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 theEmail 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 manythemes, 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.