In the world of WordPress there are users and subscribers. Users are not the kind of people that you want hanging around your blog. If you are using Jetpack, this is likely a question that you have asked yourself. It is a confusing issue and one that warrants an immediate conversation.
Do you ever get any blog updates in your inbox? I am a big fan of Michael Hyatt and every time that he releases a new blog post I get an email. This means that I am a subscriber to his blog. A blogger wants to have as many subscribers as possible on their blog. As a matter of fact, a lot of bloggers will try and entice you to sign up by pointing out how many others have done so. In Hyatt’s case he has 430,398 subscribers.
Why do you care about blog subscribers?
Generally speaking, the higher your subscriber rate, the more that your blog is worth. If you have a large reach like Michael does you can charge more for advertising and for speaking, this is why you care. If you are trying to have an impact on the world, you have to expand your reach.
A couple of years back, I had a client that had a mixup on his blog. He had great deal of users signed up on his blog. When we moved his blog for him from one host to another, his users did not make the move. He thought that the users were subscribers. Sadly, they are not the same thing but regardless and understandably, he was confused and upset. He thought that far more people were being alerted each time that he released a blog post than actually were.
About WordPress Users
Users are people who signed up for your website for a purpose such as leaving a comment. Users are not notified when you receive a blog post.
In your situation what you lost were users. You had a great deal of users signed up on your blog when we first started this process. Jetpack, does not track users which is why your number dropped when whatever happened, happened during the move.
Subscribers are people who subscribe to your blog to get an email update when you release a new blog post. These are the people who you truly care about on the blog. Jetpack did keep track of your subscribers and they are still applied to your blog. Do note that all future subscribers are directed thru the feed burner system. This is independent of the WordPress system which allows you to have a better and easier tracking system for the future signups.
What is the best thing to do?
The best thing to do is to setup a Feedburner account and ask readers to subscribe to that. This way no matter where you are hosting and no matter the platform, you RSS fed can stay the same.
This can be an extremely confusing issue but the key factor to keep in mind is that you want subscribers to your blog. If you are curious how to setup your Feedburner, you can follow the instructions on my blog post about it here: http://iteachblogging.com/how-to-set-up-a-feedburner-rss-feed-in-wordpress/.
How to keep people from becoming a random user on your WordPress blog
There is a way to keep people from registering as a user on your blog.
Step 1: Go to Settings in your WordPress Dashboard
Step2: Click on General
Step 3: Uncheck "Anyone can register"
Step 4: Scroll down and click "Save Changes"
I hope that this explanation helps you understand the difference between WordPress users and WordPress subscribers.