How to Increase Your Blog Subscription Rate by 254%

There’s an action that almost every blogger wants his or her users to take. Most of these bloggers use a single word to convince readers to take this action. They use this word because other bloggers use it.

Do you know what that word is?

Subscribe.

A week and a half ago I had a sudden realization. Subscriptions generally cost money. Think about that for a second. It’s jarring, especially if you’ve spent the past few months or even years incessantly asking your readers to subscribe.

What Does It Mean to Subscribe?

Here are the definitions of “subscribe” from two online dictionaries.

Dictionary.com: “to pledge, as by signing an agreement, to give or pay (a sum of money) as a contribution, gift, or investment.”

Merriam-Webster.com: “to write (one’s name) underneath.”

Are you being completely clear with your word choice? When you ask your readers to subscribe, are you asking them to do the virtual version of writing their name underneath? Or are you asking them to agree to pay you a sum of money?

You want your readers to sign up for a free service because every time one of them does, your blog becomes a little bit more valuable (and you get a small ego boost). You need to make it absolutely obvious to these people that it costs nothing more than a few seconds of time to get valuable content delivered directly to them via RSS or e-mail.

Word Association

The percentage of readers who misunderstand what you mean when you ask them to subscribe is largely dependent on your niche. Readers who know what RSS is probably aren’t confused by the terminology, but most web users have no clue about RSS (as Brian has pointed out here and here).

I’ve found that a good measure of reader savviness is a blog’s split between RSS and e-mail subscribers – the higher the percentage of RSS subscribers, the more savvy the readership. I write a blog about entry-level jobs for new college graduates. Despite what you might think of the younger generation, the vast majority of my site’s visitors are not familiar with RSS. 55% of my subscribers get my daily posts through e-mail.

From what I’ve heard from other bloggers this is well above average, and I believe that my percentage of e-mail subscribers would be even higher had less savvy readers not been scared off because they thought “subscribing” would cost them money. These are the readers who think of magazines when they hear “subscribe.”

They think of paying to get something.

Great Theory! Now Back It Up

I use Google Analytics’ outbound click tracking on my blog so that I can analyze the subscription behavior of my readers. This method misses RSS subscriptions from the address bar, but the people who subscribe in that way are probably the most savvy readers and are basically irrelevant to this case study.

Most of my subscribers use one of the two large buttons on my site. The buttons used to include the text “Subscribe by E-mail” and “Subscribe by RSS” along with appropriate graphics. After I had my epiphany, I switched the text to “Get Jobs by E-mail” and “Get Jobs by RSS.”

I instantly saw results.

New Subscribers

The above graph shows the trend in clicks to my RSS feed and e-mail subscription buttons for the 8 days prior to the change and the 8 days after the change. My subscription rate has increased 254% since I made the change, and 66% of the new subscribers are e-mail subscribers.

This is in line with my hypothesis that the people who misunderstand the word “subscribe” are the same people who will choose e-mail over RSS. Although they may not be web savvy, these readers are extremely valuable. It is essential in all copywriting that you avoid unclear jargon, even if it’s not jargon to you.

Words Make All the Difference

OK, so I haven’t proven that my readers actually associated the word “subscribe” with paying money. The only way to prove that is by surveying readers.

But I believe I have shown that very small changes in word choice based on well-thought-out theories can have a significant influence on the actions that you urge your readers to take. Whether or not my theory on the connotations associated with the word “subscribe” is accurate is irrelevant. It’s results that matter, and changing one word on my blog has given me outstanding results.

When readers visit my site, I now invite them to “Get Jobs by E-mail.” Brian encourages readers to get “E-mail Updates,” and he did this way before I submitted this article to him.

How will you alter your word choice to increase your subscription rate?

About the Author: Besides writing about entry-level jobs on One Day, One Job, Willy Franzen also consults with employers on how they can use social media and the Internet for more effective recruiting.

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Comments

  1. I’ve seen people add “subscribe for free” and wondered if it made a difference. I’m going to work on this today, implement some changes, and let you know if I see a difference.

    I did add “have Blog Nosh Magazine delivered via email” to my online magazine and saw a huge increase in email subscriptions over Velveteen Mind’s. Then I forgot about it.

    Must get to brainstorming some cleverness.

    Thanks for thinking on this. Excellent.

  2. Hmmm …

    That’s an excellent observation. Never really thought about it that way, though I have not usually used the word “subscribe”. I have usually used something like “Sign Me Up!” or “Sign Up Here”, etc.

    Have to rethink that, maybe.

    Thanx for the article.

    Rick Wilson

  3. D’oh! Great point Willy and great blog… keep it up.

  4. This is an awesome post because it is simple, actionable, and I’m sure it will make a difference.

    I’m going to implement this right now.

    Thanks, Brian!

  5. You definitely don’t want to use words that imply you have to do something.

    Like “subscribe”

    That sounds like I have to go do something. It sounds like I have to fill out a bunch of crap and mail it and wait forever to get it.

    Benefit words like receive, get, free, bonus, ect.

    The more savvy your readers are the harder it is. I have a inbox full all day long. You better really have something I want before I add another newsletter.

    Also RSS at times may not convert well. I have 50 feeds I follow, I only read Andy Beard’s every day first thing. But that’s because I steal his stuff, but don’t tell him.

    • I agree with the “do something” remark. I have to say that I loved your, “I steal his stuff, but don’t tell him,” comment. Made me chuckle.

  6. Wonderful tip! I just tweaked my blog a bit to implement the idea. Thank you.

  7. Great post Willy.

    I worked for a radio station when the ‘podcasting revolution’ arrived.
    We found that ‘Subscribe to Podcast’ sounds like a premium feature to people who’ve not heard the word before. Replacing it with phrases like ‘automatically download radio shows’ really helped take up.

  8. I think that you are 100% right. Most people do not have the faintest idea what it means to subscribe by rss.

    I am going to try out your advice.

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  9. This makes sense. I remember with IE4 and their active channels I, too, was initially weary of “subscribing.” It took some poking around to realize what they meant and that it was free. It’s definitely easy to forget that there are visitors to our sites that haven’t been doing the RSS thing for years.

  10. This is great!

    I’m going to implement this right away!

  11. This is really an insightful point. I can see how, “subscribe” whether consciously or subconsciously could discourage people who aren’t familiar with it in the context of blogs to use it.

  12. Willy- this is an excellent post, simple, direct and (as Rahsheen above already stated) actionable.

    I can’t believe I never thought of this before – word association is a favourite sales subject of mine and I have seen great results in the past when I ran a painting company and found that simply exchanging words like “contract” for “agreement” and “investment” instead of “price” during a sales call estimate made a huge difference on the customer’s reaction. Great choice for a guest post Brian. I am going to implement this on my blog later today.

    Daniel Smith
    Smithereens Blog

  13. This makes a lot of sense…for me and my readers. I removed the word ‘subscribe’ from my email sign up and I had a new subscriber within 15 minutes! Sign ups have been very few and far between up till now.

    I also changed the RSS to ‘Read blog by RSS feed’. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for this tip!

  14. As others have stated, I’ve never thought about the implication of using “subscribe.” More than 80 percent of my subscribers are through email. Even if I just add the word “free” I bet it would help. Currently, I do have “Stay up to date with this and other stories” and two subscription methods at the end of each post, and a text widget at the upper right that’s titled “Get Lighthouse News By Email,” with the form, but there’s always room for improvement. Sometimes the simplest things are overlooked. Time to banish (or at least modify) the word “subscribe.”

    Great post, Willy, and thanks for coming up with this theory. I can’t wait to see how it works.

  15. Like mentioned above, action/benefit words have proven to work better than suggestive words.

    Here’s a question, though.

    Since RSS subscribers are usually the more informed blog subscribers, what do you think about using the word “subscribe” for RSS feeds? (i.e. Subscribe to Feed)

  16. Willy, go to this page ( http://www.reelfunsolomons.com/ ) and see what they did with their mailing list sign up form on the top left – a neat feature that pushing them in the right direction by highlighting the form field for typing.

    Check out the code. It’s easy to implement.

    Buck

  17. This really does make sense. Your average casual web user has no idea what RSS means, but they do of course know about Email.

    And changing your call-to-action words and phrases from “Subscribe” or “Sign Up” to “Get Jobs by E-mail” and “Get Jobs by RSS” really is insightful.

    By modifying the user’s perspective–from an action to be taken on their part to a benefit they can gain–we’re probably being more direct response successful.

    Focus on why the user should subscribe and not simply that “here’s where you go to subscribe if you want to.”

    I do really think the language here makes a big difference.

    Great reminder.

  18. Thanks Willy, for a clear example of what I’m always harping on my clients about: it’s not just what the speaker says, it’s what the listener hears.

    ‘Subscribe’ means, to my generation, “overpay for a yearly contract via a form for paper product that shows up just in time to be thrown out.”

    I use “get tips+tools by email/RSS” because “get” speaks to the “want it!” child in us, “tips” implies secret value in an intimate conversation, and “tools” speaks to the adult/entrepreneur/artist in my reader.

    (Because I have a ‘personality’ they’re ‘buying,’ I can get away with the intro to the confirmation email for “tips+tools” including a line about “If you thought you were getting “tits+rules” I’m happy to say you may need glasses but don’t need to click this link…”)

  19. I’m going to call some bullshit. I think there is a reason you obscured the numbers themselves and went with the “254%” and didn’t include the ‘mean’ line that Analytics provides to give context.

    It’s not the data that people provide that matters, it’s the data they don’t.

    Still a great post.

  20. I also figured at some point that adding a link to a “What’s RSS?” page on my site would probably help. Last time I checked we were hovering around 3000 subscribers have languished at 2000 for most of last year till the change. (Although there seems to be a glitch with Feedburner stats today)

  21. 13 posts for May. I usually post Mon-Wed-Fri…not sure whether that’s optimum or not, but I simply couldn’t keep up with the good stuff posting every working day.

  22. I fail to see what kind of deep, dark conspiracy Willy is likely to be pulling with these numbers. I’m not picking a stock here–the trend is what matters, and I buy Willy’s assertion that the trend is significant.

    This is well established for things like the wording used on buttons, so it makes perfect sense for the subscribe label.

    I am going to try this as well. Tiny effort that costs me nothing, potential for very nice results, what’s not to like?

  23. Thanks for the tip Brian!

    I’m going to make sure I get this done today.

  24. This is interesting and I will give it a try. An extra benefit is that it adds some keywords to my sidebar (SEO).

    Looking forward to see the results.

  25. It’s not Brian, it’s Willy Franzen. I see why you got confused though, as there is a “by Brian Clark” line underneath the main title…

  26. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the warm welcome! This was a fun post to write, and I’m glad that I’m able to share my observations with everyone.

    @ John Hoff – Your premise is good, but my data doesn’t back it up. In fact, my RSS subscriptions jumped by over 500%. Actually that’s not entirely true, my clicks on the RSS button increased by that much. In other words, this word choice change was even better at convincing people to click the RSS button than to click the e-mail button. The e-mail button just gets considerably more action.

    @Buck – That’s an interesting method, but I think it might be a bit over the top for what I like to do; although, if it converts, it converts.

    @Ryan Holiday – I’m glad someone finally called BS. I was expecting a lot more skepticism; in fact, I was kind of looking forward to it. The conversation that comes from picking apart an idea can be really enlightening.

    I hid the numbers because my girlfriend told me that she thought that people wouldn’t see me as being as credible because my subscriber base is relatively small. I listened to her, but I really don’t mind being more open about the number involved.

    I started tracking outbound clicks in early January. I averaged 2.30 subscription clicks per day up until I made the change. Since I made the change, I’m averaging 11.07 subscription clicks per day. That’s an increase of 481.3%. Since my traffic on the site has quadrupled over that period, I thought it would be unfair to use those numbers. Instead I used a shorter time period – the 9 days before the change, and the 9 days after (which was when I wrote the post and submitted it to Brian). It’s certainly not a pure experiment, but it definitely proves the point that changing a single word can have an amazing impact.

    I hope that answers your criticisms.

    @ Sonia Simone – Thanks for backing me up. You’re right, the trend line is what matters here.

    I’m glad so many people are trying small changes, and I hope you’ll all come back and share your results. I think success will rely largely on audience type, but I could be wrong.

  27. It’s not Brian, it’s Willy Franzen.

    I went ahead and created a user name for Willy so his name shows up top. I was too lazy busy this morning to do it.

  28. Sounds good to me. I’m going to try changing the wording and see what happens.

  29. Being a “seasoned” podcaster and blogger, I can completely agree with your point about the word “subscription.”

    I no longer even tell people I have a podcast. I tell them I have an Internet Radio Show.

    Keep up the great work!
    Dave

  30. Interesting idea, I think I’m going to have to experiment with this in the future. Hopefully it will help me increase my stats.

  31. Hmm…I’m going to give this a try. I have had a feedburner button on my blog for a while now, with very few takers…

  32. I love posts like this, that just make you stop and think. Take a look at your blog from a fresh angle and realize, your readers maybe confused by the terminology being used. I’ve always thought ‘RSS’ sounded to techie for most internet users, but over looked the use of the word ‘subscribe’.
    Will have to think of a snappy alternative which will encourage instead of scare my readers!

  33. Hi Willy, this is a great point, especially for those of us who aren’t blogging about tech topics.

    It’s funny because the biggest tip I learned from Copyblogger was to provide an email option to subscribe to my blog – still one of the best tips I’ve ever received. Now I’ll be looking at changing my subscription wording, thanks!

  34. This is just too simple. I just changed my RSS button to “Get Free RSS Updates” and the e-mail option to “Free E-mail Updates”

    Let see what happens :-)

  35. I don’t think it has much to do with people confusing free and paid subscription. Your new text told potential subscribers what they would get by signing up. saying “subscribe” doesn’t sell the benefit or tell them why they should bother.

    and for the record, I am in my email all day long. I never go to my RSS reader unless i’m desperate. I would rather have posts come to me via email. Call me old-fashioned, lazy or rooted in my habits. I just prefer email.

  36. I never really thought of it that way. Most of my friends have no idea what RSS is, so I’m guessing that I can lost a lot of subscribers using only the word “subscribe”.

    Thanks for the tip

  37. Having grown up in the internet age, “subscribe” is pretty much a free term when you see it online these days. “sign up” seems to cost you money and those “free” services always cost more!

    Offline however, subscriptions are always pricey.

  38. Thanks for this useful post. I have just edited the text on my blog so that it now reads ‘Sign up for email updates’. We’ll see what impact it has. I am already using Google Anlaytics to track so I have a good feel for my traffic (which is minimal atm).

  39. Thanks for your research. Has anyone had success with ‘join’ or ‘join us today’?

  40. An excellent example of how small changes can change results dramatically. Another reason for continued testing. Thanks for the research.

  41. This is great advice, thank you. I’m trying the “free and easy” approach plus good ol’ “click here” on my Russian literature blog.

  42. I’m seeing more people subscribe over time, but I don’t know how many are doing it so they can post comments for links and how many are real prospects.

  43. I never stopped to think about the word subscribe before in terms of sending out a negative action word but I would be interested in reading a follow up post after you have had time to check your google analytics for a while. I do like your theory, great post.

  44. Good Idea.. I’ll give it a try…

  45. It’s a great tip. I get very few email subscribers, certainly relative to RSS, and this might be exactly why.

  46. Do people who don’t understand “subscribe” understand “RSS?” Or “feed reader?”

    I’m trying “Get updates in your feed reader,” but it sounds a little stilted. “Get updates by e-mail” sounds more tempting; we’ll see how that one goes.

  47. Great point I have thought of this numerous times but keeps slipping my mind to change the text. Thanks!

    Question though. How do you set it up in Google Analytics to track this?

  48. @Lisa B: I think you’re right about “feed reader.”

    I tried “Click here to sign up for a free subscription to my posts.” Someone clicked through not long after I made the change.

  49. @Golfspy X – I’m not an expert on this. I’ve relied on Joost de Valk’s advice/Google Analytics plug-in for figuring out how to track my outbound clicks. The plug-in is for WordPress and can be found on Yoast.com.

    The plug-in works for stuff inside the post, but you need to add some additional code to your template if you want to track things in your navigation (or other non-dynamic parts of your page). You can see specifically what I did by looking at the source of my site on One Day, One Job.

    Here’s a quick run through of how my e-mail subscribe button is coded:

    <a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=1055342&amp;loc=en_US" title="Subscribe to One Day, One Job by E-mail" rel="nofollow">Get Jobs by E-mail</a>

    Rel=”nofollow” – That’s because I don’t want PageRank (linkjuice) flowing to Feedburner. Since this is on every page, nofollowing is the way to go.

    onclick="javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview('/subscribe/nav/EmailFeedburner');"

    This is the tracking code. I have no idea if it will work with just the Google Analytics code, or if you need Joost’s plug-in installed for it to work. Every time someone clicks the link, I get a pageview for /subscribe/nav/EmailFeedburner. I change the code for different links, so I know which ones are driving subscriptions. This one tells me that someone subscribed through the main navigation button, and that it was an e-mail subscription. You can set the part inside the ‘ ‘ to anything you want. This is just my system for tracking.

    I know that’s a bit confusing, but I’m not sure how better to explain it. It’s relatively complex stuff, but it’s well worth the effort.

  50. I wish you would have tested “subscribe” versus “subscribe for free.” That would have provided a better test of your theory. Instead, I think you proved that it’s important to give readers a reason to subscribe and “Get jobs by e-mail” is a good reason.

  51. This reminds me of the difference in features vs benefits in copywriting. It’s more effective if you tell readers what this will DO for them- WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

  52. lol, I’ll bet it works… I just added FREE to my short pitch for newsletters, and if I can get the powers that be to change the wording on my RSS feed I will… I’ll let you know the results

  53. So, what if readers don’t even know what an RSS feed is? How do I champion that first so that they subscribe?

    Do I “teach” my readers about this feature first…and then push them to subscribe?

  54. Rachel (and others), if your readers don’t know what RSS is, you offer email as the primary subscription method. In non-RSS-savvy markets (which is most of them), I promote the email subscription prominently, then stick an orange RSS button below for those in the know.

  55. This brings up a good point about educating our readers about feed readers.

    I post to my blog six days a week, and I’ve had people unsubscribe from the e-mail updates because they get too many. Of course, a feed reader resolves that issue, but educating my readers about this easy peasy solution is the key.

  56. Awesome advice.. You made some really good points. And now I’m off to start building my subscription rate! : ]

    Thanks!

  57. Chris anyone is allowed to steal my content, though I do need to set things up so it is easier to do.

    I am going to enjoy doing some testing on this

  58. After reading this post I changed the header of my RSS link. I never sat down and really thought about the average internet intelligence of people. I never have really thought of myself as particularly savvy, but after reading this I am going to make sure that I put more thought into even the little things to make things more accessible.

  59. You’ve made many excellent points here, which I had not thought of in the past. I, too, will be implementing some changes over the next few days. Thanks for the great tips!

  60. Excellent idea – putting yourself in the seat of the reader you think of ways to connect with him based on his needs.

  61. Awesome post. You’re right, words are very important to readers it is the words that they rely on to.

    Now, I am thinking of a more proper way inviting my readers instead of by simply including the invitation on every end of post.

    Thanks.

  62. Thanks for this article. I changed my CTA from “subscribe to our RSS feed” to “get our RSS feed” and in one week I saw a 50% increase in subscribers.

    Thanks again!

  63. Great concept and great point about setting up GoogLytics to track outbound clicks.

    But I have to share on the three blogs I modified the link text to subscribe to the RSS feed, I didn’t see a change in subscription adopters. I’ll keep testing text to see if something hits.

  64. Yea I completely agree, one thing I’ve been trying on my new blog is to write about hot topics, like the election. Like I’ll just go look on whatever is on the news and comment about it.
    http://www.bruceburk.com
    check it out, i’m really open for advice from more advanced bloggers

  65. Wow, so simple but profound and something I am running off to my blog to change. THANKS

  66. Again, that’s another great tip in how to change the way I say subscribe, though its much harder to do when you don’t have one particular topic in mind. good tip nonetheless, hope i can think of one :)

  67. Great point Willy and great blog… keep it up.

  68. Humor me and tell me something I should probably already know!
    Which is actually BETTER for your blog- the amount of Email Subscriptions or Subscribed in a Feed Reader.
    I mean-
    Besides liking the large number in the subscription box for email subscribers, do the Feed Readers count/benefit if they are not checking and reading, marking as read???? Would it be better for your blog all around by more email subscribers?
    Thanks so much! I appreciate your answer!!
    Noelle

  69. wow, that’s a excellent way to increase the number of subscribers …

  70. Love ideas like this – simplicity! I blog on Typepad as well as Ning – as soon as I figure out how to change the “Subscribe in a Reader” text – I will make the change!

    Thanks for sharing!

  71. I’d like to add a little something to a comment by GirlPie. she talked about trying to get it through to clients that it’s not about what you want to say, it’s all about what your clients or customers want to hear.

    This goes way beyond the subject of marketing your newsletter. I’m helping a client develop a new tagline for his remodeling firm. He sent me a laundry list of “things” he wanted the tagline to communicate.

    Not one of them were what I envisioned his potential customers wanting to hear. He was trying to “push” on them what he wanted to tell them rather than “pulling” them in by addressing what they want from a remodeler.

    If you approach every copywriting or marketing project from this perspective, your effectiveness will skyrocket.

  72. This is an awesome article because it is simple, actionable, and I’m sure it will make a difference. I’m going to implement this right away. Thanks, Brian!

  73. actually this is simple, you just need to write good content and the people will subscribe it, the more good your content the more they will subscribe and sticking to your site

  74. Takumi, it’s actually not that simple. This case study had nothing to do with content quality at all. It had to do with small copy changes. People won’t subscribe if you don’t have great content, but they may not subscribe if you do have great content. You need to “sell” subscription properly to get them to opt-in.

  75. Great Post.

    Out of interest, does the email subscription form on this page use a WordPress Plugin, or was it written specifically for your site?

    Thanks.

  76. Thanks for your good tips. Reader like simple instructions and that’s human nature, you should capitalize on this even on great details.

  77. After reading this post, I changed my subscriptions to be:

    Read My Articles by Feeds
    OR
    Read My Articles by Email

    I’ve not seen an increase. It could be that my readers (gardeners) would rather visit my site (#8 in Top100 Gardening Sites).

    Cameron
    Defining Your Home Garden

  78. Good thinking! I’m going to change my wording right now. Thanks for the tip!

  79. Testing … testing …. and more testing. Important element to optimize our web page to get desired results. Sometimes it is amazing how just a little change in words means a lot different to others.

  80. Hey peoples

    Excellent point you make !

    I totally agree. I have a strong opinion on the fact that you need to target the psychology of your visitors.

    I am fairly new to internet marketing and in fact just got my blog started 4 weeks back.

    However it is going strong,

    I believe the reason for that is I am ‘real’ and I speak total honesty.

    This all relates back to the psychology of your site / blog.

    Heres what I do each time I add new content to my blog. I will write the content, then publish it.

    Then I will leave my blog and some minutes later go visit my blog with the mindset of a new visitor.

    You have to see if your content and offers of any kind realte to the visitor.

    If you are no drawn to your own content or offer then who else will be ?!

    Thankyou for the great subject, so simple yet so little people realise it ( including myself until I got a mentor )

    Till next time

    Dean
    http://www.DeanHolland.com

  81. Wow, that’s extremely interesting. I try to make sure that my blog is as simple as possible, but I’ve not physically tried this before.

    Thanks!

  82. Great post and a very nice idea I am sure this will make difference in my blog .

  83. Thanks for such a hot tip. I am just getting my blog started and am looking to increase its traffic and opt ins so this is very useful

  84. Simple but very true – I changed ‘subscribe’ to ‘get free’ on my cartoon site and the conversion rate tripled when I did this 3 months back.. too bad you can’t customise the feedburner email subs pages to reflect this though – am sure quite a few users drop off when they reach the feedburner email subs form that has subscribe all over it!

  85. Great. I can’t imagine impact of the word ‘subscribe’. I’ll certainly follow this tip. Thanks.

  86. I’ve been trying really hard to increase the number of RSS subscribers on my blog but it is so hard to do. I’ll try your advice and see if it works for me. Thanks.

  87. Okay, I just changed my “Subscribe/RSS” link to “Get Free Updates!” We’ll see what happens. Thanks for the tip!

  88. It seems almost too good to be true. I did not even know what rss when i started blogging.

  89. This is excellent information Willy. A lot of people associate “subscribe” to mean something like paying for a magazine subscription. If it’s clear that it’s free, what have they got to lose?

  90. Willy … you just created a great “well, duh!” moment for me. I just assumed that everyone knew what rss and email subscriptions were … even though I had to look it up when I first started. I naturally assumed that everyone else would, too. Underestimating the lowest common denominator, as usual. People want to expend the least amount of effort to get stuff, and our job as good bloggers is to empower that to happen. Now you’ve showed me one more way I can do that. Well, duh! Thanks! Stephanie

  91. I just tweaked my Email subscription text: Stalk Lisa’s Hot News!

    No, seriously. Stalk me!

  92. While I get strong traffic to my blog daily, I’ve never had a solid email/reader subscription base. Curiously, I’ve always used the word “Subscribe.” I am going to finish this comment and head back to Blog Harbor (my blog) to make some immediate changes.

    Looking forward to seeing if this helps.

    Thank you for a sensational post.

    Christopher

  93. It’s 22 hours from my last post and since doing a very subtle tweak to the mouseovers for my RSS billboard and envelope (using “Get” and “Free” instead of “Subscribe”), my overall subscription base went up by 20%.

    For 22 hours, that’s not too bad. Obviously it’s way too early to say I’m trending up. At the same time, however, I didn’t have a single new subscription in over a month until today.

  94. I also thought about it.
    But I can’t find the best word to replace subscribe.
    But now, you have given me a great idea.
    Thanks a lot.

  95. Wow,
    I’m going to implement this right away.

  96. Very helpful information ~ thanks for sharing. I found out about your post via Feedblitz. I learned to “write for your reader” and this makes perfect sense. Now if I can only find the RSS button through Feedblitz to include in my comment section, I’ll be all set. Hoping these small tweaks and changes will make a difference.

  97. Hey that is cool stuf really loved it .How can i make it more working with a new blog which i am going to release very soon

  98. Hi!

    I have been trying this method for a couple of month and it really works. But it works better if you remark that it is for free…

    Regards,

  99. yes very true , most general net users just look for easy digestible words. i my self didnt knew few months earlier what this RSS is all about.

  100. Yup that’s very true most of us misperceive the word subscription and our user only don’t subscribe as they are thinking they have to contribute certain amount of money for that.

  101. Hmm…thanks for this. I’ve been wondering how much of the information re: blog subscription, and specifically RSS feeds, gets lost in the translation. Nice to hear some details! Definitely have to focus on some de-mystification…enjoyed the post!

  102. great Info.. Keep posting
    regards,
    Chandu
    chandu234u.blogspot.com

  103. Very interesting indeed and not your average ‘increase traffic’ article. Many thanks.

  104. Great points about RSS subscription. I remember it wasn’t all that long ago that I did not even know what RSS wasz. So I can see how the “subscribe” would confuse people who aren’t familiar with RSS. When I put the email option on my blog I put “weekly articles by email” instead of subscribe and that seems to have worked pretty well.

  105. Such a awesome idea. I got great information In some Case this is even more important than the number of unique visitors to the site. Getting a lot of visitors but not many subscribers means the people coming to your site aren’t being grabbed by your writing.

  106. VIVEK BANDEDBUCHE :

    Great post and a very nice idea

  107. Great advice , I just started reading your blog and love it , so much useful information thank you so much

  108. That’s an excellent observation. Never really thought about it that way, though I have not usually used the word “subscribe”. I have usually used something like “Sign Me Up!” or “Sign Up Here”, etc.

    Have to rethink that, maybe.

    Thanx for the article.

  109. My blog is now only a few visitors, I am very pleased to find your blog, because it provides many useful methods

  110. Testing … testing …. and more testing. Important element to optimize our web page to get desired results. Sometimes it is amazing how just a little change in words means a lot different to others.

  111. This article was just what I was looking for as I contemplate ways to increase interaction with my readers. I am going to make some changes to my “subscribe” interface starting tonight!

  112. Hey this article really helped me understand RSS feeds better.

  113. OK, I just have to say “Thanks” for making me think this through! In two months of blogging I had 10 total email subscribers (about 40 overall including RSS). In the 12 HOURS since I made changes to my subscription interface, I’ve already had 3 new email sign-ups. This is huge at this point in the game.

    I changed the sign-up area on my homepage, but I also added a new page/header tab called “Don’t miss a thing!” to really connect with the reader and tell them why they should sign up.

    So far, so good!

  114. Great post. Would you mind if I wrote a little article on my increase website traffic blog about this?

    My blog is still very new so I am always looking to get more quality content on it.

    My readers I am sure would benefit greatly from this information. I will of course link back to this blog
    as being the original blog where I got information from.

  115. I think its a great point really help me out in understanding and attracting more subscribers

  116. I never really thought about it.

    Thanks for the tip, I’ll go ahead and change the word subscribe in my page. Can’t believe that that word makes my readers go away.

  117. Fascinating tip! I’m going to change the word from subscribe to “Get Financial Samurai via RSS and Email”. Let’s see if anything happens. Thnx!

  118. My blog is only three months old so we will see if this jumps starts something. My traffic is way low 45-120 a day it swings really wide. Thanks for the tip, small things can mean so much. Implemented tonight!

    Glendon

  119. I’m in the middle of moving my blog, rebranding and designing it and just today I saw the word subscribe and felt put off by it. I decided to change the words to ‘Connect with me’ as my blog will be becoming more personal when I move and it seemed to sound more user friendly. Interesting article, glad I stumbled across it, tonight of all nights, what a coincidence! Lets hope it works for me too.

  120. So true. The way we use language is so important as to how we are interpreted and understood by others. Interesting interpretation on the word subscribe I had not previously thought of. And since the bulk of my readership to this point are not internet savy people, who understand RSS so well, maybe I should rethink my wording.:)

    Thanks for the tip.

  121. WOW so easy to do and such a great tip…that would make more sense on how to get people to subscribe!
    Great info!

  122. The power of a single word monetized. Your example is great, not only for building traffic, but as a reminder that words to matter. Using the right ones make all the difference.

  123. Very good post. In fact as soon as I finished reading it I implemented the change in my travel blog; will now have to see what the results are because although it does give tips now and then, most of the entries are travel experiences and photographs of places around the world. The reader has to be interested in enjoying the read, as simple as that. But then many people are right?

    Thanks!
    Federico

  124. Thanks. I will implement your advice on my sites. Never thought that readers would think that “subscribing” would cost money. But it does make sense when I remember that I do have to pay to subscribe to National Geographic, etc.

  125. Thanks for the reminder. We all tend to do things on autopilot most of the time. We can never be reminded sufficiently often that we need to be awake, alert and thinking all of the time.

    Why should our readers pay any attention to us if we are not paying attention to their needs.

  126. This works. This is smart. This is why I love copyblogger. An idea so simple and so basic but something that can completely change your career and how quickly you succeed.

    I’ve changed a lot of language on our sites since reading this and the results have been fantastic.

    Thanks Brian.

  127. Thanks for these tips on getting more subscribers. From my personal experience in sales and marketing, a little preparation can go a long way. Taking a little time to understand who you’re reaching out to and then qualifying can save hours of work and stress.

  128. Adrienne Knight :

    Very late to the comments but wanted to add that whilst I fall into the savvy group, I will always subscribe via email if I am offered the option; in fact I am disappointed with sites that don’t. My reason: it gets delivered, thereby acting as a regular reminder that this is a site I am interested in. The RSS feed requires me to actively look for it. As I have rather a lot of sites I like to keep up with, and always check my email first, this sometimes gets missed in a busy schedule. Just my two penn’orth…

  129. yeah. i haven’t understand before, about RSS.

  130. This blog has been absolutely INvaluable to my site. I use blogger, and although I was never aware of feeds before tonight, I can already see the amazing potential behind them.

    Like large-scale businesses, I want return customers because I know that 90% of my “business” is going to come from only 10% of my users. Furthermore, 1% of those dedicated readers will tell others about my site, opposed to about .1% of readers who are NOT dedicated readers.

    If you could, please follow up with me (send an email to yourcollegestory@yahoo.com) about how I can add an RSS and E-Mail feed button inside my blog posts, and how I can get people to access feeds via their phones (I believe this could be HUGE!).

    If I can explain easily and in very few words to my readers how to access my “feed” through their phones, I’m sure viewership will go up a ton!

    Thank you so much for your comprehensive blog. It was extraordinarily useful!

  131. I work for a web TV company and we always use “Never Miss an Episode” — which isn’t as much of a call to action, but it definitely feels less abrasive than “SUBSCRIBE!”

  132. My blog haven’t subscribes… I’ll trying to used it in my blog. thanks Willy for your great posting…

  133. I thought this article was soooo interesting. My readers are not “techy” at all. I just changed my wording to “Subscribe in a Reader” and “Get Email Updates”. As of right now, I have 552 subscribers, but only 13 email subscribers! I’m hoping to see a huge difference there. My readers may not know what the hech “subscribing” is, but I guarantee you they all have email accounts! Thanks for the tip!

  134. Ok, I also just switched the “followers” title to “loyal readers”. What the heck does it mean to “follow” someone anyway??? I think even “Catholic Icing Fans” would be better. Like facebook does (or did).

  135. One week and 2 days after making my wording change, I have 645 subscribers (up from 552) and 66 email subscribers (up from 13). My blog is 6 months old. Thanks so much for the great idea! :-)

  136. My blog on car shipping doesn’t get read at all. I am going to use some of your pointers and see if we can change that. I will report back in a month or so. Hopefully I have the best read car transport blog on the net!

  137. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence, but I added Get “Free” Recipes and I also put the subscribers button that has the # of people subscribed, directly below that and my Adsense revenue from feeds alone increased 200% for yesterday. I love your site by the way, all your articles are so interesting!

  138. Just my 2 cents, one thing that I tried before and precisely made it is holding a subscription contest.

  139. Again, that’s another great tip in how to change the way I say subscribe, though its much harder to do when you don’t have one particular topic in mind. good tip nonetheless, hope i can think of one :)..

  140. Wow! This blog entry alone got many comments. I believe in everything you say and I am now rethinking my “subscription” title.

  141. Yep, folks are still reading this post. I hope some of my posts are as popular years later! Something to aspire to.

    I actually implemented the change before I was even done scrolling through the comments. A good idea shouldn’t wait.

    Visit my freelance writing/online marketing blog if you want to–it’s at http://www.10000seeds.com.

  142. Thanks for that information, I’d never thought about it before but you’re right. I’m going to implement those changes right now!
    Louise

  143. Really nice post, let me too try this. Will come back & let you know my outcome ;)

  144. Wow! what a nice info about how to get more subscribers.

    I have set a goal for my blog to get at least 300 subscribers before November 2010. But as of this time the number is around 90-112.

    I hope i can reach my target.

    I have a question: The button said: 112 readers, sometimes around 90. How to know the exact subscriber of my blog.

  145. Excellent tip! I just tweaked my blog a bit to implement the idea, and going to tweak more to put the subscription button on top of the site.

    Thanks for the great post.

  146. I make sure to add ‘It’s Free’ beside the subscription options on my Blog.

  147. I will definitely re-examine the words I am using Willy. Many thanks again.

  148. Great post, I think the wording on my subscription link is all wrong now – before I thought it was perfect.

  149. Labeling email subscription as “email updates” seems like a great idea. I never thought about it but you’re right some people might interpret that as them having to spend money. I never did but I can see how the average person would think so.

  150. yes very true , most general net users just look for easy digestible words. i my self didnt knew few months earlier what this RSS is all about.

  151. Just wanted to show my appreciation for this post. It makes perfect sense to remove all jargon. It wasn’t until just the other day that I realized so many people didn’t know what RSS was. I just didn’t think about it not being common, since I used it daily.

    This post was a much appreciated reminder that we have to keep our readers in mind at all times, and we have to put ourselves in their mindset as much as possible. I’ve changed my subscribe links on my site to say “Get New Posts via Email (Free)” and “Get New Posts via RSS (Free)” to take advantage of the points you make. We’ll see how it goes.

  152. I love your theory cause I do the same things as least 3 years. Normal people uses normal internet, and SUBSCRIBE in their mind cost money, like you said. So I put FREE FOREVER and , OMG, number of subscribe from email skyrocket.

  153. I have been working on some similar testing with one of my sites. Thanks for the great info.

  154. I enjoyed your post. First off, there is probably some truth to your theory. Many words carry unintended connotations and as writers we should always remain vigilant and willing to test out different word choices.

    However, what I actually find fascinating about your post is the promise of raising our blog subscription rates by a very exact and essentially unfounded percentage. Even if that is what your word change appeared to do for your blog, the idea that there would be anything approaching a consistent raise in blog subscriptions for all who tried it is obviously untrue. You even end the post by stating explicitly that you have not “proven” your theory.

    This is not a criticism. Clicking on the post, I knew logically that you were not actually promising me a method that would give me a 254% growth. However, click I did.

    Using a very exact figure gives the illusion of rigidly compiled numbers, and that alone encourages belief. Saying “How I increased my subscriptions…” rather than “How to increase your…” may be more accurate, but promising the exactitude in your title was a fascinating way to ensure interest in your post.

  155. I think this is killer content, because a 254% increase would be great for my business,

    thanks for sharing this great post.

  156. A great point – many people, including myself, neglect to consider these small details that result in huge differences.
    Thanks for the testing – we’ll put this into practice.

  157. Nice post.

    If your blog is good and interesting then it also automatically increases the subscription. I don’t rely much on RSS which is going to be dead anyway. I mostly use Feedburner for newsletter subscription.

  158. Food for thought. I’m going to change mine up a little and see how it goes. Thanks for the inspiration.

  159. Food for thought and action to take. I did the change in my opt-in forms, tested it for a week and the results was a 190% more opt-ins. It works.
    Thank you Willy

  160. I agree that words really make a difference, keep tweaking your blog and record the differences. This way you will be able to single out the only best option available. Nice post.

  161. As I move from a personal blog to a business blog, I find that this is very important information. The number of subscribers I have will directly effect the number of clients and referrals I get. The more value I provide will not even be noticed if PEOPLE ARE NOT READING WHAT I WRITE! So I must find a unique way to get this content to people. The easiest of these is to get people to subscribe to the RSS and also Email. Great Post!

  162. This is an excellent point. I’ve been blogging since 2000 and it has never once occurred to me that something so simple couple be the barrier to getting a subscription. I always assumed that readers, already overwhelmed (like I am) with overabundance of emails and spam (and who may not be as blessed as I am to have Gmail with it’s amazing filtering capabilities) simply avoid subscribing because they don’t want to have yet another email coming to their inbox. Time is precious and I try to understand that. But if internet ignorance is the cause, then I certainly don’t want that to be a barrier. Awesome post, thanks for sharing!

  163. Great points,Great post.

  164. Thanks, i must put this into practice

  165. Wonderful tips,am definitely going to try.

  166. You are right about people not understanding the meanings of RSS let alone its benefits. In fact, people avoid the RSS button unless it says something other than that. Please write a blog on ideas for attracting people to the RSS button.

  167. Nice post, a good summary. However, I must add to the smart urls (generally on page optimization), like any other site look at how the SEs see your blog. For example I was wondering for quite some time why don’t you use metatags at SEOmoz which causes this because of -is there a limit to links? I can’t seem to get the second link to display, just click on the “repeat the search with the omitted results included.” to see what I unseccussfully try to link to-(notice the same snippet on all entries) I am not actually sure if that hurts rankings but I prefer to be on the safe side.

  168. Its important to make things a little bit or a lot easier for your blog subscribers so that they are a little more able to be able have that chance to subscribe and also be able to find everything they need quickly and easily!

  169. These are some great tips! thanks for sharing! I will have to give these a try!

  170. When you ask your readers to subscribe, are you asking them to do the virtual version of writing their name underneath? Or are you asking them to agree to pay you a sum of money?” <—-WOW. This, alone, properly used, could probably increase subscription rate by 500%.
    "Great Theory! Now Back It Up"<—-really – it wouldn't have been needed; the lesson is so common sense, I would've followed it regardless.
    I will alter my word choice in ways like, "if you want more of this, just put in your name and email-adress in the box below". Not a word about subscribing.

  171. Thanks for the suggestion.It is quite an excellent post you have written.It surely help a lot in increasing blog subscription.Thanks again.