Sunday, April 1, 2012

Small Steps…Giant Gain! Blog Follower or Blog Subscriber—What is the Difference and Does it Matter?

It’s time for another, Small Steps…Giant Gain! post.

Today I want to clear up an issue many are confused about—the difference between a blog Follower and a blog Subscriber.

Often times the two are used interchangeably. They are NOT the same, and beyond that, one is extremely valuable and the other less so. It's also likely that the two numbers differ greatly. For example, I have 137 followers on Google Friend Connect and well over 400 subscribers. But before we go any further, here are the definitions.

A Follower
This is unique to Blogger sites and looks like this:

If you wanted to become one of my followers, you'd click the join this site icon. Then, if you have a Google account with a picture, your face shows up on my blog. It’s nice to see that people like my blog and this is a way to see that others like my blog.

Also, if you’re familiar with your Google Reader, my blog shows up there. But, and this is critical, those who follow my blog this way do NOT receive any kind of email notification when I post something new on my site.

A Subscriber
These are people who sign up to get notification of new posts on my blog through their email account or through RSS. The most common way of doing this is through FeedBurner. This type of sign-up looks like this:

These people are infinitely more likely to visit my blog on a regular basis. And beyond that, they're willing to have my notifications clutter up their inbox. In these days of email overload this is a BIG commitment.

Bottom Line
While there’s nothing wrong with Google Friend Connect, I still have it on my blog, it’s important to make certain you also have a place for people to receive notifications through email and RSS. These are your subscribers and, when a publisher is looking at your platform, these will be the numbers they’re interested in.

Now it’s your turn to share your experiences with following and/or subscribing to a blog. Do you have any criteria to decide your level of commitment?

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Edie Melson

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