Monday, August 11

Blog Bits: How Email Subscriptions Work

Warning: this post is not intended for experienced bloggers with email delivery programs set up and running. I'm actually writing this for the large majority of my readers who are not bloggers, many of whom have asked me questions lately about how it works when you subscribe to a blog through email. Newbie bloggers might take away some helpful info, and of course everyone is welcome to read on!

How it works from the reader's end:

If you love a blog (like This Mom Loves, of course) you can usually find a spot on the homepage directing you to sign up for blog updates through email.

Mine is a little logo that looks like an envelope at the top of my sidebar, and if you click on it, you are directed to a FeedBurner Email Subscription page for This Mom Loves. (I chose to go with FeedBurner, but there are other popular services like MailChimp that you can use to send out your posts for you.)

You enter your email address, type in the captcha that's shown, and click on "Complete Subscription Request". There's still one more important step: you'll receive an email called "FeedBurner Subscription Confirmation" (check your spam if it doesn't arrive right away), and you MUST open that email and click to verify the subscription before you'll start getting updates.

After that, you'll receive any new blog posts from that site in your email daily (though I don't post that often), which some people appreciate so they don't have to keep checking the site regularly for new posts. Most bloggers send links to their new content through social media as well, but if you don't want to have to go looking anywhere, you can get posts delivered right to you, which you can read and/or delete at your leisure.

If you want to head to the blog to read the post, you just click on the title of the email. Sometimes people choose to do this because they want to see what comments have been left (they don't appear in the emails) or because photos or videos can't be seen properly. After I posted the video of my first CHEX Daily appearance a couple of weeks ago, I quickly learned that most people reading my posts in email could not see the video I had embedded in the blog post. From now on, I'll include a link to the clip as well to make it easier to find.





I have my FeedBurner subscriptions programmed to be automatically delivered to readers at 9 a.m. each day (which hopefully reinforces to you that I am not sitting at my desk in my classroom blogging when I should be teaching!)

When the emails land in your inbox, the "from" line reads "This Mom Loves", and the "subject" is the title of that day's blog post.

I made a choice to have the entire posts available in the body of the email, but this is a heavily debated topic in the blogging world. Many bloggers just email the start of the post, with a "click here to read more", directing you to the blog to finish reading the post in its entirety. I find as a blog reader, it bugs me when I have to take that extra step. I sign up to receive blog posts because I WANT to do the reading in my email, and it's an inconvenience (however slight) to click, open a browser, and pick up where I left off.

As a blogger, I understand the theory that your pageviews may very well go down if you make it too easy for people to stay away, (and stats can be very important when it comes to working with brands, plus advertising revenue is often based on how many times your blog is seen online) but I'd rather respect my readers' preferences and keep my content circulating.

It's easy to unsubscribe if a particular blog just isn't doing it for you anymore, or if you decide you'd prefer to read it directly on the web instead of in your email. On that note, I have a confession to make: when I first started using FeedBurner, I checked off the box "Send me an email whenever people unsubscribe". Why on earth did I do that? Those messages, though infrequent, would always bring me down. (Interestingly, there's no option to be notified when someone new signs up!) When putting together this blog post, I made a decision to uncheck that box...and it feels so freeing!

Subscribing through email can be a very convenient way to get new content from your favourite bloggers right in your inbox. Why don't you go ahead and sign up for This Mom Loves right now?

If anyone has questions, I'd be glad to answer them, and comments are welcome as always!


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