The Linklifter

Little helpers for daily blogging

The Magic Number of Blog Subscribers

October 5, 2011

How and when do people make money from their website or blog?

Recently I was reading an article on How Successful Mediapreneurs Monetize their Blogs/Podcasts. This article is interesting for anyone who is keen to make a living out of blogging, to see how others are doing just that. From creating nifty online stores to granting access to resources or archived posts, there are many ideas to keep a site real as well as lucrative. It may seem a long way off for many bloggers starting out, but it is important to have monetisation in your sight lines from the get-go. I was struck by an interesting figure originally given by Michael Stelzner:

10 000 subscribers.Your tentative first subscribers

This is one possible ‘magic subscriber number’ after which a blog could justifiably start making money.

According to Michael, not before 10 000 people are catching up with your website from time to time via RSS feeds should you use your influencing power to make some money from your online endeavours.

No one advocates making a general rule for all website owners to stick to when it comes to selling on their blog, but “it depends” answers just aren’t that useful sometimes. Of course, we need to understand the data and reasoning behind the number 10 000:

What is the number of blog subscribers an indication of?

In theory, having 10 000 subscribers means:

  • 10 000 eyes: Subscribers revisit your site
  • 10 000 opinions: Subscribers leave comments
  • 10 000 mouths: Subscribers share your links and talk about you
  • 10 000 likes: Subscribers have an interest in your content overall
  • 10 000 hearts: Subscribers feel greater loyalty to you

These factors are also important to e-commerce websites too! Unsurprisingly, monetising your blog means that you have to treat your blog as a business and yourself as a brand.

You won't reach 10 000 subscribers like this!How do you reach 10 000 blog subscribers?

If you receive one subscriber for every hour you put into your website (a conservative estimate) you would need to put in 10 000 hours of work in order to start being paid for your time and effort. This amounts to over 8 years (!), if you devoted 40 hours a week to your content, website upkeep and attracting subscribers.

Thankfully, the process of reaching 10 000 subscribers is more of an exponential curve; a good amount of luck is involved as well as expertise to make sure achieve a much faster rate of subscription.

First of all you will need to write spot-on SEO copy and then you will line up the guest blog posts by the shedload; with a combination of the two skills you can rack up the subscribers in a mere 8-12 months. Is there any end to the list of benefits of guest blogging?

Sounds like a long road ahead and if you are not doggedly dedicated to your site’s success, then stop now.

The Other Magic Number

However, if you are only daunted by a figure in the thousands, another magic number of subscribers is 25. Google seems to treat your posts as more worthwhile (ranking higher in their SERPs) once you have gained 25 subscribers.

Now this figure is more easily obtainable!

Enlist a few family members and close friends and you are half way to feeling like this. Then you can employ some more widespread strategies to ethically bribe, encourage, attract and garner new subscribers.

But most importantly don’t forget to make it SIMPLE for visitors to subscribe! I can’t emphasise this enough (I tried though).

The times I have confused ‘search’ bars with ‘subscribe by email’ boxes! How frustrating! Choose a widget that is clean, place it somewhere sensible within some posts as well as in the sidebar. Perhaps create a page just for subscribing. Above all, make it easy for readers to say with a single click ‘why don’t I get to know this blogger better?’

What’s more, get out there and subscribe to great blogs in your niche, make contacts and pick up ideas and returned favour subscriptions along the way.

What Would Google Do?

When it comes to beating a path towards making serious blog advertising moolah, take the lead from the big guns:

“Like Google, Facebook figured that if it got enough people on board and continually improved its social network, eventually it would figure out a way to make money.”

(from Todd Wasserman’s article on Mashable published 04.10.2011)

Prioritising Your Blog’s Growth

At LinkLift we work with those bloggers who believe that making money from blogging does not come at the detriment of retaining readership and interest in your content. We aren’t looking only for blogs with 10 000 subscribers, what we are looking for are diligent bloggers with an influential voice in their niche.

Patience, creativity and determination will first earn you subscribers, then a chance to earn money from your blog. There is no magic number of subscribers, but start off with a target of 25. If you want to get into the hundreds or even the thousands of subscribers, being business savvy with your site is a must. If you are able to interact with other influential bloggers as equals, and can get the most out of guest blog posts, your subscriber list will grow exponentially.