Ten minute tip – sharing and following.

As has been pointed out to me by a few people already, this blog didn’t have a follow by email option. RSS exists for wordpress, though I haven’t done anything to highlight how to subscribe, but the drawback of using plain RSS is that you don’t get any stats on who is following you.

There are, obviously, ways around this. The biggest and best known way is probably feedburner, which is now owned by google. The drawback to that is that google has deprecated the api, which is a technical way of saying that they aren’t developing it any more, may well cease to support it and eventually it just won’t work. Given that moving subscribers between services can be rather a pain, and the feedburner stats have been flakey to say the best, that means it’s no longer top of my recommendations list.

If you discuss this on twitter at any point, you will very quickly hear from one @phollows. He is the founder of FeedBlitz, a feedburner alternative. He has a tutorial on how you migrate from Feedburner to Feedblitz, and I suspect it’s a good alternative for businesses, but it may be just too pricey for bloggers as you are charged by email subscriber.

Another option is Mailchimp, which until you’ve got 2000 subscribers, is free. Free is a word I’m fond of. This isn’t a system I’ve tried though, so I’ve now run out of things to tell you about it 😉

When I asked on twitter for other suggestions, there was only one person who spoke up, Mummy Barrow. She uses subscribe2 from within wordpress – it’s a plugin. I took a look at it, and it’s what I would call option lite until you start paying, and as I’m trying to avoid paying, I’m moving on again.

Plugins within wordpress did look like a good option though, and so I started to investigate Jetpack. As I mentioned previously, it’s now possible to migrate at least some of your followers from wordpress.com to a self hosted wordpress blog if you’re using Jetpack, so that looks like a good starting position. It does far more than manage email subscription, but as this is a ten minute post, I won’t explore more than following and sharing at this point. Configuring the following options for email was as simple as ticking a couple of tickboxes in a settings page, and I now offer email subscriptions.

I had installed Addthis to manage my sharing buttons, but somewhere between me using them on my personal blog and setting them up on here, the layout appears to have gone seriously askew. So I am uninstalling them, and will explore the Jetpack features for sharing as well.

Configuring the Jetpack sharing buttons is just a case of dragging the buttons you want to display into a box. It doesn’t look like I can configure the tweet that will be sent out, but I may be missing something – I’m running out of my ten minutes though, so I’ll come back to that later.

The blog is now set up to be followed and shared – I hope that you’ll do both 🙂

7 thoughts on “Ten minute tip – sharing and following.

  1. jax Post author

    Hm, I think I spot the first drawback – you’ve got to leave a comment to be able to sign up to follow. Will have to do something about that!

  2. Mark Ure

    I think it’s important for there to be engaging content before you even think about sharing. If i were to let my tedious walls of text out of my blog in front of people’s minds, they would just annoy people and feel intrusive to them. To be honest, my blog is mainly there so i can hide ranting walls of text away from people who would be alienated by reading them. Also, i have an issue with hypergraphia. I don’t think it’s something which should be encouraged.

    Come to think of it, it makes me feel quite uncomfortable to imagine people are actually reading it.

  3. Jane

    That is not great news about Feedburner. I set it up and it worked perfectly at first. Then a too large post sent it packing. Now I cannot get it started again (have tried all sorts). I also read that it will not pick up small subscription lists. People seem more reluctant to ‘follow’ than subscribe via email?

  4. Another Goldfish

    Looks like MailChip requires you to publish your whole address on every email… not a brilliant option if you’re writing about children. (This might be a problem with all of them, I’ve not explored them all yet)

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