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Feedburner offers a lot of great services to anyone with a blog or syndicated website. We use them for our feed and that gives us the ability to track how many people are checking their Oh Word subscription on a given day.
I just looked at this chart which shows our subscription count over the span of our use of Feedburner (since November).
As you can see, in December through May growth was steady but fairly slow. Especially considering that according to our web logs March (when we were selling Dilla shirts like hotcakes) remains our best month ever for site traffic.
So why didn’t we see any real boost in subscriptions in March even though our site traffic was double what it had been in February? It seems obvious now – we didn’t ask. It’s hard to close a deal without making the pitch.
Looking at the chart, in late May you can see a little Seth Godin-induced erection in our subscription numbers but since we still weren’t asking for the subscription that wasn’t as huge as it could have been. Sure enough, the chart goes back down to the normal level a few days after his post linked to us.
Around the next week we begin to rise though and as you can see the growth has been steady and sharp since then, doubling our totals from around the 140s to 284 (yesterday’s count) in less than 2 months.
It’s no mystery. I know exactly what I owe these results to – following the advice of Brian Clark aka CopyBlogger.
The first golden piece of advice was a reminder that it’s more important to cater to your fans than to cast out a wide net. When I used to talk with Roger, agent b and David about our plans for building this site, we knew that if we built the site the way we wanted our core audience would be small but that small audience would freakin’ love this place. It can be easy to forget that priority when you start thinking about how to attract more people. CopyBlogger offered a great reminder that subscribers are the group to be concerned with and a better representation than site traffic of who your core audience is.
Next, I’ve got to say these tips on how to up your subscriber count really do work. I implemented them here at the start of June – right before that huge change in our chart.
Basically Brian’s tips boil down to making the act of subscribing a priority by setting up a subscription page, making the subscription prominent in your template and, I think most importantly, by asking people for their subscription. That’s why you see that little offer at the end of each Oh Word blog post.
Many people aren’t even aware of the benefits of subscribing to a blog so I also used Brian’s explanation of RSS so people can go check that and do the science.
And then subscribe! We’re feeling you if you’re feeling us. We need to take this relationship to the next level baby…