Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What Are Blog Subscribers/Followers?

Subscribers/followers are one those those things that are easy to fixate on.  I think because it's a tangible, obvious thing to notice for both the blog author and the reader.  But sheer number may not necessarily be an indication of a healthy blog.

Let's first discuss what a subscriber/follower is.  All blogs have the option of becoming a subscriber.  This means that the reader has registered with the blog so the blog can send posts and updates to the reader.  Where the blog sends the posts is up to what options you provide your reader.

Blogger (run by Google) has an option to become what they call a follower.  This means that the subscriber has blog updates sent to a blog listing Google site called Google Reader.  On most blog hosts, people can subscribe to your RSS feed.  The RSS feed is just the internet coding for your blog.  So if they subscribe to an RSS feed, the blog sends your posts to whatever RSS reader they have chosen to use.  The final method of delivery is subscribing by email.  The blog sends posts directly to a person's inbox.

Usually blog hosts provide one method of default subscription and the blog author has to add the others if they want to give their readers options.  I recommend giving readers as many options as possible.  So long as each option is clearly labeled, you don't want to miss out on a potential subscriber.  Subscribers mean repeat customers.

This leads us to the number of subscribers.  A healthy blog has a large number of active subscribers.  This means that it really doesn't matter if a blog has 1,000 people subscribed to it.  If none of the subscribers bother to read the posts or comment, the blog might as well have no subscribers.  So yes it's fine to watch how many followers you have.  But they need to be followers that are actually interacting with your blog.

The lesson here: engage your subscribers.

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