Earlier this week Devon sent me a couple of great question through the Worms In the Fridge Facebook page. She wanted to know what the difference is between subscribers and followers. Devon also wanted to know why I chose email subscribers as one of my goal metrics.
Why email is a big deal to bloggers
The difference between email subscribers and followers in general is that email only counts people who are receiving your new posts in their email inboxes. A follower could be anyone who is following you/ your blog through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, social-network-of-the-day.
The reason that bloggers tend to be more concerned with email subscriber count than a general follower account is that email is much more targeted and as a result there is more focused interaction with email than there is with social media posts. Think of it this way, I follow 10,000+ through social media, but I only have a few blogs that I will allow into my email inbox. I see every post from those blogs that are in my inbox whereas I don’t see every post from the blogs that I only follow through social media.
Subscribing to an RSS feed is the middle ground between following on social media and subscribing through email. Think of it this way, you might be subscribed to an RSS feed through Feedly or Flipboard, but do you always read every post? Or even every headline? For most of us the answer to those questions is no. But you’ll probably always at least look at the subject line of an email.
The email service that I use, FeedBlitz, includes tools that allow me to see if the email was opened, if the person clicked-through to the blog from the email, and a bunch of other interesting metrics. FeedBlitz isn’t the only service that does this. Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, and many others also include those kinds of metrics.
The reason that I use use FeedBlitz is that it also publishes my RSS feed for me. I don’t trust Google not to shut-down FeedBurner (they’ve pretty much abandoned it for the last eighteen months) so all of my RSS feeds are published through FeedBlitz. FeedBlitz has reliably delivered the emails from Free Technology for Teachers since 2011. FeedBlitz offers tiered pricing based on the number of email subscribers you have with plans that start at $1.49/month (affiliate link). RSS management is free with all FeedBlitz email plans.
If you’re reading this in your email inbox, thank you. I take it as a tremendous compliment when someone goes through the sign-up process to receive my new posts. I’m picky about what I let into my email inbox and I’ll hazard a guess that you are too. We’re all inundated with email messages. So when you say, “yes, sign me up to get email from you” that is a big deal to me.
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