noSubscribeRSS and Email subscriptions are great ways to improve the traffic and brand recognition of your web site or blog.  However, few site owners know of a simple UI tweak that can make a HUGE difference in your subscription rates.

Simply change “Subscribe” to “Get Updates

Wordplay

So, Why should this one small change make a difference?

First, we need to look at the word “Subscribe” and how it traditionally relates to media.

When you use the word “subscribe” in terms of media consumption, most people will associate it with yearly paid subscriptions to a magazine or a newspaper. Even when coupled with the word “free”, people still are hesitant because they still associate it with a required commitment.

In addition, “Subscribe” doesn’t really describe the action being taken.  People are not getting the full content delivered to them via RSS or Emails… they’re simply getting a notification that new content is on the site.

So, by simply changing the wording to something a little less threatening and a little more descriptive, like “Get Updates”, you’re able to break down the barriers that may be holding some of your visitors back.

A/B Testing

Of course, the phrase “Get Updates” may not work in every situation.  This is why it’s important to track your traffic and subscription rates and find the best wording combo to use for your site.

Tracking is easily done through services like Google’s Feedburner or other Free RSS analytic and management services.

More advanced users can also track it through their analytics services, by tracking clicks on your subscription links over a period of time.

Improvements and changes can vary widely from site-to-site, so unfortunately, I can’t provide any estimates as to what your improvements will be.  However, the effort this change takes is minimal and the benefits can be substantial.

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