The amount of comments a blog has can give you some indication to the success of the site as can the traffic the site receives but neither are completely reliable or fair ways of comparing blogs in my opinion. For example, TechCrunch currently has a mind boggling 875,000 subscribers yet some posts have received less than 10 comments. Compare that to some blogs out there with only a few hundred subscribers but manage to get 20-50 comments in each post.
RSS is King
Without doubt, the number of subscribers a blog has is the best way to gauge how successful the blog is. This is one of the reasons why there are so many guides showing you how you can increase the number of subscribers to your blog. Put simply, a blog with a high feed count is successful. Some blog genres find it easier to get subscribers than others so it’s debatable what qualifies as a ‘high feed count’ but from my experience blogs with 10 thousand subscribers or more tend to be regarded as leaders in their niche.
The RSS Roller Coaster
There are thousands of articles online which talk about how to increase your RSS feed count. These articles explain how you can encourage, persuade and sometimes even bribe your visitors into subscribing to your blog feed.
However, I have not seen too many articles which discuss the unsubscribing habits of feed readers ie. what makes someone unsubscribe from a feed?
I’m sure there are dozens of reasons why someone unsubscribes from a blog including :
- You have stopped updating the blog
- The reader does not read your blog anymore ie. change of reading habits
- The reader does not need your blog anymore (for example, a blog aimed at beginners may lose some subscribers once they learn more)
- You have offended them
The first point brings me to the question I want to ask you all :
‘How long can a blog last without posts before the number of RSS subscribers decreases?’
Gone but not forgotten
The reason I am curious about this subject is because I have witnessed many popular blogs drastically reduce their posting frequency and yet they do not appear to have lost any of their subscribers. For example, the blogging advice blog John TP has not been updated in a month and a half and yet the site retains it’s 3,100 daily subscribers. Likewise, the popular blog Pearsonified didn’t update for over 2 months and didn’t lose any of it’s 4,800 subscribers.
I have no doubt that drastically reducing the frequency of posting will lose you subscribers. Lower traffic blogs should see a reduction in subscribers after a few weeks of posting but popular blogs seem to retain the same feedcount. Why is this? Well, I have no cold hard facts however I believe that they are still losing some subscribers but that they are gaining new ones from search engine and referral traffic, despite the fact that the blog is not updated as often.
One other big factor is influence. The more popular and influential a blog is the less inclined people are to unsubscribe from them. I know this from experience, I still subscribe to a few blogs which are not updated much now because when they do post the articles are good (sometimes newsbreaking).
However, this begs the question once again, ‘how long can a blog last without posts before the number of RSS subscribers decreases?’. If John Chow, Darren Rowse, Brian Clark or Daniel Scocco decided to stop updating their blogs, how many months would pass before their RSS feed counts decreased?
It’s clear to me that many RSS readers do not check the feeds they subscribe to often enough to remove them from their reader. I’ve seen many bloggers claim to subscribe to hundreds of blogs so this is understandable ie. the more blogs you subscribe too the more time consuming it is to manage those feeds in your reader.
I also believe that there are many people who rarely remove a blog from their feed reader and that they are happy to simply move the ones which are updated less to the bottom of the pile.
What makes you unsubscribe from a blog? How long would you be willing to subscribe to a blog if they stopped updating it?
When Is It Too Late to Start Blogging?
Ego sometimes clings to limiting ideas. One such idea is the notion that starting a blog at some specific age proves to be futile because of it being too late. I recall hearing Gary Vaynerchuk professing how people in their early 20’s ask him if it is too late to begin a business. Do you see why ego deludes you? Fear manifests as all types of crippling beliefs holding you back. Someone clinging to fear, being 21 years old, asks if being 21 is too old for starting a business. Why? Some 21 year olds observe 14 year olds who create million dollar ventures. Or some 21 year olds see fellow 21 year olds who already became millionaires, when the limited-thinking 21 year old simply has never been an entrepreneur. Guess what? It is never late to begin blogging. It is never too late to begin blogging. I recall a 73 year old new to blogging who bought 4 of my eBooks after I wrote a guest post on Build Your Own Blog. He began blogging at 73 years old. Imagine that? Yet 21 year olds some 50 years his minor fear being 21 is too old for beginning a successful venture.
Fear makes you think silly things. Be beyond fear. Feel fear. Release fear. Move in a direction of possibilities. Move toward opportunities. Now is the time to begin blogging whether you are 21 or 101. Now is the time to begin. Seize the moment. Do you plan to be around for a bit? Blog. Begin blogging. It is never too late to start blogging because you and I sit in the perfect place at the perfect time for our individual journeys. I began blogging in my mid 30’s. 35 years old, to be exact. Being a 35 year old beginner blogger never crossed my mind as being too old because I did not cling to the fear fueling that too old, aged, limiting belief. I saw actual 12 year olds blogging during my newbie blogging days. Who cares that a kid 20 years my junior began blogging? I had 20 more years LIFE experience than he. Possessing 20 more years life experience puts you at a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of blogging the right way. Heck; the 73 year old new blogger may have zero blogging experience but 73 years of life experience. What seems more important at that point in your life? Does knowing how to format a blog post at 73 count more than the fearlessness, serenity and peace you acquired from facing 73 years worth of fears? Dude begins blogging with the mindset of a Blogging Yoda, for all he faced and for all the experience he has. Does THAT sound like it’s too late for blogging?
The only thing I would say is to begin blogging now because blogging experience is your best ally. Do not wait on the sidelines. Even though you can begin blogging at any age, why wait until you turn 45 when you can begin blogging now, at age 40? Why hesitate? Experience benefits you tremendously. Whether you start blogging at 13 or 73, experience earned and learned from, accelerates your blogging success. But you need to see the journey through and you need to begin blogging now. Go ahead. Blog. It’s not too late!
Do you fear deleting your worn out, failing blog to start over? Buy my eBook:
A Simple Guide to Collecting Feedback from Your Blog Users
Poor feedback from your readers and customers can spread like wildfire. So sometimes it’s best to go to the route of a problem and fix it before you lose your readers or hear them discuss your site around the web.
By making it easy for people to share their feedback about your website or service you’re providing, you can find out what your site users really think, improve your work and then watch your subscribers and conversions grow.
Prevent the trouble
Before going into much detail on how to collect and address your readers’ feedback, let’s start with the most important aspect of that: Prevention.
Whether you are starting a new blog or setting up a site to promote affiliate products, you can avoid a lot of problems by monitoring your competitors or the brands you are going to advertise on your site.
Let’s say you are going to resell a hosting service, and you may even like it yourself. But have you ever thought of unhappy customers of that brand? How likely are they to accuse you of promoting a poor service? Do a quick Google search and read though the customer review to understand common problems their customers are dealing with.
Run a quick question research to get a better idea of what their customers are dealing with and whether you can answer those questions. Text Optimizer is a great tool for that as it goes right to Google to extract data around any search query. Its question research feature will give you a good idea of the type of struggles your readers may be dealing with:
Don’t ignore the numbers
An easy and simple way of honing in on the problems of your site is to keep an eye on the numbers that your blog provides you with.
Web analytics will very clearly show you what pages on your site bring in the clicks and views, and which ones drive your customers away. You will also see what is and isn’t working and what requires your attention.
Get techy with it
If web analytics isn’t giving you all the answers, think about investing in some technology that goes straight to the source and tells you what’s going on in the background of your site.
Exit-intent technology is perfect for collecting customer feedback in terms of statistics so you can see exactly how many people are leaving your site.
Alter is a great option to use here as it uses Artificial Intelligence to personalize exit-intent popups and keep your blog readers on your site.
Alter needs 1 minute to install and no time customizing it (unless you really want to play with the features). The tool will analyze your blog visitors’ behavior and learn to engage each of them in a most effective way. It is also completely free unless you have too much traffic coming in to analyze.
Survey your readers
Surveys are often the easiest way to get feedback from your readers. The fact that they can be embedded straight into your blog means that they are eye-catching and difficult to miss when positioned correctly. A quick search online can show you many different ways to create surveys that can be attached to your blog, from the simple to the majestic, depending on your budget. Here’s a good option to get you started.
The problem with surveys is that people often get bored of them halfway through and click off before completing, particularly when the questions seem to go on forever, or are too long. So keep them short and sweet. Make the questions open-ended when possible to ensure that the answers you’re getting are not only honest, but also creative. This will lead you to original insight you may never have thought of yourself – and this can be like gold dust when it comes to improving your site.
Incentivize those opinions
Having trouble getting people to complete your survey? Well then make it worth their while! The easiest way to get people to do what you want (especially if it means their taking time out of their day) is to incentivize them, make them want to do this for you.
Make sure to do this by providing them a free gift, template, or entrance in a giveaway upon their contacting you with feedback. The choice depends on you and what your website is about.
Pick an incentive that is relevant to your blog to make sure that it’s something your users will be interested in and watch the feedback coming in… Just make sure to follow through on your promise of incentives or that feedback might end up being entirely negative.
Chat your way to success
If you are looking for a far more personalized form of feedback from your users and want to make sure that they are aware of you being behind the website, you could use a live chat to have a two-way conversation. This will help get to the heart of their opinions and struggles.
Not only is live chat convenient and affordable to utilize, but it also bridges the gap between the reader and the blogger which can help form bonds and ultimately build community around your site.
This also means that if anyone is particularly angry or has a complaint, they’ll be dealing with someone polite, apologetic and enthusiastically wanting to improve their service. So you can win their hearts back. This is something an automatic email cannot always achieve.
If you’re concerned about where to put a live chat, remember to put it somewhere clear that your readers will be able to see it. There are many different forms of live chat software out there for you to choose from. Make sure the one you decide upon is simple to use and won’t intimidate anyone who plans to use it. Here are a few live chat plugins for WordPress blogs.
If you are into lead generation business, it is a good idea to use a CRM solution to collect and organize feedback as well as turn those readers into leads.
What happens after you get your feedback?
Gaining feedback on your site is only useful if you actually go ahead and do something with it! Don’t have an ego about your work and make sure to listen to what your readers are saying. They have no reason to lie to you, so if you listen to them, your business will definitely be improved, even if it stings at first to see negative feedback.
Make an effort to reach out to the people who shared feedback not only to thank them but also to ask them any more burning questions you may have – what led them to their opinion? What do they think will help improve the problems? Make them feel included in the development of your site. They could be a great (free!) resource for you to make the most of.
And finally, declare any positive feedback you get as loud and as proud as possible – highlight it on your website and social media. Show people why other people were impressed with you and why they would be too!
Do You Surround Yourself with the Wrong Type of Blogger?
Who do you hang out with blogging-wise? Who do you learn from blogging-wise? What bloggers do you seek for counsel? Who do you surround yourself with as far as blogging buddies? Blogging feels challenging sometimes. Surrounding yourself with the wrong type of blogger only increases these challenges in a major league way.
What bloggers do you connect with daily? Most bloggers struggle. Many bloggers have no idea what they are doing blogging-wise. But foolishly, the majority of bloggers surround themselves with failing, struggling bloggers. How can these bloggers teach you to overcome blogging obstacles? None of these folks knows how to overcome resistance. Guaranteed, none of these bloggers teaches you how to succeed because they only know how to struggle, fail, complain or make excuses. Stop surrounding yourself with bloggers who make excuses. Cease surrounding yourself with complaining bloggers. Quit hanging out with bloggers who fail because failures do not teach you, goad you and inspire you to succeed. Connect with successful bloggers. Learn from these pros. Follow their lead. Model your blogging campaign on their shining example. Naturally, you slowly evolve into the person influenced heavily by your blogging buddy network. Culture shapes your blogging path. Environment plays a chief role in your blogging direction. Successful bloggers surround themselves with successful bloggers. Failing bloggers who wish to succeed lose failing blogging buddies and surround themselves with successful bloggers.
Imagine you drive 4 people to your blog daily. Look at your blogger buddy network. Everyone sits in a similar boat, driving 4 to 20 people to their blogs daily. The only lesson you learn from these bloggers is how to drive 4 to 20 people to your blog daily. Do you aspire to boost your blog traffic to only 20 people daily? Of course, you have bigger dreams than that! Aim higher by socializing only with highly successful bloggers. Learn their ways. Follow their lead. Position yourself to succeed. Learn from the best by surrounding yourself only with the best bloggers. Release everybody else. Never look at this releasing process as being personal or emotionally charged. But do see your blogging freedom, success and happiness as being at stake. I released a few negative nellie blogging buddies over the years for their energetic vampire ways. Suckers need to go. So, you can replace energy vampires with people who give energy, love, support and inspiration to you. Think gain, not loss. Be honest about assessing your blogging buddy network, too. Doing so feels uncomfortable because awkwardness, guilt and other fear-filled energies arise as you assess who needs to stay, and who needs to go.
Be with uncomfortable emotions triggered during these blogger buddy pruning lessons. Your success, freedom, happiness and peace of mind is on the line! Did you ever think of it that way? Let go struggling, negative bloggers. Communicate with happy, free, successful bloggers. Allow these pros to create a positive influence around you. Sponge up their inspiration. Follow their shining example. Take their inspired lead. Learn how to free yourself through their empowerment, and un-learn the victim mentality taught to you by your departed, failing, former blogging buddies. Surround yourself only with blogging heroes. Your success is on the line. Of course, your happiness, freedom and peace of mind is on the line, too. Honestly assess who needs to go and find new, empowered, successful blogging buddies to follow, to learn from and to gain inspiration from.
Where do you find these folks? Start with successful bloggers you follow on Blogging Tips. Virtually all of these bloggers are full time pros. Network with these leaders. Help them generously. Ask for nothing. Allow friendships to take root.
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