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suggestion: community

  1. I think there's an opportunity for wordpress.com to become more of a community by introducing the "follow Friends / update box" model or something similar. People could communicate with each other, the update box could integrate with twitter and other services and so on. It would be cool if the system could suggest as people to follow those who use the same theme I do. We already share that much in common. I think it would be a good thing on the whole. p.s. I looked through the Idea forum a bit and saw there have been some posts kindof around this topic so if there has been a definitive negative answer given I apologize -- I just must have missed it.

    The blog I need help with is thecloudandme.com.

  2. SIGH ... yes there have been members asking for a wordpress.com followers widget in other threads http://tinyurl.com/34phnfl

    However, if such a followers widget is introduced here at wordpress.com then I will not use it.Widgets generally accomplish the following things:
    1. improve the functionality of a site by providing reader accessibility to content that is not located on the front page;

    2. redirect readers to high quality sources of relevant information found in authoritative blogs in the same niche.

    3. provide a link to the widget provider.

    I do not believe follower's widgets have any value for my blogs. They increase page loading time as all the avatars have to load. They leak link juice. IMO they tend to destroy blog design. They distract reader attention away from the content in blog posts on the front page and direct it to sidebars. To me they are among the many useless forms of "tat" that trendy bloggers admire.

    That being said, if you wish to make your "idea" known to Staff here's the link http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

  3. I'm sorry I left an italics tag open above.

  4. Thank you for your comments and the link. I will follow up on that.

  5. The tinyurl link I mean.

  6. You're welcome Paul and best wishes. :)

  7. I don't see why "leaking link juice" is a bad thing if it gets more blogs viewed. Isn't that what blogging is about? People seeing and discovering other people's blogs? I think that the design of a lot of blogs are distracting.. That's why I like the idea of following the people you find interesting and reading their posts with the Blog Surfer. The Blog Surfer is all about the posts and the content, not the flashy colours and graphics of the layout.

    I have no idea how long the blog surfer feature has been in beta (I just recently joined worpress), but I think it should be made a priority. As it stands right now, a person's wordpress is closed. There's no easy way in, or easy way out, and imo that's not healthy for blogs. Who wants to be writing these things if nobody views them? Without it the only way to follow a blog is..

    a) suscribe to the rss feed, which lets face it, the average computer user does not know how to do, or
    b) bookmark it, which is pretty ridiculous if you're interested in a lot of blogs.

    Next step: A followers widget. A widget will encourage people to follow eachother and in turn increase the views and comments all blogs in general.

    Anyways, I totally agree that community should be stressed.
    /twocents =)

  8. Another note:

    I can see why people like you (timethief) don't really need something like a follower widget as your site is already very popular and healthy (judging by the comments). But there are TONS of bloggers that post everyday and don't get any views or comments that could really use it to get in touch with people with similar interests and maybe make some new friends =)

  9. Where did you get the idea that followers widgets increase traffic on your blog? They don't.

    It is just a way for bloggers to get a link to their blog onto your blog. THAT is why they leak link juice. To gain ranking in the search engines you need more incoming links than you have outgoing. Each follower is an outgoing link (especially since google basically ignores rel=nofollow attributes on links when it comes to determining page rank). If you have 100 followers, and only 10 incoming links, you are down 90 as far as the search engines are concerned.

    That is why my "links" have been moved to a separate page on my site so that they do not take link juice away from my main blog pages through a links widget.

  10. Having followers on display encourages more following does it not? More following should lead to more of you content being viewed if the blog surfer is prioritized, imo.

    Also, can't the people who are concerned about their googlerank simply not add the widget to their blog?

    Honest questions.

  11. Most people have NO IDEA that a widget like that could hurt their google standings. Try asking some people on Blogger or Tumblr and see what they say.

  12. When it comes to widgets less is indeed more because every followers widget contains a backlink (outbound Google juice) to the source of the widget ie. they promote and lead traffic to the site serving the widget;

    1. Every followers widget contains multiple links ie. outbound Google juice to sites beyond your blog;

    2. In blogs that have sidebars on every page such widgets "leak" Google juice as the sidebar loads every time any page on your blog loads;

    3. Followers widgets can spoil the blog design and give the blog an amateurish appearance;

    4. Followers widgets can also compromise blog speed (page loading time), in short viewers have to wait for widgets to load before they can interact with your blog. This may not seem important to bloggers on high speed broadband service but most people surfing the web today are on dial-up service;

    5. Followers widgets distract readers' minds and eyes from reading the content in your blog posts on your front page of your blog.

    6. Followers widgets distract readers' minds and eyes away from navigational widgets in sidebars which contain links to the deeper content in your blog.

    If such a followers widget is introduced here at wordpress.com and given the recent changes I will not be surprised when this does happen, then I will not use it. This is because I do not add widget to my blog unless they:

    1. improve the functionality of my site by providing reader accessibility to deeper content that is not located on the front page of my blog;

    2. redirect readers to high quality sources of relevant information found in authoritative blogs in the same niche (note that this is what Links widgets do).

  13. What about links to your previous posts on your sidebar does that cause the same problem with Google ranking? Just wondering, it has led to visitors seeing more of my posts therefore staying on my blog longer. Thank you all for your input.

  14. What about links to your previous posts on your sidebar does that cause the same problem with Google ranking?

    No. Internal links to content in your own blog are not a problem.

  15. The core idea of building some sense of virtual community among WordPress bloggers is not a bad idea.

    It's just useful not to get too blinkered/over-focused on the idea of followers widget.

    While blogger ego-building is enhanced by a concentric, ever-widening circles of blog followers, it doesn't in the long run, help a serious blogger or a blogmaster who must demonstrate Return on Investment (ROI) or business/marketing investment in giving hard, useful and verifiable data to their parent organizations who invest staff time and resources on blog technology.

    Perhaps better to think how the present blog subscription tool in WordPress software can be improved, instead of a widget that will generate misleading google rank/hits and as raincoaster, timethief and sacredpath mention, weaken a blog's google rank long-term.

    As for the blog content performance issue, we do need to be mindful of this issue since not every blog reader in the world has equal Internet broadband access as we might have at our computer. I was reminded this when I saw my 2 blogs when I checked via different hotel computers plus our laptop across several European cities in the past 4 weeks.

    For bloggers who aim for content excellence, blog technical robust performance and an interested core reader audience: think not of yourself, think of your interested reader who shares the same interest as you and wants to communicate with you --either via comments or via email. Who cares about the outer rings of followers who only have passing pedestrian interest in your blog? They will not remember me nor any of my blog content.

  16. Well said! :)

  17. Good post! I completely agree that IF there is a widget, perfomance has to be taken into account (perhaps options for total # of followers only, 3-4 random outgoing links for followers only, as well as completely absent if desired.)

    I also agree that serious bloggers probably won't use or need a tool like this, but for people who are just blogging for fun, a follower count on their page could increase their motivation to blog, because as of right now, we're kind of left in the dark in terms of knowing who's following us.

    Look at youtube for example (I'm not saying that the two sites are the same or should be the same, but that vlogging and blogging are similar practices), could you imagine if you couldn't see how many people are subscribed to your channel? Or if you couldn't even see WHO is subscribed to your channel? I have an active youtube account and when I get a new subscriber, I love checking out their channel and commenting on some of their videos, especially if they have little views.

    Maybe a good medium would be a followers panel in the dashboard, where you can see total # of followers as well as view each one of them out if you wanted to? That way, it's off your blog and won't affect your google rank, and there's no problems with added graphics.

  18. I follow other wordpress.COM blog by entering the blog URLs into my Blog Surfer.
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/blog-surfer/
    I follow certain Tags by using the Tag surfer.
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/tag-surfer/
    I also subscribe to the RSS feed on some wordpress.com blogs read them on a blog reader
    We can also subscribe for email updates > http://en.support.wordpress.com/blog-subscriptions/

  19. Yup! I'm aware of those features.

    What do you use to see the people following your own blog?

  20. The comments. Or Quantcast. I find I don't care so much about WHO is reading as HOW MANY and WHAT, but maybe that's just me.

    Do we not still have the Friend Surfer? I believe WP.com designed Friend Surfer and Blog Surfer to be dashboard-accessible specifically to avoid the link juice leak effect noted above.

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