Clearly, WordPress encourages its bloggers to actively engage with and accrue new subscribers, notifying us of likes, follows, consecutive days of postings, etc.; and, to my mind, there’s no metric easier for us to highlight than our subscriber counts. Having said that, while I want to mark the growth of this blog, I am not especially interested in my subscriber count, per se.
In this first year of mine on WordPress, I’ve come across blogs with many, many more subscribers than I have. Some blogs have tens of thousands of subscribers; some blogs have even more. It would seem that gaining subscribers is an industry for some, and there are some experienced bloggers out there who accept payment for guidance on how to follow in their footsteps.
Nevertheless, I have noticed something peculiar that many such bloggers with large followings have in common: They boast of high subscriber counts, but their blog posts generate almost no meaningful human interactions. And this is common, even among those who promote themselves as advisors for hire.
As for me, what I have come to most look forward to are the comments that you, my friends, post in response to my poetry and reflections. This is what most drives me. While I am certainly very proud of having reached 2,000 subscribers on ‘The Skeptic’s Kaddish’, my motivation to create content would drop precipitously and perhaps disappear altogether, if not for all of our lively discussion threads… and it only takes a handful of regular correspondents to leave me feeling fulfilled… feeling as though something significant is transpiring here.
So, to all of you, and especially to those of you who take the time out of your lives to challenge and encourage me, I want to humbly say, “Thank you so much, Friends.”
Some thoughts on blogging
Based upon my limited (one year) experience
For those who would like to read on, I am going to share several thoughts about blogging actively and nurturing meaningful human interactions on our blogs:
- While I don’t prioritize my subscriber count, it does, by virtue of probability, remain very significant. In other words, if increasing numbers of people are exposed to my ideas, it would follow that increasing numbers will be moved to respond with their own ideas;
- Increasing the visibility of one’s blog is essential for this purpose; and writing compelling content is not enough;
- One must take the time to interact with other bloggers on their blogs (likes, comments). Really, this is no different than ‘in person’ friendships; why should others be motivated to pay attention to you if you express no interest in them?
- Also, it requires a great deal of time investment. Is this important enough for you to devote yourself to nurturing such relationships?
- Having said that, I’ve noticed that the more subscribers a blogger has, the faster his/her subscriber count tends to increase. Likely, this is because having a high subscriber count is a clear signal to others that one’s blog is worth following;
- I’ve heard it said that people who are in committed romantic relationships are especially attractive to others because their existing relationships are proof of their desirability. Blogging relationships are like that too;
- Reaching out to and connecting with bloggers who have fewer subscribers than you is a very good idea. First of all, this builds a sense of community for all of us. Second of all, your support for smaller blogs is all the more meaningful to those writers precisely because not many others provide it; and they may very likely be moved to engage with you in substantive discussions;
- Don’t stretch yourself too thin in reading other blogs and interacting with other bloggers. We are all finite beings, and we must seek reasonable balance. Better to have a few close blogger-friends than many superficial relationships;
- While interacting with others on their blogs will draw them to yours, only your content will draw them back again. In other words, you must have compelling content. You must have something meaningful to say, and you must be able to convey that well to others. What is your your reason for blogging? What makes your blog uniquely interesting?