Blogging and Writing

How Easy Is it for People to Find or Follow Your Blog?

Blogging word cloud

Unless you’ve deliberately made your blog unsearchable, it’s probably kind of nice when new people drop by and follow your blog. And by follow, I mean actually follow, not spam follow in the hopes you’ll follow back. But is it easy for people to find and follow your blog? You might be making it harder without even realizing it.

Gravatar

Have you ever noticed in your WordPress Reader notifications that a new blog has followed you, but when you click on their Gravatar, it takes you to a page that says the blog no longer exists?

That’s usually because someone has changed their blog’s domain name but their Gravatar is still linking to their old domain name. People are likely blissfully unaware that there’s a problem, although they may wonder why the people they follow don’t seem to follow them back.

To check if this is an issue for your blog, find your Gravatar in your Reader notifications, click it, and see if it takes you to your website. if it does, you’re gold.

If it doesn’t, in the WordPress Reader, click your Gravatar image at the top right of the screen. Then click on “Account Settings.” Then under “Web address”, update it to your current URL.

In the WordPress app, go to My Site. Tap on your Gravatar at the top right. Then, as described above, go to “Account Settings” and update your “Web address.”

Follow button

I’ve noticed that some blogs have a follow by email widget on their site, but not a WordPress follow button (that narrow blue button). On most WordPress.com sites, you can add this button as a widget.

The WordPress.com business plan takes away the option to insert a follow widget. I have no idea why, but it does. Business plan blogs or self-hosted blogs need to use html code to add a follow button. WordPress has a button creation page that allows to generate code for your site.

The follow doo-dah in the bottom right corner of the page

Usually, WordPress.com blogs (with the exception of blogs on the business plan) will show a little box showing if you’re following someone, as well as 3 horizontal dots. If you click the 3 dots you can, among other things, view the post in the WP Reader.

I don’t know why this disappears on business plan blogs. It seems to be available on most other WordPress.com blogs, but I’ve noticed over the last while that it sometimes doesn’t show up when you first load a page, but it will appear if you refresh the page. This is another way to follow someone in WordPress if they don’t have a WordPress follow button on their site.

How does your site look?

I used to rarely look at my actual site, because I was always looking within the WordPress editor. Then I realize that things didn’t always look the way I thought they did. It’s probably a good idea to have a look at your actual site every so often, and consider things like whether or not your site makes it easy for people to follow you.

Do you ever have problems finding blogs via people’s Gravatars or, once you’ve found a blog, figuring out how to follow it? Do you think your own site is easily followable?

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38 thoughts on “How Easy Is it for People to Find or Follow Your Blog?”

  1. Once again, I don’t care LOL But yes, my gravatar is up-to-date and I have all the follow thingies. But what I find interesting, now that you ask, how DO people randomly find my blog? Just the other day I got a comment from someone new who no longer maintains his WP blog, tho it is still discoverable via his gravatar and the WP blog will direct to his Blogger blog. So how the heck did he find me?

  2. Thanks, in all my tweaking I must have somehow deleted the WP follow widget. I’ve put it back now (under the FBM widget), but hopefully this won’t result in a bunch of annoyances to delete. A few months ago I clicked the “don’t index” button, but that hasn’t made any diff. My views are down a lot, but that could be the result of deleting 2500 followers, some of whom may have clicked on me randomly. Don’t care, as I’m getting the same number of likes & comments, which is a truer measure of engagement…

    1. That seems like a good place to put it. It’ll be interesting to see if that makes any difference in the accumulation of spammy followers. I think a lot of the spammy accumulation happens within the WP Reader, so I’m guessing it won’t make a difference.

      I might be wrong about this, but I think noindex blogs still show up under the tags used in posts if people are following those tags. I’m guessing tags might be a more common way for spammers to find new people than searching.

  3. Thanks for the tips. I had to check and fix my gravatar link even though my old domain still forwards to my new one. Looks better to update it.
    I didn’t know all that about the business plan. I thought it was supposed to have more features not less. I have premium but have thought about upgrading at some point.

    1. There are a few quirky little things that you lose if you switch to the business plan. I think that there are some fundamental differences in the nuts and bolts of blogs on the business plan that change how they operate. For one, there’s something that’s different about the business plan comment form that makes it much harder for bots to use, so I suddenly got waaaaaay fewer spam comments after I switched.

  4. Now that you mention it, I can’t find where Gravatar is via my dashboard, but I will look to see if I can find it another way.

    1. Arse about face but If I search Gravatar on Google, I can access it and everything is still up to date which is one less headache I have to deal with ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Indeed. I hadn’t updated it since I was 24 and I’m 27 in a few weeks so I’ve changed the age to 27 so I don’t need to update it again until I’m 28 ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I found a plugin called Social Media Follow Buttons Bar that has a button leading to the WordPress Reader from my site, but I never thought of putting an Html button in. That would make it even easier to follow. I just stuck it on my site, thanks!

  6. I try to make it kinda hard to find my blog. I’ve wanted less readers the more I’ve gone along. Very often, people don’t understand what I’m writing, or they respond according to preconceived assumptions of theirs, not according to what I’m actually saying. This makes me want to consciously limit my readership.

    Also I’m trying to produce a musical and I’d rather they see most easily the stuff that pertains to that endeavor, and less easily anything else. Someone has been helping me with the web site and they put a tag cloud on the front page (instead of lists of blog posts & categories). I kinda like that better, but I sort of think it draws attention to the wrong thing.

    In short, I would like to make it IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to find my blog who doesn’t already know how to get there. Not sure I can succeed with that, however.

    1. I’m guessing that readers are more likely to have found you via the WordPress Reader than via your actual website. No matter how hard you try to hide blog posts on the site itself, if people find your site via the Reader, they find your posts. You could set your site not to be indexed by search engines, which would make it harder to find you in the Reader, but I’m guessing you want search engines to be able to find your site for the purpose of the musical.

      1. Well as long as it’s not so evident on the front page as to distract people from the musical, I don’t mind it. It’s just that I don’t really do much to attract followers because I’m not really interested in doing so.

      2. Oh actually I guess the search engine thing is a factor, I hadn’t really been thinking about it. I am thinking that people click on my signature when I send out submissions, inquiries etc. and so I want them to find stuff about the musical very readily if they do.

  7. I’m really not sure how easily one could follow my blog. There was a huge (in my mind anyway) mess earlier in the Fall when WP and I came to virtual blows over that damned domain business. They erased my blog content (the one before the one I’m using currently) and it took a whole lot of work to get things back to running. I still hear from folks who find my old blog and there’s nothing there. I’ll have to do that Gravatar check too because that was acting all wonky after the big bust up. I have deliberately made my blog ‘unsearchable’ to discourage bots and that kind of e-garbage. But people still seem to find me. Interesting question! Thanks Ashley!

    1. Your Gravatar is now connected to your current blog, but I do remember noticing in the past that it wasn’t.

      I think the reason that making your blog unsearchable doesn’t accomplish much is that you run the Share Your World prompt. I’ve searched for your blog in the Reader before, and while the blog itself doesn’t show up in search results, everyone’s SYW posts do. With the change in domain name, a lot of those SYW posts would link to the old domain that’s no longer active.

      Did WordPress ever explain what happened to your blog?

  8. Thanks for the post, Iโ€™ll have to make sure I have all these up to date ๐Ÿ™ƒ
    Also now that you mention it, there were quite a few people who followed me but who I couldnโ€™t view their blogs, which now I suppose is a shame

  9. Thanks for this! Like Rebellious, I couldn’t view a lot of followers and likers blogs from their gravatars in the notifications and now I know why.

    I am not sure that my Gravatar works, and I can’t figure out how to put in a follow button, but the follow doo-dah seems to be in place (yay!). One in three probably isn’t enough to make following me easy, though.

  10. I’ll check it out when I grab my tablet or pc soon. ๐Ÿ˜Š I think I have it all covered but now I’m doubting.
    Although I get the occasional follow, many are just there to get my attention to their sites, often filled with ads and all. Not really interested in those. But if a user looks legit, I’ll click to their site (if linked) and check if it’s something I’d be interested in to follow as well.
    I still have a free site, so the basic options. ๐Ÿ˜Š But they do seem to work as I do get followers. Guess that would not happen that much if it were too hard to do/find? ๐Ÿค”

  11. Very useful post Ashley.
    Thank you.
    Itโ€™s frustrating when we get a pop up that ..the blog doesnโ€™t exist.
    Newbies may not beware that their blogs canโ€™t be reached.
    I am not sure how some people find my blog.

  12. Excellent post Ashley concerning digital visibility ๐Ÿ™‚

    I found myself checking and ticking as l read. It is somewhat frustrating to not be able to have the follow button. I have it on the ‘business blog’ which isn’t yet business plan, but on the business plan here, not available.

    1. Looking at some posts in the WordPress support forum, it looks like it used to display on business plan blogs but you could hide it using custom CSS. I haven’t come across anything that says when/why they changed that.

      1. I wonder if they know they have, or maybe some bright spark in design figured that for business oriented blogs it wasn’t a feature that was all important? Or maybe because with Business plans the blog also loses the ability to have a reblog button that has something to do with it as in you lose one function you lose several. Like being able to disable likes on your actual blog but you can’t disable it in the Reader.

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