Bloggers everywhere let out a deep sigh (and perhaps shed a few tears) when Google made its announcement that it was discontinuing GFC widget service on all non-Blogger sites as of March 1, 2012. Google’s advice is to instead migrate your community to a (surprise, surprise) Google+ page.
Within the blogging community, GFC widgets are primarily – if not completely – used as a subscription method. Blogger users can view new posts from sites they have followed via a GFC widget, from within their Blogger dashboard. So the elimination of this function means that all bloggers – Blogger platform users or otherwise – will see either a marked decrease in new posts in their dashboard reader and a loss of several new post updates, or a marked decrease in follower number. Adding to that are those bloggers whose large GFC follower number has aided them in PR pursuits. Losing several hundred or even several thousand followers overnight may have a detrimental effect on securing future campaigns.
There is a way to take advantage of your current Google FriendConnect widget to help transfer your GFC followers to an RSS or email subscription option: Send your Google FriendConnect followers a newsletter directing them towards an alternate subscription option.
How to Send your GFC Followers a Newsletter
1. Sign in to your Google FriendConnect account, either through the widget on your blog or by visiting: http://www.google.com/friendconnect/.
2.On the FriendConnect home page, you’ll see a menu of features that are part of using Google FriendConnect on your website or blog. These features are also the “community features” Google is referring to when it recommends encouraging your community to migrate to a Google+ page.
3. Choose Newsletters from the list. You’ll be taken to a screen that allows you to title your newsletter, personalize the Sender name and compose the content of your message. One suggestion would be to include links to your RSS and email subscriptions to make it easy for people to click through the link and subscribe a new way.
4. Once your newsletter is complete, you can choose to send it to all of your subscribers, preview it and then send.
Sending your Google FriendConnect subscribers a newsletter encouraging them to subscribe in another way is just one idea to ease the blow of losing your GFC widget following.
What are your thoughts on Google FriendConnect widgets disappearing? Do you think Google’s move is a sign that GFC widgets are doomed entirely?