Users of the free ‘hosted’ WordPress.com service may have noticed some changes to their website today.

The blogging service has added a small button to the bottom of each blog which is designed to help increase page views.WP1 WordPress.com aims to drive pageviews, adds a follow button to all hosted blogs

The announcement was made on the official WordPress.com blog earlier today by Scott Berkun, saying:

“After weeks of experimentation with different designs, locations and names, we’ve determined the addition of a small, cute, little button at the bottom of your blog will dramatically help pageviews and retention”.

So basically, from today, whenever someone visits a WordPress.com site when they’re NOT logged in, they’ll see that small ‘Follow’ button in the bottom right corner. When they click on the button, it slides open, and it lets them input their email address so they can subscribe to new posts:

WP2 WordPress.com aims to drive pageviews, adds a follow button to all hosted blogs

Users that ARE logged in to WordPress.com already have a ‘Follow’ button integrated into their admin bar at the top.

So – why is this new feature called a ‘Follow’ button and not a ‘Subscribe’ button? Berkun explains:

“Many designers here at WordPress.com debated this, including me. Although the functionality is similar to the Email subscription widget, after testing various prototypes, we learned more people clicked on the button and signed up if it were called Follow rather than Subscribe. We also know subscribe suggests to some its something you pay for, whereas follow has no such connotation”.

And if you don’t like it, you can also turn it off by visiting your dashboard and clicking on your settings.