Maybe I have rose-colored glasses on, but I remember it being easier to get blog subscribers (a few years ago). Right now I'm getting ~0.05% conversion, extrapolating from these FeedBurner and Google Analytics numbers.
That is, 10K visits for a blog post yields about 50 new FeedBurner subscribers. The sharp increase at the beginning of the year correlates to my increased post frequency
My sense is that the increased posts not only draw more visitors per unit time, but also keep the blog more present in peoples' minds, making them more likely to subscribe. From Apr 2008 to Jan 2010 I had 48,097 new visitors and then 82,733 new visitors since Jan 1 of this year. But my FeedBurner #s have more than doubled over that period.
Here's the data from the past 30 days.
What I find interesting is that the major posts did not spike FeedBurner in a similar way. It's still a steady increase. My guess is to get a major spike you need someone major recommending your blog in a post like this
Yet to get on a list like that seems sort of random. I think you have to be out there putting out good content regularly so that when someone does make a list like that, they think of you.
Over the whole period, these posts have been the biggest.
The first column is unique page views. If you sum the %s (taking out the home page), these top 9 posts (out of 107) make up 52%.
Here's where all this traffic comes from.
Thank you Hacker News and reddit! Without you, my blog #s would be pretty pathetic.
The Google stuff is pretty much all to one post I wrote on Skype high-quality video
, which seems to capture a lot of people searching about that
. I find that a bit odd in that I used to remember getting a lot more random organic traffic.
With all this in mind, do people subscribe to blogs less now? My hunch is yes and it is due mainly to a few factors.
- The rise of social link sharing has really taken the compelling reason out of subscribing to blogs, i.e. that you will miss something awesome. The argument is that if it is so awesome someone will share it with you. I don't think this is quite true, however. As someone who subscribes to a lot of blogs, at least half of the good content I see I don't see on those services.
- Remember when RSS readers were hot? Well now they're not. The business models never really seemed to pan out, and I think that deflated a lot of the interest (and in turn innovation) in the ecosystem. Related to that is they never seemed to really break mainstream as a lot of people thought they would.
- The twitter fan relationship. A lot of people seem to opt to follow on Twitter instead of subscribing to RSS to the extent that some people completely ignore RSS in favor of twitter. On Twitter, you get more than straight links, so maybe that is part of the appeal. Again, I disagree, though. I find often I just want the posts and don't want to miss anything. It's real easy to get behind on Twitter and all the UIs really make it too easy to just give up on old Tweets.