Reader numbers mean a rethink

When I setup my blog several years ago I decided to use FeedBurner to manage my RSS feed ( There were several reasons for this decision the top two were portability and statistics. When I moved my blog to WordPress a good couple of years ago I kept my FeedBurner feed and put a link to it on the sidebar. However WordPress still automatically created it’s own feed, which since browsers have become to recoginse RSS feeds in the HTML meant that a number of people started to subscribe to the WordPress feed. Subscribing to the WordPress feed is not bad, it’s the same content, but I was missing the statistics.

My reader numbers, according to FeedBurner, for the last year or so have been stable at about 240-250 readers. Not a huge number but given the lack of focus the blog has had, I was quite happy.

Last week I found a new WordPress plugin, Feedburner FeedSmith, that redirects requests to the standard WordPress feed back to my FeedBurner feed. I installed it thinking I would finally get a better understanding of reader numbers.

My reaction. Wow.

It seems there are a few more of you than 240, closer to 500.

Firstly, thanks! I am very grateful to you for finding space in your RSS Reader for me and my blog. Of all of the blogs out there, for 500 people to subscribe to this one blows me away.

This also got me thinking, given there are more readers than I thought I probably should double my effort on each blog post.

10 thoughts on “Reader numbers mean a rethink

  1. I had a similar revelation. I had about 60-80 FeedBurner readers and hoped to get over 100 one day..
    Then TypePad added the feature to link their default feed to FeedBurner and I found the true number was more than 600!
    Knowing someone out there is paying attention does make you reconsider your blogging effort.

  2. I had a similar revelation not too long ago when I looked at’s stats. It turns out that 40,000 unique visitors used it in the past month… but at the time it was just a number on a page and didn’t mean much. Today though I compare it to something I can visualise – 40,000 people is one third of the MCG.. !! That’s some traffic!!

  3. Michael, have you ever thought of putting Google analytics on your blog pages?

    This would give you the most accurate analysis of what’s going on.

    It’s not uncommon for me to forward a URL for a blog post to friends and colleagues. Such people might read your blog entry but not subscribe to the feed. Will this show up in your stats?

  4. I do run Google analytics, & that provides a good overall number of visitors and of individual pages (eg the 5 ways to engage employees had a lot of traffic) it does not provide me a good view of how many people subscribe, ie long term readers.

  5. I would say the overall numbers don’t matter – a single comment can make my day if it’s from the right person or with the right message 🙂

  6. @Lee I live for the day I have a 1000 readers 😉

    @Ross Completely agree the feedback from the right sort of person, on the right blog post makes it all worth while. Many times I get feedback via email directly.

    @Kevin Thanks!

  7. Remember, it’s not the number of readers that counts, it’s who they are.

    Ten influential or important or just plain friends is far better than 10,000 tyre kickers 🙂

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