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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.

92 comments
be3d
be3d

@kyleplacy @ginidietrich Does anyone really think that?

mclinklove
mclinklove

@kyleplacy They're easy to count. So, yes.

Soulati
Soulati

@writeontrack_l Just tried to invite you to my Globe Spotting tribe, Lorna...Are you on Triberr, please?

Anthrofashnyst
Anthrofashnyst

@jkcallas @ginidietrich I hope not. Because I'm in the toilet then...

ContentRambler
ContentRambler

@markwschaefer @ginidietrich Thanks for sharing :) I started blogging to write, but the make-money sounds make it hard to focus at times!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

In the olden days I woulda started hitting Gini's other posts for commenters. In the olden days I woulda had 100 comments, too. I'm itchin to get there, so I see I have some work to do...

Latest blog post: This Business of Breasts

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

So, there's a little discussion going on about how to monetize a blog...who has thoughts on this? Doable for any blogger? Easy or more complex than you imagined? Am thinking a blog post brewing with this community's help. Or, maybe I'm stepping on some toes, Gini?

Latest blog post: This Business of Breasts

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Great post miss, and always nice to see people talking about the value of a blog. It all depends, doesn't it?

 

Can you make money? Yes. Will you make a lot? Maybe. Do you need to make money? No. Do you need a gazillion subscribers to feel successful? No. Can it help if you have a lot of subscribers? Yes. Do comments count? Yes. No. Maybe.

 

That's the beauty - the metrics that matter are the ones YOU define matter. Everything else is someone else's definition of success.

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

I'm here because of the people I get to share a piece of my life with.

 

They also happen to be some of the sharpest minds in all things business on the web. I love that part and these types of people : )

 

In the process I get to learn, grow, share ideas and hopefully contribute value to the community in some way.

 

For now, that's enough for me.

 

Cheers, Jayme!

bdorman264
bdorman264

Hmmmm......on one hand I have far exceeded whatever I thought I would be doing in here. When I first got started if you would have asked if I would make it to 140 posts I would have said 'probably not.'

 

But that's the dilemma; I am still around but essentially doing the same ol' thing as when I got in here.

 

It's easy to be the goof w/ a free site and no discernible plan; all I have to do is show up for that, right? 

 

I might play one on TV, but I'm no dummy; I see what works and what doesn't. I know what would needed to be done to take it to the next level. 

 

I'm asked all the time 'then why are you doing this if you aren't on a path to monetize your existence?' Good question; probably the easiest answer is I actually like to network, social just opened a whole new avenue for me. It's easy for me to hang around just for that fact alone. 

 

If I was sucking wind in my day job maybe I'd get a little more serious about it. However, just because I 'know' I can do something still doesn't mean I want to. 

 

Bottom line, I really don't look at any numbers except who is showing up at my place; that's really the only number that means anything to me. If I started stinking it up and chasing everybody off then I might have to reassess my motives and mission. 

 

I've met some great people; I've learned a ton; and I have enough 'experience' in social that if I ever decide to make Gini proud and truly become the next A-lister, it won't be hard to work from the base I already have established. 

 

Probably more than you cared to hear and of course it was all about me, but that's the other thing I'm good at; talking about me..........:).

 

Good to see you at Gini's. 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

Here's the rub: Subscribers, traffic, pageviews, AdAge...that's all fine and dandy, but those are ego-driven metrics. They don't mean squat if you don't get something out of them. Find ways to make money from your blog. It may be ads or selling content or providing products or getting paid for reviews. Whatever it is, the numbers will help you increase those dollars, but they won't sell for you alone.

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Karl Sprague

Soulati
Soulati

@howiegoldfarb Nice to see you're finally branding yourself. What a cool gig with @ginidietrich too.

rdopping
rdopping

Jayme, late to the party today.

 

I just wanted to lend my support to your enthusiasm as a blogger. If more people had your drive there would that much more stiff competition out there. Thanks for asking those questions. It's always good to go back and discover why you are doing what you do.

 

Personally, all the tech talk lately has me thinking and I am investigating to make sure i don't get lost in the tech shuffle. Slow and steady but that's not the essence for me. The "love of the craft" and the love of design is why I blog and we have big plans over here at theviewfromhere for the future.

 

It is fun, huh?

 

Great post. You are a key inspiration for me and my growth in this wild and woolly world. Cheers! 

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@be3d Unfortunately MOST really think that @kyleplacy

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

 @bdorman264 You hit on something rather important. "...the base I already have established".

 

I'm working on a double secret project that involves an app for iPhone and Android. I think it is a good idea and the best part is that when it comes time to tell the world about my app, I have a base. I've got a blog of a couple years, and a very solid 2300 real followers on Twitter (I've blocked thousands of people who tried to follow me, but they were obviously spammers or nutters). I've even done okay with G+ and FB.

 

The foundation one builds may not end up supporting the dream one first imagined, but if it is solid, it will be there for whatever dream might come.

Latest blog post: Feeding the Blog

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

 @bdorman264 What I love the most about that statement (and there's never any pressure to comment where I write so thanks for doing that, Bill) is the fact you recognize perfectly "doing the same 'ol thing as when I got in here." 

 

So many bloggers don't have a clue about that, so you're in a good spot. You're very aware of your goals and monetization isn't for everyone...heck, not even sure I can get there without someone pulling me. 

 

Thanks for getting outta da cah to be here. 

Latest blog post: This Business of Breasts

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

 @ginidietrich "...ads, selling content, providing products or getting paid for reviews..."

 

What a ginormous statement...something a mid-tier blogger can add to a list and hope to tick off...I'm not making light of this; it's a huge undertaking, but it's what has to happen to reach the illusive monetization. 

Latest blog post: This Business of Breasts

howiegoldfarb
howiegoldfarb

@soulati Sadly the Chief Alien doesn't fit the business I am now involved with. spent many hrs debating full name or not.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

 @rdopping Thanks so much, Monsieur! Un baguette si vous plait!  Je'taime... OK, so how's France? Apparently, you miss us and need something to do so our blogs beckon...love that.

 

I'm so thrilled when I learn something new, like Feedblitz thingy or the mobile platform technology or what a CTA is...hah, feels like shades of @3hatscomm who is so MIA these days...anyway...I'm so thrilled to pass along the new to you to inspire learning, as well. 

 

FWIW...Hey, Davina! Where you at?

Latest blog post: This Business of Breasts

be3d
be3d

@ginidietrich hmm...no, I don't think so. They may think it's the most important thing. But not the only thing.

Soulati
Soulati

@howiegoldfarb But, I'm so glad you finally did good on that! Ask @thejackb -- I pushed him hard to brand his name, too. Will bare fruit.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@howiegoldfarb @Soulati :)

howiegoldfarb
howiegoldfarb

@Soulati @thejackb but jack can be anything jackbthat jackbthis. He loses such flexibility with his full name.

Soulati
Soulati

@thejackb Who said? @howiegoldfarb

TheJackB
TheJackB

@soulati @howiegoldfarb What is with the naked talk.

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