How To Keep Me As A Reader

I love reading about other peoples blogs. Be it travel, tech, food or something else, its like my own form of drug and one I’ll never be able to give up. In saying that, you have to make it easy for me to follow you and keep up with everything as I’m normally very time poor. You can’t expect me to visit your blog everyday to check for updates about posts and comments.

After you’ve done the hard part and got as a reader why loose me over something that is easily fixed? So here are two of my biggest blog turns offs that will stop me reading your blog.

  • Your RSS/Email updates doesn’t display your full blog post
  • I can’t subscribe to your comments

How and Why to Publish your RSS Feed in Full

I’ve read many reasons as to why people won’t display their full blog post in their RSS feed or email updates. An example is that if I only give you a teaser of information it will entice/force you to click through to my blog, and another I don’t want people stealing my post from my feed and publishing it somewhere else.

The reality is, people will steal your content weather its in your blog feed or not and unless you write some amazing content 3-4 lines of text isn’t enough to entice people in. As I read a lot I tend to skim read and if the post is interesting I click through if not I move on. If I have over 200 posts to read and I come across your teaser of text in my RSS feed I completely skip it, I don’t want to be forced into looking at your blog.

Wordpress Settings ReadingSo how do you make your full blog feed show up for us RSS readers? Login to the backend of your blog and click on Settings then Reading down the left hand side menu. (Note this is valid for both free and self-hosted wordpress blogs)

Here you can choose between showing your  article  in one of two ways:

  • Full Text
  • Summery

Wordpress RSS Feed SettingsWhat you want to select is Full Text and then hit the big old save button at the bottom. From now on all blog posts will show your full post and not a tiny sample of it. Also on that page you can adjust how many actual posts will appear in your RSS feed at any one time. Personally I like to display the last 10 posts as it allows for new readers to get some of the older content to read over.

Subscribe To Comments

Everyone loves getting comments on their blog posts. Its a sign people are reading your blog and are genuinely interested enough in what you have to say that they have taken time to respond. Maybe its just to say great post or even better ask you a question in return.

I like to think of comments on my posts as an extension of the blog post, a way to further discuss what you wrote about and connect with readers that may have visited the same place or have a recommendation for you to see something else while you are still there.

If a reader has left you a comment they will no doubt expect a reply from you, I know I do. What I don’t like is having to come back to your blog to get my reply, can’t you just email it to me?

And so this is where you can install a Subscribe To Comments plugin on your blog allowing your readers to have your post replies emailed. This saves the problem of always checking your blog for a response and its a simply update to keep your readers in the loop. But which plugin do you install? Last time I checked the choice was a rather long one.

The following are just a couple of plugins I have used and am happy to help out with getting installed:

Wordpress Plugins Add NewFree wordpress hosted blogs have comment subscription services built in so you guys are all good to go. For us self-hosted folk you can find either of these plugins by going to Plugins and then Add New in the left hand side menu. Enter in the name of the plugin you are after and search for it against wordpress’s directory.

Search To Install WordPress Plugin

When it returns the results click the Install Now link and once it has downloaded you can Activate it.

Both of the above mentioned plugins allow for a similar subscription model to the free wordpress blogs comment system. Where by readers will be emailed a confirmation request to ensure they want to subscribe. This is a built-in safety system to help reduce spam being sent from your blog and also to stop random people subscribing you to their blog without your consent.

It might not seem like much but both the above features are must have’s for me to want to follow your blog. With new travel blogs starting up almost daily, you want to do everything you can to ensure readers continue to come back to read what you have to say.

Now I’d like to know your thoughts on the above. Do you have a different comment subscription plugin installed you think should be included? and what other things are must have’s for you to continue to read someone’s blog?

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How To Keep Me As A Reader

26 Comments So Far, What Do You Think?

  1. Great advice mate – completely agree with both points!

    I can’t stand RSS feeds that only have the summary in there, I use Feedburner to manage ours as it makes everything much easier and provides a few metrics.

    Subscribe to comments reloaded is great – even if you can’t reply to all the comments (which you totally should, but not always possible!), you can be sure to respond to those who have made the extra effort to connect with you.

    Kieron February 28, 2011 at 10:33 am #
  2. Oh! I just realized one thing that a blog MUST have for me to keep on reading…

    A bloody link to the RSS feed itself!

    You’d be amazed by the number of blogs where you have to search throughout the entire site just to find a link to subscribe (if it even exists).

    Kieron February 28, 2011 at 10:52 am #
    • Cheers for the comments Kieron. I’d have mentioned Feedburner and the RSS link but figured they would be better suited to a separate post considering the length of this first one. But you are right sometimes that RSS link is a mission to find.

      Chris Richardson February 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm #
  3. I too love to read travel blogs but hate searching for the articles among the clutter on the pages. Yes there are some very artistic and pretty things you can display on your pages but the most important thing is what you have written. I like it when the content is clearly available and I do not have to click to read the whole story and even click again to eventually reach what I was looking for.

    Kent Hadley February 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm #
    • Kent I hear you there and that’s why I like to read posts via RSS and then click through if I want to leave a comment. Sometimes you just want simple to read.

      Chris Richardson February 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm #
  4. One of my pet peeves is an automatic subscribe to comments. It drives me nuts!

    But with you on partial RSS, I need to know what the post is about to decide if I want to comment.

    ayngelina February 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm #
    • lol Ayngelina, luckily most good subscribe to comment plugins are opt-in so you don’t have to receive email notifications if you don’t want too. I like them as I like to follow the comment discussions especially if I’ve asked a question.

      Chris Richardson February 28, 2011 at 8:28 pm #
  5. Cool new site Chris! Eek, I am guilty of not having a comment subscription plug-in. I didn’t realize some folks think it’s so important! I know no one wants an auto opt-in service, but I never got around to giving people the option. As for the full RSS feed, I totally agree. Unless I really love your blog I can’t be bothered to click through just to read past the first sentence.

    Laura February 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm #
    • Laura as long as the subscribe to comments plugin is opt-in you get the best of both worlds. I like them because it allows me to follow the discussion on a blog post after I have left a comment.

      All plugins allow you to manage your subscriptions with an un-subscribe link in the emails you receive so you can opt-out once you have got your fill.

      Chris Richardson February 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm #
  6. See? Learning already. I don’t have a subscribe to comments option…but will by the end of the day! Thanks!

    Gillian @OneGiantStep February 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm #
    • Good work Gillian and if you get stuck let me know in the forums and we will get you sorted.

      Chris Richardson February 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm #
  7. I don’t know why (and it seems that I’m the only one who have this problem?) but after every WP update I have to go and edit the feed-rss2.php file because it doesn’t matter what settings I have it set, it only shows the excerpt. Have you ever heard of this problem?

    Excerpts only drive me nuts!

    It’s about time you start this type of blog… heard that you’re a WP wiz 🙂 !

    Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World February 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm #
    • Jill that sure is a strange one and I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it. I’ll have a dig around and see if I can come up with a solution for you thought.

      Chris Richardson March 2, 2011 at 8:04 pm #
  8. Just discovered your blog this morning and can see I’ll be a regular–in fact, I’ve already made a change to my blog. Never had a clue that readers would prefer a full text feed rather than an excerpt! Can I possibly be the only one who just wants to know that something is out there and would rather settle in to read it on the blog itself rather than in the feed? (Kinda sounds that way!)
    Thanks for the advice and looking forward to learning more about the nuts & bolts in the background that let me do MY thing in the foreground!

    Margaret March 1, 2011 at 11:07 am #
    • Margaret I often click through to the blogs I read to leave a comment but some times you don’t want/feel the need to comment so viewing posts via an RSS feed allows you to skip onto the next post quickly and from all in the same spot.

      I think if I bookmarked every blog I read it would take me forever to load them all up and read.

      Chris Richardson March 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm #
  9. Hi Chris-
    Congrats on the new site. I look forward to the advice.

    I think I’m going to have to be the lone voice of dissent here about the partial feeds. I have two blogs; one about travel and one about food. I cannot publish a full feed on the food blog because if I do, “content farm” websites use it to steal my photos and recipes whole. In fact, I once had a web master of one such site tell me it was my own fault that he was able to take my posts in full because I published a full feed.

    So, I no longer do a full feed on either blog. However, I do use a plugin which I like very much called Advanced Excerpt. It allows me to pick the number of words in the partial feed (I have mine set to 150) and I always make sure I have a photo at the top of the post which draws people in.
    This works for me and I don’t mind if people publish partial feeds. If I can’t grab readers with a good photo, title and the first 150 words then they probably would not read the entire post anyway. 🙂

    Kristina March 2, 2011 at 3:22 pm #
    • Kristina I see your point and for a food blog I can see how it would be more desirable to steal. In saying that they can just come straight to your site and scrape (a way to steal the content right from your site) all of the content directly from it anyway, it just takes a little bit more work.

      In the end a website is very much open to content theft and if they don’t get it one way there is always another.

      Chris Richardson March 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm #
      • Chris-
        It’s true they can come to my site and and take it directly, but they’re lazy and they don’t, at least not the content scraper sites. I found when I stopped publishing a full feed, the amount of theft by scrapers dropped dramatically.
        Theft by other food bloggers is a different (and more concerning issue) altogether.
        I think I’ve found the best solution (for me) by offering a decent sized “taste” of the post in my feed/email subscription to encourage people to keep reading.

        Kristina March 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm #
  10. Just stumbled on your blog from a Facebook friend. Thanks for the great tips! I didn’t even know I could control whether my RSS readers saw the full text or just a summary of my posts. Glad it was already set to full text as default. =) Looking forward to reading more!

    Samantha Bangayan March 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm #
    • Thanks for stopping by Samantha and glad I could be of use. Let me know if there is anything you’d love to know how to do.

      Chris Richardson March 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm #
  11. Great tip … need to fix my website 🙂
    Cheers,
    Madhu

    Madhu Nair March 4, 2011 at 6:51 am #
  12. That’s something that I must add to our site, the subscribe to Comments Button.
    Rob W.

    South America ME March 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm #
  13. Good advice. I know I have full feed set on my RSS. Must check my Discus settings for comments.

    Nancie March 18, 2011 at 12:15 am #
  14. Thanks for the tip…Ive just added subscribe to comments reloaded to my site, cheers!

    Nicole @ WomanSeeksWorld April 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm #
  15. This post got me thinking. I’ve got the full feed coming through on RSS, but I use facebook comments so there isn’t a subscribe function. I think people can see my responses on fb though if they go on there. Do you think that’s enough?

    Amy @livinontheroad June 16, 2011 at 5:14 am #
    • Hi Amy, I don’t like the fb comments addon for a blog. I want to leave comments that will lead people back to my blog and not my personal facebook account. It’s part branding and part keeping my personal life separate from my blog life.

      I’m not 100% sure if people do see your comments or not as I haven’t looked into how that comment system works (I need to do that soon).

      Chris Richardson June 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

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