My friend Stowe Boyd posted that his Feedburner subscription numbers jumped 34% in one day to 2,858 subscribers. Curious, I went to check Feedburner subscriber counts for Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing. Sure enough, my subscriptions jumped 29% to 3,792. Wow! what is going on?
Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand has the answer, Google Reader subscription data is now available as a feed. Here is the announcement from Feedburner. The subscribers were always there...they were just not being counted.
Subscribers vs. Readers vs. Page Views - Intuitively I knew there were more "readers" than subscribers, and more page views than readers. Magazines and newspapers have a stable number of subscribers but many more people buy single issues off the news-stand. Blogs are the same. However, blogs are different in that once a reader finds your blog they may read additional posts resulting in more page views. I didn't have any good metrics or comparison data to validate my intuition.
My blog metrics - There are 3,792 subscribers as of 2/17/2007. I use two blog statistics packages that track unique visits and total page views. There are 8,275 unique "readers" on an average week who generate 17,377 page views. These are averages over the past month. There are spikes in readers and traffic, sometimes double these numbers, depending on how popular or controversial a blog topic is on a given day.
So, for every one subscriber there are 2.2 readers. Each reader generates 2.1 page views.
Stowe Boyd is always finding interesting ways to look at user behavior. Stowe coined the term "Conversational Index".
The Conversational Index measures how much conversation is happening on a blog by comparing the number of Comments and Trackbacks versus the number of Posts. Meaning, there should be more comments and trackbacks than posts to show that it is a conversation, not a one way broadcast. A year ago when I first calculated my Conversational Index it was 3.08, meaning there were 3.08 comments and trackbacks for every one post. Today my CI has improved to 4.73. Thanks! Keep those comments coming!
Links are another measure of blog effectiveness. Technorati is somewhat erratic in its measurement of links but they seem to be the accepted benchmark. To date, The Next Big Thing has 2,256 links, but Technorati only uses links from the past 6 months to calculate its blog rankings. Over the past 6 months there are 1,023 links from 494 different blogs, yielding a Technorati rank of 5,226. Being one of the top 5,000 blogs doesn't sound very good until you consider there are over 50 million blogs. So that puts it in the top 99.99% of all blogs.
Sports, politics, and Hollywood entertainment blogs appeal to vast audiences. I don't write this blog in order to appeal to the broad audience anyway. I don't pander to Digg or Slashdot either. I write about entrepreneurs, startups, VCs and technology. Admittedly a small audience, but it is what we care about. Metrics be dammed!
What is your Conversational Index? What are you finding in your subscriber/reader/page view trends? While I don't care about broad metrics that much, I do care about trends and metrics within the tech community. What are you seeing?