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34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of March 2007 RSS 0 Comments

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. 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.

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

  3. 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?


  4. 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?)

  5. “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.

  6. 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.

  7. My readers don’t unsubscribe. But instead they remain silent. Emails are being opened. But not much clicks and traffic from them.

  8. I would add: too many subscriber emails. I had a blog I was subscribed to where I got more that a few emails each day in my inbox – simply too much and the emails really didn’t have that much useful content.

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