October 26, 2015

How the Blogger subscription options work


As a designer of Blogger blogs, clients often think I know all the ins and outs of Blogger, and while I have come a long way since starting out myself as a blogger I still have a lot to learn. It is one of the reasons that I currently only design Blogger blogs. The work involves so much more than only making the designs. Clients also want to know how the Blogger platform works and how they can get the best out of it for their blogs. And I really want that to be a part of my service as well. But it is also the part where I am still learning myself. Google and Blogger are huge platforms, with lots of options, and it takes time to explore and understand them all. But while I am doing that I love to share what I have learned so far!

Today I want to explain a little more about the subscription options that Blogger offers. I got quite a few questions on that topic recently and while searching for the answers I learned new things as well. So thanks for asking people! In this particular post about subsciption options for Blogger I want to highlight two of those questions:
1. Where can I see how many email subscribers my blog has?
2. Can I see the email addresses of the people that subscribe so that I can send out special offers to them?
So, let's get started to answer to these!

HOW THE BLOGGER EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION OPTION WORKS

The email subscription option is a gadget that you can add to your sidebar. It is a standard Blogger gadget and when you purchase one of my designs it comes standard with this gadget in the sidebar. On my own website it looks like this:

blogger email subscription

When a reader fills in his/her email in the gadget they subscribe themselves to Feedburner. Feedburner is a program/platform that enables people to follow along with your blog feed. The reader will now get an email to confirm the subscription to your blog and once they have confirmed they will receive an email everytime you publish a new post. This way they don't miss out on your blog posts.

WHERE YOU CAN FIND INFO ON FEEDBURNER SUBSCRIPTIONS

Unfortunately, when a reader signs up for email updates, this won't show anywhere on your blog's dashboard. So if you do nothing else, you will never know how many people are following your blog this way. So where can you find that information then?

To get that info you need to access Feedburner itself, and you do this by following this link: http://feedburner.google.com This will give you access to your Feedburner dashboard which looks like this:

Feedburner Dashboard

In the demo image above you see a list of blog names, that is because those are the demo sites of my blog designs, so your feedburner dashboard will only show the blog or blogs you have. That could be just one. Behind the name you will see the number that represents the number of subscribers to that blog. My numbers all say '0' because these are demo blogs and no one will sign up for them ;-)

When you click on the name of the blog you want to take a look at you will be directed to another screen with more data. If you check out the 'Subscribers' tab under the 'Analyze' option you will see data on your blog related to the amount of subscribers which looks like this:

Feedburner Dashboard

Click the link 'See more about your subscribers' for more details. Scroll down the page and click on the link 'FeedBurner Email Subscriptions' :


Now you will get to see the full list of subscribers. For privacy reasons I have blocked the email addresses of my subscribers in the image below, but this is how your list will look like:

Feedburner Email Subscriber List

Behind the email addresses you can see on what date they subscribed and if they have completed the subscription. The people that completed subscription are the 'active' subscriptions and they receive an update by email each time you publish a new post. The people that did not confirm the subscription are registered as 'Unverified' in this list and they won't receive your updates.

This email list can be used by you to contact your subscribers with special offers and news. But you will have to gather the addresses by hand from this list. If you are looking to build an automated email address list to send out a newsletter you need to offer a seperate newsletter subscription option. You can find out how to do that in the post over here.

FEEDBURNER COMMUNICATION OPTIONS

If you start scrolling through your Feedburner dashboard you will notice that there are plenty of options to optimize your Feedburner. I cannot go into every detail otherwise the post would be way too long and I have to admit that some of the options are still not clear to my either. But the option you might want to check out is the communication option. You will find this under the 'Publicize' tab, and then select 'Communication Preferences' on the left:

Feedburner Welcome Text

Here you have the option to re-write the text that your readers receive when they subscribe to your blog. You can make the text more personal if you want.

Under the option 'Email Branding' (right under Communication Preferences) you can change how the email will look which your subscribers receive everytime you publish a post:

feedburner email branding options

You can change font style, font size and font color of the email, but you can also add your logo image (which I did) and use a code that will automatically show the post title in the email. You will find this code under 'HOT TIP' in the text.

So if you take a good look around your Feedburner dashboard you will see that you have quite a few options for analyzing, optimizing and publicizing. But the main thing is that you will now be able to track your email subscribers!

SUBSCRIBING VIA THE READING LIST OPTION

If you have taken a good look at your Blogger Dashboard you might have noticed you had some 'followers'. You can find them over here in your dashboard:

blogger followers

Those followers are not the ones that subscribed to your blog via the email subscription link though. They used another option! Instead they used the 'Reading List' option that Blogger offers on the Blogger Dashboard. When you are in your dashboard and you scroll down you will see this:

blogger blog list

This is where you can add blogs to your reading list that are worth reading. They don't have to be Blogger blogs, they can be of any platform. All you have to do to follow a blog you like is click the 'Add' button and fill in the URL of the blog you want to follow and they will show up in this reading list.

When a reader decides to start following your blog through this reading list you will see them as a follower on your dashboard. When you click on that 'Followers' button you will see the followers that decided to subscribe publically, but followers that want to remain anonymous will not be visible. They only show up as a number in the amount of followers but you won't be able to see information about them.

I hope that after reading this post you will be able to find out how many subscribers and followers your blog has via the email subscription option and the reading list option. Especially when you are trying to build a business, having a list of email addresses of people that are interested in your content can be very valuable. But one point of caution though: please do not misuse that information! People subscribed to your blog to get updates, if you want to contact them on a regular basis with other information you really need to add the option of subscribing to a newsletter!

If this information was helpful to you or if you want to add anything, please let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

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