Recently, Ashley from Nose Graze posted about giveaways, and why they don’t result in more subscribers. Her post touched on something that’s been plaguing me for a while now, so I figured it was about time to get my thoughts organized! While most of what I’m about to discuss is pretty straightforward, I think it can be easy to lose sight of when faced against the
self-inflicted pressure of being a “successful” blogger.
I often see other bloggers, in various social media, bemoaning their lack of subscribers. We’ve all been there, where we’ve been distraught over our lack of followers, especially when we start comparing our numbers with some of the blogging giants who throw around the word “thousands” like it ain’t no thang.
I think the larger issue, however, is readership. Thus, today I will be discussing readers vs subscribers, and the difference between the two!
Readers vs Subscribers: The Difference
A reader is someone who does just that – they read! They actually read your blog, and possibly, comment on your posts. They make return trips to your blog, maybe even daily! They share your content when it really resonates with them. They retweet the posts that made them laugh. They have an invested interest in your blog.
A subscriber is someone who is subscribed to your blog. Someone who has followed your blog in one way or another. Someone who is a statistic, but who doesn’t necessarily read your content. Someone with little to no invested interest in your blog.
Why You Should Care
Who would you rather have for your blog? A reader or a subscriber? I think we’d all be lying, if based on my two definitions above, we all chose subscriber.
This is why subscriber numbers don’t matter, and this is the point Ashley was making with her post: subscribers
can be are an inflated representation of your blog’s readership. The number of people subscribed to your blog is negligible; what matters is who is reading, sharing, loving and commenting on your content!
What Does This All Mean?
Stop worrying about the number of subscribers to your blog! Instead, pay attention to the number of unique visitors your blog is garnering, and the trends associated with this number. What kind of posts cause this number to increase or decrease? How long are these unique visitors staying on your blog, and what kind of posts are holding their attention for the longest?
On the flip side, another great number to pay attention to is returning visitors and the trends associated with them. These are the people who are actually reading your blog, enough that they make frequent return visits. What kind of posts are bringing these people back? What kind of posts have them desperate to comment and share their opinions? What kind of posts are these readers sharing with their friends?
Instead of being concerned about how many people are subscribed to your blog, you should be focusing on how to encourage people to become readers of your blog! Whether it’s through unique features, contemplative reviews, the mastery of the gif or a well-researched discussion topic, the best way to grow your blog is to grow your readership.
Every time you convert a unique visitor into a returning visitor, you have grown your readership. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve grown your subscriber number – some people bookmark their favourite blogs, checking in on them on their own time. They don’t subscribe to your email updates (maybe they get enough email as it is!), they don’t bother with an RSS reader (if they’ve only got a few that they frequent, what’s the point?) and their social media is for more personal use. There are a million reasons that someone might not want to subscribe to your blog, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t reading it.
Have you thought about the differences between readers and subscribers before? Do you notice a significant difference between the two?