Last week I discussed some major issues with Technorati that one of my blogs was facing. One of the major take home lessons of that post was that, whether you like it or not, your ability to monetize your blog can largely depend on 3rd party metric systems like PageRank, Technorati Rank, Alexa Rank, etc.
One metric that a large number of ranking systems are taking into account for blogs is “total subscribers” – the more readers, the wider the reach of the blog.
Most subscriber data is not public. So there is no fool-proof way of measuring this statistic on an even keel. Some blogs use Feedburner, and some bloggers openly share their total subscriber base (usually people with lots of subscribers… like 186,583 worth)
Still, not everyone uses Feedburner, so it isn’t a good wide-scale metric. Instead, what most ranking systems measure is the publicly available Blogline subscribership. Fair enough, I suppose. Bloglines doesn’t show *total* subscribers, but it does a decent job with identifying subscriber proportion, which is good enough for a ranking algorithm and which can also be scaled out for a rough estimate of total subscribers, if necessary.
Ok. Fair enough. What’s the point of this article?
Well, just as Alexa only measures visitors who have the Alexa toolbar installed, and skews towards groups of people more inclined to use the Alexa toolbar, Bloglines skews towards blogs that push Bloglines on their readership.
If that’s the case, and if it’s also the case that your site’s perceived value is partially based on Bloglines subscribers, as a general rule, should bloggers be pushing Bloglines on their readers?
As a matter of principle, I don’t like pushing Bloglines, largely because I want the reader to use an RSS feed reader of his or her choice. But, as a matter of practicality, I’m beginning to think seriously about adding a “Subscribe through Bloglines” link or button to all my sites.
What are your thoughts?
Only time, a question
How important is the Alexa rank really?
Greetings from Germany
You can push Bloglines all you like, but as a reader I’m not going to use it. I’m a long time Google Reader user and I simply ignore any of the “Subscribe with [insert reader here]” buttons. If you get too pushy about it (ie make it difficult to find the raw RSS, although I’m not sure how easy that would be to obscure) I may decide that subscribing isn’t worth it.
I guess though that you have to use the metrics that are available to you (and those of your advertisers) and if the Bloglines one is the most common or popular, I can see why you might encourage it. Just don’t force it on me or I would be likely to take my eyes elsewhere.
I’ve got over 1900 active feeds in my own Blogline feeds, and about 20,000 combined saved and unread articles. That’s the main reason why I don’t switch to any other feed reader .. otherwise I’d lose the saved ones.
I think that’s probably why I generally prefer to put the RSS Button and the Bloglines Button as the two main options on most of my blogs – not for any metrics or ranking reasons. I don’t think I consider myself pushing Bloglines, although I often mention that I find stuff “in my Bloglines”. I’m also one of those who use feedburner and try to place all the other possible chicklets somewhere down the sidebar. I’m happy if people subscribe to my blogs .. I’m not really picky how they do that. That’s up to them. I dunno. *shrug*
I can’t stand bloglines. I just let ’em pick the reader they want. http://www.webmaster-source.com/subscribe/ shows a cool video explaining RSS, which also recommends a few web-based RSS readers. I also try to steer people towards the MyNT RSS reader as well (http://my.ntugo.com).
If you feel it would help, there’s no harm in trying it out. Your readers won’t hate you.
Personally I’ve found pushing bloglines handy for a few things like reviewme and textlinkads I know these guys take this metric into account so I do on certain occassions push it. Otherwise I let the universe take care of things.