How do you connect with blog readers?
When I started blogging, the only route to gaining readers for a blog was by encouraging visitors to subscribe. Either by RSS feed or by email.
The logic was simply that the more subscribers you had, the more readers you had. While this is still popular with many blog readers who like to follow every post, there are so many alternatives available to attract readers that subscriptions are now only a small percentage of my readership.
It had been some time since I checked the traffic sources statistics for my blog and I was staggered at the change. Less than a year ago, subscribed readers made up about 30% of my blog traffic, while today it stands at 13%. However, my overall readership has increased five- fold. So where did all this traffic come from?
Simple answer. Twitter.
A staggering 45% of my blog traffic now comes from Twitter. Search Engines and Stumbleupon both stand at 16%. Then comes subscribers at 14% to round out the major sources.
This sounds a little like having too many eggs in one basket, but in actual fact, it is a cumulative effect from a number of social media sources that feedback into Twitter. As Twitter is like a web, my own little Tweets announcing a new blog post are not the sole source of my blog visitors.
As many Twitter users are looking for regular content to Tweet about, it is easy for them to grab the RSS feed from my blog and set up an auto-tweet every time I post. Very often these users are also auto posting to Facebook or any number of other platforms.
So in an odd sense, they are similar to subscribers. Regular visitors to my blog, but by automation. Another way this works is with a number of new aggregator blogging platforms such as Scoop.it. This site collects blog posts that are then used by the Scoop.it user, who of course Tweets about their new post that is in actual fact mine.
Another avenue is from bloggers who link content from my blog into their own blog posts and then, of course, Tweet their post and I get more traffic.
The last few years has seen social media increase at a phenomenal rate, and Twitter especially so. So if you have a blog and you are looking for new readers, sure have a button for your RSS feed and email subscription. But make doubly sure you are building your Twitter user base and setting up auto Tweets for all your new blog posts.