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34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog

Thanks to everyone who has added their thoughts on why they unsubscribe from a blog’s RSS feed. There have been 109 comments left on that post so far and some interesting recurring themes have emerged.

I’ve attempted to categorize them below. Obviously with 103 opinions (and most people giving multiple reasons all in their own words) I’ve had to make some judgement calls in classifying comments left. Some of the categories below have overlap but I think you’ll get a pretty good picture of what motivates people to unsubscribe from RSS feeds.

34 Reasons Why People Unsubscribe from RSS feeds:

  • Too many posts (the post levels are too overwhelming) – 37
  • Infrequent Posting (or the blog is effectively dead) – 29
  • Partial Excerpts Feeds – 25
  • Blog Changes Focus (too much off topic posting) – 23
  • Too many posts that I see elsewhere (Redundant, Repeated or Recycled News) – 19
  • Uninteresting Content – 16
  • Irrelevant Content – 13
  • The Blogger’s Ego – Too much self promotion – 11
  • Low Quality Content – 11
  • Too many posts that are too long – 10
  • Negative blogging – 7
  • Feed Errors – Especially when a Feed Reloads the latest 10-20 posts every time – 7
  • Offensive Content/Personal attacks/Discrimination – 6
  • ‘infomercials’ (too much selling) – 6
  • Blog Titles that Don’t Tell what the post is about – 5
  • No or Poor Formatting in posts – 5
  • My own interests as a reader change – 5
  • No Longer Useful or Valuable – 4
  • Too many links in the text and not enough content – 4
  • Advertising – 3
  • Inconsistent writing (style and focus) – 2
  • Too Many Grammatical Errors – 2
  • Found other feeds that are better – 2
  • Too Narrow a focus – 1
  • Too much repetition in topic – 1
  • Pushiness of Blogger – 1
  • Blogger Doesn’t Respond to Comments – 1
  • No Images in the feed – 1
  • Lack of Confidence or Opinion – 1
  • Lack of a sense of who the blogger is – 1
  • Too much clutter/extras at the end of posts – 1
  • Talking Down to Readers – 1
  • Too many quotes – 1
  • Change of Primary blogger – 1

A few brief comments (I wouldn’t want to have a long post now….):

The Frequency of Posting is obviously a big factor with 35% of respondents saying that too many posts was reason for unsubscribing and 28% saying that infrequent posts was reason to delete a feed from their reader. Interestingly, the ‘infrequent posting’ vote was perhaps a little less than last time I asked a group of bloggers this question. I suspect that with advancements in Feed Readers that inactive feeds don’t bother as many people as they did previously (ie Google Reader has a mode where you simply don’t see a feed unless it’s updated).

The Partial Feeds Vote got off to a slow start but gained momentum as the comment thread grew. 24% of respondents said they unsubscribe from feeds that are partial or just title feeds.

Off Topic Posting and blogs changing direction/focus is an obvious annoyance to many (this one surprised me slightly) with 22% of people giving it as a reason.

Content – I found it interesting that the quality, relevance and nature of content came down the list. Things like the form and frequency of the feed dominated the discussion while the actual content itself came in as secondary importance. Perhaps this was skewed slightly by the way I asked the question and by the first responses (I suspect that some people were swayed by the issues that others already raised).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. great tips, many of those reasons are why I cancel my subscription from a blog

  2. Another great list. I have found my blog subscriptions (Feedburner) decrease dramatically if I fail to post anything new for over a week.

  3. James says:

    I think info that blogs give is the main reason why people stay subscribed so as long as you do this then you should have any problems, however all the reasons given here are ture.

  4. I don’t think I would unsubscribe for too many posts – I just wouldn’t read them all. I think 2-3 posts per day on a blog like this is plenty. On a tech blog though, like Gizmodo, it’s fine to have 10+.

  5. do enjoy reading a post that may be lengthy but contains great energy and useful content. However, if I receive 3 such posts in a day that are 600-800 words long, it can be

  6. Sagem says:

    But other factors could be an error with the feed software, a url not loading or just boredom

  7. abdul says:

    I used to check my mail for every 2 hours…
    I feel very happy if my mail box glows.. :D why because my g.f used to send very beautiful mails..

    Later on i am getting many mails from different websties… like ” new comment posted” etc etc.. it creates irritation for me to check those mails..
    I lost my happiness even my mail box glows… :(

    due to this reason i unsubscribed all ………..

    Now i can see only mails from my g.f :) and mails few mails from official blogs like labnol, seomoz and problogger….

  8. horoskop says:

    great tips, many of those reasons are why I cancel my subscription from a blog

  9. Hairstyles says:

    Those are all so true! that is why I always make sure that I answer all comments and only post when I think I have a post that is of substance.

  10. I think info that blogs give is the main reason why people stay subscribed so as long as you do this then you should have any problems, however all the reasons given here are ture.Thanks.

  11. Thanks for the useful list, especially for those of us just starting out :-)

  12. I lost readers because I changed my domain name ;) though it’s been a few days and all. I guess I might go off topic here and there though. Haven’t really found my niche yet.

  13. I hope I can solve the problem with my blog because no matter what I do or how much traffic I get my subscriber count never goes up than 10, I don’t know what to do.

    Mohammad Afaq
    http://afaqtrafficblog.blogspot.com

  14. John says:

    That is the heart of the matter. People don’t understand how competitive it is out there. It is VERY hard to get readers. I mean real readers. This is WAY harder than people let on.

  15. i think website content as well as the theme also makes a difference in it.

  16. Kavey says:

    I’m a relatively new blogger (less than 2 months) but have been reading (and subscribing) to many blogs in my niche for some years.

    I chose to offer only a partial excerpt via my RSS feed because my niche area (food blogging) is, so I’ve read many times, particularly prone to blog scraping, as the content, especially if it’s recipes or restaurant reviews, is the kind of content regular sought after via search engines.

    It seems that partial excerpts are off-putting to subscribers (though I was hoping many subscribers use their RSS readers like I do, as a way of finding out about latest posts rather than the only means of reading the new content).

    Any thoughts on this dilemma?

    Thanks
    Kavey

  17. yucel says:

    We blogger-types tend to be have sometimes unrealistic and higher than normal standards when it comes to what we want. (Full vs. Partial feeds is a religious issue with us, and that’s kinda amusing and sad. It’s like serious throwdown time when that conversation starts. Doesn’t that strike anyone as odd, regardless of position on this issue?)

  18. “We blogger-types tend to be have sometimes unrealistic and higher than normal standards when it comes to what we want.” Yes,You have right about this.In other way,many of those reasons are why I cancel my subscription from a blog.

  19. fazreen says:

    At my early blogging time I always subscribe to the newsletter but then I become overload with information. Hence I’m out of focus. I don’t know what actually I want to do. Then, I plan well. I unsubscribe newsletter that do not relate to my niche. I just focus on my niche.

Trackbacks

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  5. MR Now With Sexier Donation Buttons, Full RSS Feeds…

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  6. [...] From what little personal experience I have with using an RSS reader (I only used one for about a month then went back to good ol’ bookmarks) one of the easiest ways to get me to unsubscribe was to fill up my window with posts from the same blog. I’m backed up by some of the reader’s of Problogger. Darren asked his readers “What makes you unsubscribe from an RSS feed?” and a whopping 37 (the most responses) said too many posts. Do you need anymore proof than that? [...]

  7. [...] Darren at ProBlogger leveraged his 20,000 RSS readers and polled them to find out why people unsubscribe from blog RSS feeds. They came up with a list of 34 reasons. The top three reasons people unsubscribe from RSS feeds is because there are too many posts, there are too few posts or because the blog uses partial feeds. Partial feeds are when the RSS feed only shows a snippet of post and you have to click through to the blog to read the entire thing. [...]

  8. [...] Darren Rowse from ProBlogger posted a great list of 34 reasons why people unsubscribe from your blog. Darren asked his readers their thoughts on why they unsubscribe from blogs, over 109 people commented and Darren classified all the responses and posted the data. [...]

  9. [...] March 20th, 2007 My biggest offense is infrequent posting. For this I have a remedy. Post more frequently.  34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog [...]

  10. [...] Segundo Darren Rowse, um dos motivos de se perder leitores é o excesso de publicações, a falta de atualizações, também é citada, mas como o foco deste artigo é para quem quer obter retorno financeiro com o blog, isto está fora de cogitação. [...]

  11. [...] du blog ProBlogger, a mené il’y a quelques temps un petit sondage sur la question “Pourquoi les lecteurs se désinscrivent de votre blog?”. Il a recueilli une centaine d’opinions qui sont résumées dans le graphiqueci-dessous : var ampie_path = “/data/script/ampie_why_unsubscribe_rss/” var ampie_settingsFile = “/data/script/ampie_why_unsubscribe_rss/ampie_settings.txt”; var ampie_dataFile = “/data/script/ampie_why_unsubscribe_rss/ampie_data.txt”; var ampie_flashWidth = “460″; var ampie_flashHeight = “370″; var ampie_backgroundColor = “#FFFFFF”; [...]

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  14. [...] Post more than once daily – I’ve noticed that a lot of readers visit various times throughout the day. To keep them entertained, put up 2-3 posts through the length of the day (space them out evenly). Even if you don’t have much to say, you can always put up a link of a funny video you saw or write a summary of a good article you read or talk about a strange product you stumbled upon. But don’t go overboard… most people unsubscribe from RSS feeds because of too many posts. [...]

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  37. [...] knowing that you’re going to have X amount of posts per week, rather than sporadic posting. Research shows that inconsistent posting can lose RSS subscribers. (Among other [...]