Home WordPress Follows the Cool Kids with Web and Android Updates

WordPress Follows the Cool Kids with Web and Android Updates

WordPress has made a pair of announcements today focusing on reading rather than writing. Free WordPress.com sites now have a “small, cute, little” follow button in the bottom right corner for readers who are not logged into WordPress. This allows non-WordPress users to follow the blog by email. (Yes, disgruntled blogger, you can turn it off.)

In another announcement for Android users, WordPress for Android 1.5 is now available, and its major new feature is a blog reader for the WordPress blogs you follow. You can even follow non-WordPress blogs using RSS.

WordPress users have been able to follow each other from the toolbar for a while, and they will still see ‘Follow’ in the top nav bar instead. Non-users have been able to sign up with WP’s email subscription widget – and there’s always RSS, of course – but WordPress has found that these options are not obvious enough. The new follow button provides an option that users now expect, and WordPress team lead Scott Berkun believes it will “dramatically help pageviews and retention.”

WordPress is a little late to the following party. Though the platform is doing great for publishers and developers, Tumblr, which is built on a following model, is reeling in much more traffic. The new Posterous refresh is also centered around this model, and its new iPhone app emphasizes following and reading the same way today’s WordPress for Android update does. Even Facebook has given in to the following model. Don’t say “I told you so,” Twitter.

Other recent WordPress updates focus on increasing reader engagement as well. The comments panel has been improved to keep track of the regulars, and easy, secure access to the WordPress API has enabled new third-party applications that go beyond simple plug-ins.

How do you like to follow your favorite publishers? RSS? Twitter? Or inside your own platform like Tumblr, Posterous or WordPress? Let us know in the comments.

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