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Don’t Niche Your Audiences Options September 19, 2011

Posted by christinapappas in Blogging, Content Marketing.

I get extremely frustrated every time I find or land on a blog that I want to subscribe to and don’t see an option to sign-up via email. Personally, I have tried RSS and unless I set a daily reminder to check it, I don’t so email works for me. I can read blogs via email on my iPhone, I can flag the ones I want to read or respond to and come back later and I can sort everything by blog. I know I can do all this on RSS although I am not sure about the flagging one, but I don’t like it.

After asking a few bloggers why I cannot subscribe via email, their response was that the option was there and I probably didn’t see it. Guess what?

The email subscribe is hidden under this button:

While a majority of bloggers use Google’s Feedburner, when you click this button, you can subscribe to a blog in all sorts of ways including via email (although this is the least obvious). Why not make it easy for people like me that want to subscribe via email? It may sound silly, but just make it obvious!

While running my former company’s blog we had used Feedburner (eventually migrated to Feedblitz for so many reasons) and I know that you can separate email subscribes from RSS subscribes to enable the use of 2 distinct icons on your site. Why don’t bloggers do this? For those starting out, the RSS button is so un-intuitive, one would never think to click on it to subscribe via email. Is it that hard to add another icon? If your theme is holding you back, get a new theme!

I recently wrote a post on Content and the Five Senses of Consumptions and Learning and discussed why we have different formats for content. The same is true in our approach to how we deliver and receive it.

  • Don’t assume we all have access to, or even like, content to be delivered RSS.
  • Don’t assume we will know that email subscribe option is hidden in under the RSS icon.
  • Don’t assume that we will love your content so much that we will bookmark you site and return every day for new posts.
  • Don’t assume we will seek out alternative methods to connect with you to keep up to date on your posts.

Don’t assume. Make it obvious and keep it simple. And please, give me the option to subscribe via email!



1. Ari Herzog - September 19, 2011

Visit my blog and the option is front and center. Err, right and center. And if you miss it, it’s also below the article and before the comments. Clear to you if I didn’t tell you this?

christinapappas - September 24, 2011

Yup! I see the RSS flag right alongside the social icons (where it should be) and email subscribe option is right up top and clearly evident. I like this style a lot and even if we all just copy each other, I think it makes it a lot easier for the majority to not only form communities by getting subscribers but to deliver our content in the perferred format.

2. Jennifer MacDonald (@jennimacdonald) - September 20, 2011

I thought I was the only one! I was actually embarrassed to say that I prefer email over RSS.

My main reason is the same as yours, I don’t remember to check my RSS feed and so when I do I am bombarded! I’m always checking email so it is the most productive option for me.

christinapappas - September 24, 2011

No no no! You are not alone! I love email and never really got the whole RSS thing. I have tried it over and over again with zero success. I think there is something about me having to sign in to something else alongside all the other programs that I just cannot get used to.

The other plus side with email is that I can leave things in my inbox that are interesting to me and that I may want to refer back to. Still trying to figure that one out in RSS.

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