How do you read blogs *results*

I found some of the results surprising. Thank you for responding to the survey questions, those of you who did!

By the way I realize I could have made this survey into a poll which would have been easier to answer, but WordPress won’t show the poll in Reader and you’d have to click around to get to it which is annoying for both you and me. So I did it the old fashioned (i.e. cumbersome) way.

Anyway, here is how peeps responded (generally):

How do you read WordPress blog content most of the time?

Most people prefer laptop or desktop. I was completely stunned by this, I assumed everyone was using their phones. About a third use their phone primarily, but most sit at their laptops.

I use laptop most of the time myself especially for commenting because it’s easier to type at a keyboard (as some of you have also said), but I do use my phone about 45% of the time.

Do you use WordPress Reader to consume blog content?

Most people use Reader. Some people start in Reader and then go elsewhere (maybe a blog that isn’t WordPress, or maybe an email subscription). But Reader is by far the most popular way to consume blogs.

Do you ever check the website of the blog you are reading, on a device that isn’t your phone?

(Do you go to writerofwordsetc.ca and look at the tabs?)

The answers were varied. Slightly more people answered sometimes than rarely.

I suspect if it’s easy (click a link and it happens) then people might (but not necessarily will) click and go look around. I think it also depends – if a favorite blogger mentions a captivating reason why you should go look at their website (i.e. leave Reader) they might because they’re curious and they like the blogger. But as a rule, most people don’t typically go surfing around; they just stick to the content in Reader (the post they’re reading at that moment).

Do you use the search icon to search for specific terms, categories, tags, or topics?

Search field on desktop, laptop etc… (not mobile)

Slightly more people said no, a few said yes. This is kind of interesting to me – I sometimes recall a post made by someone and would want to find it quickly. To do so, a search field is really helpful. But not all blogs/website have them integrated, especially not personal blogs, and it’s a matter of taste whether someone cares enough to go digging around in archives.

Do you subscribe to receive blog posts by email?

This one was a surprise too: about half say yes and half say no. But that’s not a comprehensive answer.

  • some people subscribe to their favorite blogs via email because they don’t have a blog themselves or don’t want to be visible online (lurkers)
  • those who do subscribe to email would do so only for non-WP blogs (such as Blogger, Typepad, etc).
  • the ones who said no to email subscriptions were adamantly opposed to getting more email. They each had their own unique reasons, but many said Reader makes it easy to leave all the content in one place (as does Feedly, Newsblur and RSS etc) and there was no reason to subscribe to email.

I noticed something else:

Most of my email subscribers never like, very rarely comment, and mostly lurk. I have no idea if they still read each post I send or if it gets spammed, ignored or trashed. I do notice that those who sign up for email are not comfortable with online presence and therefore consume content as lurkers (because I know some of them in person). I don’t have a problem with that. But it does raise the question why so many small businesses rely so heavily on email subscriptios (especially if they have supplemental blogs, newsletters and the like)… If people generally don’t want more email yet are pushed to subscribe continuously… I don’t know how to feel about this.

The trouble with email subscriptions (for me)

I have subscribed to very few blogs myself. I subscribe to Jonathan only because I’ve known him for years and he escapes into his internet island every so often but continues to tell his stories to whoever wants to read them. He’s my friend so I sign up for his emails.

But here’s my beef (not with you, Jonathan, but with email subscriptions in general):

When I’m done with WP Reader, I sign out and focus on my non-blogging tasks. I might need to go to email for something business related (or kid related or hockey related or medical related or whatever) and when I see a blog post delivered into my inbox, it distracts and lures me away from my tasks. So as a rule, I don’t want to subscribe. (But I still read you so no worries, JB.) πŸ˜€

In mobile/phone, do you ever click the menu on the website address to get to the About page or other menu items?

Pretty equal responses with sometimes and rarely. The people who like to do it will go out of their way to find the About page, and some of them are irritated when it’s empty, out of date or insufficient. I too find myself going to the About page when I discover a new blog and prefer to see something there…

Do you use another method to follow and read blog content, such as RSS, Feedly etc?

This question was left unanswered by some, but those who answered were either using or not using these feeds. One person mentioned Newsblur (now I know why it shows up in my stats, thanks!), and I have experience with Feedly myself, but I’m not sure if anyone still uses RSS (and frankly, I don’t know how it works nor do I want to).

Feedly, Newsblur etc work like Reader (I think) but feed other, non-blog content into that space for you to read. It’s a place to go when you feel like reading everything you’re interested in (including, I believe, newspaper articles etc from sources you signed up with) and then you can mosey on out of there when you’re done and do your thing.

So I get it, how it can be beneficial. But for me, since most of my interests lie in WordPress as far as my writing inspiration is concerned, I just stick to Reader (I ditched Feedly a while ago).

***

Thank you for taking the time to provide me with some feedback, I really appreciate it, especially because it was a bit cumbersome. But now I have gained greater insights as to how active bloggers like me also consume this type of content, as do you. Very helpful going forward, knowing your audience and your support system, don’t you think?

Thank you for reading my post.

20 thoughts on “How do you read blogs *results*

  1. I discovered the email follower/lurker phenomenon recently. I would have had no idea such people were paying any attention to my site if someone hadn’t pointed out that they usually read my posts in their email inbox.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love stats over subjects of interest and I can chat for hours over blogging. This was an interesting read and yeah JB only one too who I am following over email and feel the same as you over it. I just try to keep up with people, wherever blogs are over being up to my eyeballs in blogs at the moment lol. I primarily use LiveJournal over my personal content/where my blog is at the moment but many left to use a similar site, Dreamwidth which has caused a division over one community becoming two. Watching this unfold has been interesting as I’ve found often people will only connect over the same platform and I think this change tested friendships along the way over it. I am the same over being in sort of a social context of going to somewhere like email and having something social over mundane ends up diverting attention. I have the attention span of a goldfish, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fascinating survey! I myself subscribe via email to the blogs I want to keep up with on a regular basis and scroll my Reader to interact with the ones I interact with less regularly. I am also a desktop/laptop kind of person and quite enjoy browsing archives or searching for topics on blogs I am new too. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pretty predictable results πŸ™‚ Just so you know – WordPress Reader is an RSS reader – it’s just tweaked to make it easy to follow WordPress.com blogs, and has extra features for them (likes, in-line comments). WordPress has become a gigantic walled garden over time. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just that those using it often don’t realise they have become a very insular country all of their own (think Russia, right now). It’s a shame – when the web was young, it was much more open – before commercialism arrived.

    Liked by 1 person

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