Why subscriptions to blogs can be so frustrating sometimes

Since my post last week on my blogging frustrations (which a lot of you share) I started to think about other (albeit smaller) frustrations. One of them is about subscribing to a blog via email. For me it is the perfect way to keep up with lots of movie blogs without having to visit all of them regularly (I will do so if I want to comment to something I have read). But it’s something that’s not always possible.

Looking at my current WordPress subscriptions alone there are 67 movieblogs I’m currently subscribed to. When it comes to Blogger blogs however there aren’t as much. One of the reasons for that is that a lot of them don’t offer any way to subscribe to them. By the way, there are also some WordPress blogs that haven’t enabled the feature. Here is how to change those settings.

So before I go into the specific settings for each of the platforms I first have to get off my chest that I really can’t stand it when I have subscribed to updates via email (or via a rss feed) when it is enabled and when I receive only part of the post and have to go to the blog to read the rest. Most blogs don’t have any advertisements, so why would I need to read your post on your blog itself? Please give people a choice and don’t force them to read in a specific way.

Do you think it is more important to see +1 on you site statistics or that your reader can determine him/herself how to read your posts? I must admit I do like looking at the statistics, but I actually like it more if I see how many subscribers I have through email. If they only read what I write in their inbox that’s fine with me. I really appreciate the fact they have subscribed.

So how do you make sure people can subscribe to your blog and receive automatic emails?

On blogger it’s easy to add the possibility to follow a blog by email. You can do this by selecting Layout

Then select Add a Gadget

A new window will open where you can select the Follow by Email gadget.
how to add follow by email blogger
It’s as simple as that. If people subscribe to your blog you can actually look at statistics (number of subscribers and daily views) by logging into feedburner.com (which is used to send out the emails).

Within WordPress you can set an extra checkbox to appear below the comment box to subscribe to a blog. Select Settings > Discussion

Scroll down to Follow Blog and check Show a “follow blog” option in the comment form

So do you share these frustrations?

35 thoughts on “Why subscriptions to blogs can be so frustrating sometimes

  1. I subscribe to some WordPress blogs and very few Blogger ones. I much prefer to just visit sites myself every few days and catch up with what I’ve missed, though I can be sometimes very slack doing this as well. Great post!

    • I simply don’t have the time to visit all the sites. I even have trouble keeping up with all the email…currently more than 200 unread messages. I wish I would be able to read it all, but I know I have to decide every time what I’ll be reading and commenting on.

  2. I hear you. I really don’t like the practice of using cuts just to satisfy some cravings for correct statistics. I read most blogs in a reader and I want to be able to browse the entire post. If you only give me the first sentences I’m less likely to go through and read the rest of it. Each extra click costs you readers, folks!

    • I don’t mind cuits if they are on the website itself (I use them too), it’s something some of my favorite blogs are using, but they are annoying in a reader or an email. Great advice!

  3. I use cuts in two instances: when it’s a blog post with plenty of images, and when it’s a blog post containing spoilers. The former case might be a bit of left-over thinking from an older era of the internet, but if it’s a post that doesn’t interest someone, I don’t want to clog up their screen with tons of stuff to load and scroll through. The latter case is perfectly valid, though. If I’ve written a spoiler-filled blog post about No Country for Old Men, I’d like everyone to know that it’s there but not have to expose themselves to it if they don’t want to. Even having to scroll past it can lead to an accidental glance or two at just the wrong part of the text. So I say right at the beginning that here there be spoilers, then add a jump. Click on if you’re interested, stay safe if you’re not.

    I very much agree with the subscription woes. Few things are more annoying than finding a cool blog that doesn’t offer any easy ways to subscribe to it. Every blog should offer both RSS and e-mail options.

    • I think that’s a great way of using it.

      Yeah, if I can’t subscribe chances are I won’t be reading much more of them. I want to have options!

  4. Yeah there’s a few blogs I don’t get round to reading as much as I’d like to just because I can’t subscribe by email. I get a flood of emails every morning from blogs I like to check out and then forget to check out some others if I haven’t been sent an email notification of a new post.

  5. Good one. I didn’t have email subscriptions available on my blog for a long time because I never use them myself. I just always assumed (wrongly as I discovered) that everyone had the same browsing/reading habits as me.

  6. I only put the email sub widget on my site a little while ago (which is a shame as I would love to have loads of subscribers). It is a good thing.

    I do not sub to any blogs actually, I just do my daily rounds. I have everyone bookmarked and go and pop into their house for a visit. I do not filter out the posts I find interesting, which is what I would do if I subbed. Also I like to give my friends a HIT rather than not.

    • Yeah, I’m always stunned to see you on so many blogs each day. You must spend a couple of hours on it every day (at least it feels like that).

  7. I don’t know if it’s the same option or not, but I believe there’s an option on WordPress that allows you to have cuts when you visit the page, but also send the full post through RSS feeds. I’m not sure if it treats E-mail subscriptions the same and also don’t know for sure if it works as I remember finding the option, but I’ve never tested it myself.

  8. I try to make sure everyone can access my posts any way they want. How do you add (or remove) cuts? The way I write my blog isn’t made to work with cuts, but I’m not sure how to check whether it cuts or not.

  9. This is a great post, Nostra. I’m a loyal RSS user, my feeds are broken down into many folders. I favor some blogs more than others, so I have folders organized by “best” “good” and “others”. (If you’re in the “others” folder, it may be a while before I get to your post! Hehehe).

    I used to subscribe via email but I found that to be terribly unreliable. Not only would half of those emails end up classified as spam, but sometimes I wouldn’t get the email at all.

    But I give my readers the option of both, which is good advice to all bloggers.

  10. I have a subscribe by email link at the end of each post following the comments box, but I realise that this is comment-specific for a particular post, not for my blog in general. I may go and add the subscribe by email button as you suggest. I have used the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” check box on WordPress sites, but I find that to be terribly misleading. I’d wanted to see if an author had replied to my comment, but instead I was notified of ALL other subsequent comments. I didn’t want my inbox congested with other comments, so I don’t use that option any more.

    I use google reader to read all my blogs, I tend not to subscribe by email because I don’t want by inbox flooded; in reader everything is kept separate and organised. For those who use Reader in Chrome and are frustrated by those “jumps” there is an extension “Google Reader Full Feed” which does exactly what it says on the tin. Consequently I can’t remember which blogs I follow have jumps or not, because I can see the whole post in Reader now.

    The only downer for using Reader is that I’m not sure if the author gets to count me reading as a “hit”. Like you I look at my statistics a lot (I’ve been particularly interested in the changes in peoples choice of browser over the past two years), and so I feel I might be doing people out of a stat if I don’t go to their site. Of course I do if I want to comment. Just like this!

    Another great post Nostra.

    • I love reading all comments, so I don’t mind the emails. Using Gmail it will group all those mails together, so the mailbox won’t fill up as quickly.

      Great advice for Reader…

  11. I’m guilty of only having part of my blog’s posts in RSS readers. Because I do want people to get onto my blog. I’m a statistic whore that way. If someone reads my blog in a reader but doesn’t actually get to my site, it doesn’t count. Also, if the user really does like the little snippet they’ve read and they’ve made the effort to comment on my blog, that’s all the better. I can see where you’re coming from though. I can get annoyed if I can’t see a whole entry in my Google reader, so maybe I’ll change my feedburner settings!

    I can’t subscribe by email – much prefer everything to be organised in my Google Reader. As long as you’ve got a working RSS feed, it’s all good!

  12. I don’t subscribe to many blogs as I prefer to just go through my blog roll every other day and catch up. I have sooo many emails as it is, I don’t need to have more stuff to peruse through.

  13. I prefer using Google Reader to keep track of blogs, but I know a lot of my followers use email. I didn’t even have the widget on my page until someone specifically asked about it last year. Now I have a crazy amount of subscribers (though I wonder how many are spam). It’s good to have a variety of ways for people to keep track of a blog, that’s for sure.

    • I don’t really use Google Reader (although I did try it in the past). Good to see that you added the widget and have seen so many subscribers.

  14. I don’t subcribe to any blogs via email. Maybe I am old school but I usually try to visit every blog I follow at least once a week.

    • I can understand that. I don’t have much time to visit them all, so I really have to make my selections out of the many emails I get. Don’t even have enough time to go through those. Maybe I should work less just to read all the great posts each day 😉

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