Guest

Are Blog Subscribers the Only Success Metric?

By: Guest | October 4, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is by Jayme Soulati 

If your blog was ranked (how does that even happen?) and suddenly had a ton of subscribers, would that change your outlook on blogging?

Would you love every minute of it and revel in your success?

Or would it suck the joy out of it for you?

Let’s back up…when you launched your blog, was it your goal to earn 500 or 1,000 subscribers in 12 months?

Didn’t think so.

But just like any popularity contest, numbers – votes – matter, right?

And eventually, you start feeling a little “less than” when looking at your stats.

What’s easy to forget, however, is the blogs that launched at zero and are now incredibly successful with a gazillion subscribers (usually) took a long and, sometimes, very calculated road to get there.

Big Numbers are Hard Work

Some of what transpired on that roadway to earn a katrillion subscribers may have included these mile markers:

  • Deploying the latest bells, whistles, widgets, and plugins to spiff up the house and make it attractive and enticing.
  • Mastering analytics, either with Google or Clicky (or a combination of both), to know who’s coming to visit, where they’re landing, how long they’re sticking around, and what content is being perused.
  • Writing with keyword SEO juice and link love as second nature.
  • Entering contests to become the biggest this and the best that.
  • Applying for ranking with the Ad Age Power 150 to get that awesome badge in the sidebar of your blog.
  • Writing consistently about topics that are specialized to a niche audience.
  • Cultivating community with authentic engagement every day.
  • Migrating from freebie to Feedblitz (or other RSS publishing options).

Live to Write or Write to Live?

Now think again about the reason you launched your blog…was it to:

  • Walk the talk and understand what all the hoopla is about?
  • Write because you have something to say?
  • Become a thought leader on a topic or profession?
  • Share your passion about a hobby or cause-related issue?
  • Create and build a fabulous community that supports you?
Fast forward to today – is your blog on track with your original goals? Are you happy and content, no matter the number of followers you have? Or, are you just going through the motions without rhyme or reason, concerned because you haven’t hit the big time?

The bigger question to ask yourself is this: Do you really care whether you have a boatload of subscribers?

More Subscribers Means More Accountability

Being a blogging superstar isn’t a walk in the park. When a blogger hits the big time and earns a ton of subscribers or has a large community commenting, said blogger has to be there to reply, engage, comment, and return the favor.

A blog with oodles of subscribers also has to become more accountable, and that takes oodles of time and money.

Here’s why:

  • You need to be consistent in publishing.
  • The posts must have authoritative content that leads and bleeds (that means it’s provocative).
  • You must provide thought-provoking, influence-building, genuine, original, and authoritative material.
  • You should respond to every single person who stops in to say anything.
  • And install all the new bells, whistles, plugins, and design requirements to keep everything fresh.
  • You’ll most likely invest in an IT firm, team, or professional who can help with the backend.
  • And you need to master analytics, big data, and the next big gizmo, to lead the community to it.

It’s also important to make the distinction that a high number of subscribers does not a community make. Not every subscriber will engage and leave comments, for example. And you might have a rich, lively, and loyal group who does just that.

Consider also that if each person who subscribed to your blog (if you had 1,000) commented on each blog post, you’d probably crash the server!

So, rather than getting caught up in subscriber-numbers as a metric of “success,” look back at the lists above, rediscover why you started writing in the first place, and be true to your school.

If it’s all about the numbers, and you have the time to invest, then definitely go for it.

But if you’re blogging mainly for the love of craft, your consistency and passion will enable real, organic growth, with more subscribers rolling in on a daily basis.

Jayme Soulati blogs at Soulati-‘TUDE! and is everywhere on the Interwebz, starting with @Soulati.

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