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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. […] recent surveys, most notably the one conducted by Darren Rowse of Problogger.net, the main reason for unsubscribing from a blog’s feed were “too many” […]

  2. A good list but it would take a lot of time to tick all those boxes! I suppose the reward is worth it!

  3. […] need to be authentic, though; authentically yours (reason #5 why people unsubscribe, according to a survey at Problogger? “Too many posts that I see elsewhere (Redundant, Repeated or Recycled News)”). […]

  4. […] as drop-off rates indicate the interest level of your readers. If you are a blogger, keep in mind Darren Rowse’s readership poll that found the top two reasons why people unsubscribe from a blog are 1. too frequent posting and […]

  5. […] 34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog […]

  6. Great job in here, very useful articles. Thank you

    Mike

  7. […] 34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter […]

  8. Well you just got another person subscribing to yours ;)
    Great post and it looks like you’ve got a load of other great content on the site as well.

  9. […] 34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog, Darren Rowse discovered some interesting information when he asked his readers why they […]

  10. […] had experienced the same thing. Sure enough, over at Problogger, I found a good post highlighting 34 reasons why readers unsubscribe from your blog. Guess what the number one reason […]

  11. What are all the strange comments with the […] at the beginning and the end of the comments? I keep deleting them from my blog thinking that someones just trying to spam me up. But I’ve just seen them here en mass and I guess I’m doing something daft and dont know why

  12. 210 comments, wow! what a post

  13. Mercurythread – they are called trackbacks. Basically they mean someone’s written a post that links to this post. Click the link of the comment and you’ll see the post.

    SEO Scotland – that makes 212…. or 213 now ;-)

  14. I am new in blogging and this list surely helps me a lot.
    Thank you.

  15. Sweet post. Had never thought that sending out too much information could be dangerous. Am now developing a schedule and trying to put all my ideas into an order – rather than putting things live this may give me a bit more time to get ideas formulated and posts developed in advance. And here was me thinking that blogging was ‘sposed to be easy :) Cheers

  16. I think the biggest killer for me is when the posts are partial excerpts in the feed. Why would I get the feed then, when I can go to the site to read the entire post? I know that’s the whole purpose of partial feeds, but it still is not good for feed readers.

  17. irrelevant content can make me unsubscribe, but the most part, the real reason is that I’ve found out other website provide me with better content. It is just too much to read if I never subscribe the other blog.

  18. From your post I know why there are few subscribers to my blog. I often write Irrelevant content and never see my blog from readers’ standing.

  19. I am new blogger and this list surely helps me a lot.

  20. yea too many post and not intresting content is the reason

  21. I think the #1 reason is too many ads but it goes to #14
    Anyway, nice post.

  22. I’m going to follow these hints. Thank you.

  23. […] are many reasons why readers unsubscribe, but remembering that external human factors are involved can help you rationalize fluctuating […]

  24. This post seems to have gone international! My thoughts on the list: it really depends on the length and engagement of the posts. If you are sending out 5 posts each day that are around 100-200 words long but contain content that are useful, then it is not a big pain for subscribers to keep reading your posts.

    I 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 frustrating trying to keep up with the blog and I generally start losing interest, especially if the topics do not vary much from each other.

  25. Ah so manyyyy comments!

    I wrote an article where you were mentioned. Please take a look:

    http://destogate.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/blogs-why-readers-unsubscribe/

    Thank you.

  26. I had no idea that too many posts per day would make readers unsubscribe. I of course always thought that the more posts, the better. But I guess it makes sense, since people want quality, not quantity.

  27. […] has previously listed 34 reasons why readers unsubscribe from your blog. In fact, each of these reasons causes readers to stop reading your posts, which then causes them […]

  28. michigan says: 12/16/2007 at 6:53 am

    seems like too many could be easily fixed..put aside extra post that are not date sensitive and use them on rainy or sick days.

  29. The Frequency of Posting is a big factor for me, definitely. But grammatical mistakes talk a lot of about the author.
    (I am sorry, my English is not so good. I am from eastern Europe.)

  30. […] 34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog […]

  31. Very informative. Am looking to develop my blog further and appreciate your site tips very much. Thanks.
    http://www.blackwomanthinks.blogspot.com
    Zee.

  32. […] There is one major feature that sets Alertle appart from other RSS readers – it does not tell you if a post is read or not. Yeah, first you will think its a missing feature – but its not. I have used a lot of feed readers – once you subscribe to a couple of high volume feed – like say, BoingBoing or Slashdot or something, you can say goodbye to your sanity. It creates so many new items that the only way of staying away the mess is to click on the ‘Mark all as read’ button once every four seconds. You know what I mean – I am sure you have unsubscribed from many feeds for this reason. […]

  33. very good list.

  34. Very Goooood. I will use these tips on my blog.

  35. I 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 frustrating trying to keep up with the blog and I generally start losing interest, especially if the topics do not vary much from each other.

  36. I also find it interesting that “too many posts” made the number one spot. Of course, the results of this poll are now over a year old so things may have changed. However, I wonder if, beyond the reasons listed like a heavily-updated blog can be too much of an effort to read, perhaps there’s also a touch of the big green monster about it for some people, particularly if it’s content from somebody you feel is a competitor. You can ‘punish’ them by unsubscribing. ;)

    As somebody said above, TechCrunch does 4-6 updates per day (easily, sometimes more) and usually has a fair bit to read, but one important thing to remember here is they have multiple authors. Many authors, in fact. Whereas, aside from guest posts, most ‘normal’ blogs have just the one main contributor, and I think one decent post per day is about right.

    Certainly if you go three days or more without an update I start to wonder if I’m wasting my time, unless what you have to say is considerable.

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

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

  39. […] 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 […]

  40. 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.

  41. 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+.

  42. 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

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

  44. abdul says: 10/15/2008 at 7:33 pm

    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….

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

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

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

  49. 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.

  50. 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