen. Please add the ability to shift it around to an individuals preferred location. Fantastic addition, by the way.

    Like

  33. lexia cherry relationship coach

    Well done WordPress – love your work
    Lexia Cherry

    Like

  34. Eva D. Hofmann

    Just great – Thanks a lot for all your improvements and sophisticated additions
    Eva

    Like

  35. Cat Edwards Clairvoyant

    Thank you! That is awesome, I appreciate all the help you give.

    Like

  36. talabarta Photography

    As a whole I can see my blog in Spanish, and can configure it from that language does not speak or understand English ..?

    Like

  37. cynsglobe

    Fantastic! I love this idea

    Like

  38. Ron

    Sorry, but the location makes it pretty pointless. Way down at the bottom, it’s in a region where few but the most obsessive sidebar readers and stats geeks would bother to venture. And yes, I do know that most here are virtually wetting themselves over it (as ever), but guys, it’s in a really stupid place.

    Like

    • Scott Berkun

      Ron:

      You’d be surprised. We tested it in several different locations, and the bottom right, for this particular feature did dramatically better.

      As mentioned in other comments, we have a fine line for a feature like this. We want to help all blogs, but many of the key places on a blog are already in use by most blogs (top left and top right). For us to put it in a primary location by default would conflict with the choices bloggers have already made, and we want to respect bloggers ability to customize and choose for themselves as much as we can.

      Like

  39. Count Von Kaiserstein

    Even If my blog’s Theme was that follow button – I’d still get no traffic to my blog.

    Like

  40. Annoyed Conservative Christian

    I like the new feature! Please keep the new features coming!

    Like

  41. Pingback: More traffic for your blog with the follow button | WPhub.biz
  42. robert knottenbelt

    Wonderful. thanks very much to you all. A very nice addition indeed. Only one comment – I’d really appreciate the option of being able to ‘switch off’ the ‘followers/subscribers’ number counter if that could be possible.

    Like

  43. 1234cash

    yess…its true. thanks for share…

    Like

  44. rReliable

    All the best WordPress: the dynamics benefit us all! Good job!!
    Can we get a colored button?

    Like

  45. Alisha

    Hi! Is there anyway I can take out the part about how many followers I have?

    Thanks,
    Alisha

    Like

  46. Misel

    I think your rationale sounds great and well-thought out! Thanks!!

    Like

  47. Gayn Winters, Ph.D.

    How can the count of followers be suppressed (other than by turning off the Follow button.)

    Like

  48. eduardhiebert

    Smart move to acheive “a simple way to follow the blog without having the burden of checking back on their own to see if there’s anything new.”

    This has the potential to be a smart alternative to subscription email blast systems, particularly if you provide a way for a “blogger” and “follower” to discriminate among an array of different email forums, and additionally dreaming out loud adding specifics in the email for the follower, something like mail-merge.

    The disadvantage of achieving different groups by different blog sites for one blogger means lack of functionality regarding one user friendly data base update for both the blogger and each follower as they over time wish to change specific sub-subscriptions.

    I heartily echo Niki Fulton’s suggestion “at least there should be a choice on whether to reveal stats or not”

    Like

  49. Adrian Pantonial

    You guys are awesome in your constant innovation. Thank you! 🙂
    Can we also add this “Follow” button after each blog entry? That way we can get more followers.

    Like

  50. memographer

    How about WordPress.org users?

    Like

  51. jjkishor

    YES !

    “a simple way to follow the blog without having the burden of checking back on their own to see if there’s anything new.”

    THANKS.

    Like

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  53. heartsandsky

    thank you for the taking the initiative and posting the FAQ’s right in your blogpost. 🙂 your effort is well appreciated.

    Like

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  55. ngocduy225

    I think it’s not the best way for wordpress users increase more traffic to their blogs but it’s a great idea. Thanks WordPress.

    Like

  56. mysecondjourneywithcancer

    fantastic idea. I noticed it on my iPad when I opened the blog for a friend it was so convenient. I’m very new at this blogging thing but have found it very soothing in allowing friends to know what I am going through without having to talk all the time over & over again about my “journey”.

    Thank you.

    Like

  57. ctolle

    Thank you for the clear rationales. Keep up the classy work, WordPress.

    Like

  58. freeportlady

    I do like that you have this feature.Thank you. freeportlady

    Like

  59. Den Odink

    Great idea … this button is very usefull.

    Like

  60. Brian James Freeman

    Okay, now I’m actually a little worried… I’ve gotten 30+ emails about new subscribers today and every single email says: “Congratulations. You now have 1 subscriber.”

    In addition, on my site stats page it says:

    “Site subscriptions: 1 active subscribers

    Comment subscriptions: 1 subscriber, 1 subscription”

    Is it really not logging the people who are trying to subscribe?

    Like

  61. dagmit09

    I love the Follow button, will Follow become available for WP Websites soon?

    Like

  62. Bill Quiseng

    I just checked this out as if I were a first timer visitor to my blog. It looks great! As a newbie, I am convinced this will help me to earn more subscribers. Thanks very much!

    Like

  63. bundadontworry

    what a brilliant idea …………….i love it………….thx a lot…….. 🙂
    regards

    Like

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  65. John Loty

    Well done.. It is nice to see the exercise of Leadership …doing something that will benefit many if not most. With the option to be excluded.
    Cheers
    John Loty

    Like

  66. Liz

    I really like this but can I take the “join the # of followers” off?

    Like

  67. silviashepard

    Wonderful idea! People are intimidated of leaving comments, so you don’t know about your visitors. The button will be similar to “liking” your blog as in FB.

    Love WordPress. Very interesting features.

    Like

  68. peoplecareer

    Really nice idea

    Like

  69. sueyq

    I like it and I can understand the reason behind the why not to name it subscribe. it cool and thanks a lot.

    Like

  70. nelson RN

    i love it!

    Like

  71. Linear Fix

    Would be nice to also have an option to follow the blog on Twitter and other sites since we use the WordPress.com Publicize feature. Nice add 🙂

    Like

  72. Ian Gardner

    Good one! I totally agree with your choice of “Follow” for the obvious reasons given: :Subscribe” can easily be an impediment.
    Ian.

    Like

  73. eof737

    Great feature … I’m glad that we still have options though… 🙂

    Like

  74. angelswhisper2011

    Great idea, makes it indeed so much easier to follow. Thanks!

    Like

  75. Olga Vuscan

    So why can’t self hosted wp themes install this little cutie? 😦 I would love to have it on my blog…

    Like

  76. The World for a Country

    Thanks, I like it a lot.

    Like

  77. davidtenn

    Sounds like a brilliant idea … they say copying is the most sincere form of flattery … so what if you did follow Twitter!!!

    Like

  78. GG

    One word: Brilliant…

    Like

  79. bichhubooti

    Thanks, really like this feature. Neat!

    Like

  80. askaling

    Very cool. I love this simple idea and believe that others will love it too.

    Like

  81. venunad

    Idea is good and intention noble. It should work.

    Like

  82. venunad

    Idea is nice and noble, it shall work. Thanks.

    Like

  83. Чи ви знаєте, що...?

    Thanks! The idea is great, however, it is not that easy to notice in the lower right corner of the screen: I’ve got used to focus on the middle of the screen and the follow button just is outside of my visual attention.

    Nevertheless, it is a great feature to have!

    Like

  84. mrsportsblog

    Good idea … will be interesting to see if it makes a difference!

    Like

  85. Evita Martina

    Dear Scott,
    Thank you for the new Follow feature! Me like! Very-very-very much.
    But… —yes, there’s a but— is there any way to turn off seeing the amount of followers you currently have?
    My count is (still) very low. And I’m afraid the ‘psychology of a low count’ might put off other potential followers…

    In any case, it’s nice to know that you guys are constantly studying and trying out new features.
    Still very glad to be blogging with WordPress. 🙂

    Greetings, Evita

    Like

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  88. wordsfallfrommyeyes

    Hey, this is fine with me. I didn’t know anyone was working in the background to figure ways to open one’s work to the opportunity of more viewers. You’re like my own marketing team :). WordPress is my first ever blog experience. I’ve only been on it a month but I’ve got to tell you there’s a real community feel to it and a sense of support of we, the little people, putting our hearts out there by whatever style. Me, I am literally unfolding the first draft of a story I’ve always wanted to tell (a true story of course!) and the comments from people encourage me onward. People FEEL what I write – and that’s just awesome. The internet has changed it all, for before I wrote my guts out, fell asleep at the desk, in between times a light waft of breeze would come into my flat, blow the pages onto the floor, and they’d just be the next day’s litter. Now the people are reading as I write, and it’s so inspiring to me, to know I’ve inspired.

    OOOOOOPS I spoke about me on YOUR blog! What I really want to express is it’s fine by me!!

    Like

  89. Michelle

    I liked WordPress because there was no ‘follow’ option which, many people are obsessed with. It happened to Blogger and Tumblr, where having more followers makes you more “famous”. But nevertheless, I shall turn a blind eye upon it.

    Like

  90. Love Potya

    Great job! Thank you for always thinking of a better way for us bloggers to enjoy WordPress.

    Like

  91. beautifuldundee

    this is a great idea. I have a subscribe widget, but had often thought myself that maybe the word susbcribe put people off as it sounds quite a “commitment.” This is a smart piece of research and appreciate the change been made to my blog without me having to do anything. Thanks wordpress.

    Like

  92. Regel Q. Javines

    This is wow, perfect App! Nice wordpress! Thanks…

    Like

  93. CK

    Very good idea. “Follow” sounds so much better than “subscribe”!!! Hope many people will use it. (Supergut! Follow klingt viel, viel besser als subscribe. Ich hoffe, viele Leser werden das benutzen.)

    Like

  94. zulfiqarqamar

    THAT IS VERY NICE TO GET TRAFFIC ON OUR BLOG THANKS

    Like

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  96. CurlyLAF

    Awesome idea! 😉 grateful for WP’s endeavors! KUDOS for this nice upgrade!
    Thanks a lot!

    Like

  97. inmosurgestion

    Very nice, Scott.

    It would be interesting we can translate it to different languages.

    Regards,
    Santi

    Like

  98. speederbg

    I can’t say I really like this new feature because I can’t see the use of it. However, I have 3 ideas which I hope WordPress developers would consider.

    1. Using connecting accounts with Facebook (connect my account speederbg with FB), it would be great if I could receive notes (under the world icon) when somebody visits my blog and/or comments my blog posts.
    2. Add “Like” button under every blog post in people’s blogs. I for one would like to know whether people like my work and how many like it.
    3. Add a special option named “Download link”. And along with that Download link add a counter to count how many times this download link was clicked.
    These ideas are dictated by my need to know if anyone at all likes what I did – I made a few mods for a game.
    I hope you understand what I’m asking for but if you don’t – I’ll try to explain it better. 😉

    Like

  99. aRVee

    Way to go, I have noticed it and thank you for your constant innovation.

    Like

  100. jewelsdesignscreativecorner

    I like it! I think it’s a great idea:-) I think it’s another great way for people to follow your blog. Nothing wrong with that! Thank You!

    Like

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