Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Confusion Over Community Building Accessories - Blog Feeds, EMail, And Following

A few blog owners become confused over the various community building options offered for our blogs. We see the queries in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
How do I get a list of my Followers email addresses?
and
Why don't my email subscribers show up in my Followers gadget?
and
How do I know how many people subscribe to my feed?

These questions all come from people who don't understand the differences between blog feed subscribers, email subscribers, and Followers.

There are various community building accessories available for our Blogger blogs.
  • Blog feed subscriptions.
  • Email subscriptions.
  • Following (aka "Google Friend Connect").
  • Google+.
If you have a private blog, with designated readers, not all of these options will be as useful. Neither blog feed subscriptions, nor email subscriptions (which use the blog feed) will work for private blogs.

The native Blogger blog feed subscriptions, and email subscriptions, are pretty basic.
  • People subscribe to the blog feed using any of dozens of various industry standard newsfeed subscription products. You can't count, or enumerate, these subscribers.
  • You provide up to 10 email subscriptions, using BlogSend. You'll have a list of these (up to) 10 email recipients. Only BlogSend based email is available, to members of private blogs.

You can enhance the possibilities for both blog feed subscriptions, and email subscriptions, by using a FeedBurner enhanced feed.

You can make it easy for your readers to subscribe to your blog, using standard Blogger / Google gadgets. Look in the sidebar for this blog, for the orange "XML" icon. Beneath that, you will see "Subscribe to The Real Blogger Status by Email", which provides a link to the FeedBurner Email Subscription form. Next, you see the "Subscribe To" gadget, which is the Blogger supplied "Subscription Links" gadget, installed using the Layout "Add a Gadget" wizard.

Even with FeedBurner involved, all accessories won't be the same.

After you add a FeedBurner Email Subscription to your blog, don't get confused over the terminology - someone who Follows your blog using a FeedBurner Email Subscription won't be counted, or treated, as one who Follows using Following / Google Friend Connect.
  • People who Follow using FeedBurner Email will not get their picture in the Friend Connect gadget.
  • FeedBurner will give you a count of people who Follow, using Email.
  • Following / Google Friend Connect will give you a count of people who Follow / Join your blog.
  • Some people may do both - but don't expect this to be normal.

If you redirect the blog feed to FeedBurner, you can see statistics about everybody who reads your blog in their newsfeed reader. The FeedBurner statistics will be different from the Following / Google Friend Connect count, and from the FeedBurner Email subscriber count and list.
  • People who subscribe to the FeedBurner feed using "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" will read the blog feed in their newsfeed readers - not in their email.
  • People who read the redirected blog feed using their newsfeed readers will be counted in the FeedBurner statistics, but they will not provide their email address - so they won't be listed in the FeedBurner "Subscriber Management" list.
  • Both people who Follow / Join the blog, using Following / Google Friend Connect, and people who use the "Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)" link will be redirected to the FeedBurner feed, and contribute to the FeedBurner statistics.

So enjoy the convenience to you, and to your potential Followers - but understand what they, and you, get - and don't get. You'll have up to three different counts, to consider.
  • FeedBurner Email Subscribers. You can get an email address list, of email subscribers.
  • FeedBurner Newsfeed Subscribers. You can get FeedBurner Statistics, about newsfeed subscribers.
  • Following / Friend Connect Members. You can see pictures and profiles of Members, who do not Follow anonymously.

Finally, people can follow you using your stream, in Google+. If you Share your posts when you publish, your posts will go into your Google+ stream, and be visible to anybody Following you there. Sometime in the future, Google+ Circles may replace Following / Friend Connect.

If you include a Google+ Followers gadget on your blog, your Followers may get their pictures on your blog, similar to Following / Google Friend Connect. And you can use Google+, and restricted Google+ Circles, with a private blog - an option not available using the blog feed.

>> Top

No comments: