A key metric typically used to measure blog popularity is the number of bloglines subscribers or feedburner subscribers. These measures give an idea of the number of subscribers you have to your RSS feed.
In theory, this represents your “subscriber core” and indicates how ‘sticky’ your content is.
You might think this blog fares abysmally, according to Text Link Ads “Blog Juice” calculator.
A 5.4 out of a supposed 10 ranking?
Let’s look at the components of the score:
- Bloglines: the number of Bloglines subscribers (accounts for 40% of score)
- Alexa: ranking determines 15%
- Technorati: 30%
- Links: Inbound links 15% (determined fromTechnorati).
From the example above, the low number of bloglines subscribers (32) has hit my rankings hard.
De-emphasizing bloglines subscribers and feedburner subscribers (also a set of RSS subscribers) would be detrimental to your rankings.
Why would anyone want to do this?
In that case, why would a blogger deliberately aim for low RSS subscriber numbers?
Simple. Three reasons.
- Relationship building
Instead of building feedburner/bloglines RSS readership, I’ve built a traditional list.
Unlike indirect communication with my readers via a RSS feed, I can communicate directly with them via the opt-in list services provided by aweber or getresponse.
This gives me the opportunity to determine how often I communicate with my list and how I do so. I’m not merely restricted to just blog posts.
- Relationship Building
Having a list and control over the emails gives me flexibility in building the relationship gradually.
I can queue a variety of welcome posts, and staggered communication which can ease a new subscriber into the flow of things.
I can customize branded posts, personalized to the list members, and have highly targeted and relevant offers sent to the members.
I believe an opt-in list brands you more effectively, compared to a RSS publishing service.
So it’s true that you give up the blog popularity ‘point score’ based on the number of perceived subscribers, but the intangible benefits you’ll gain are unparalled.
List Building Autoresponders-