Thursday, July 12, 2007

Increase in subscribers with longer gap between posts

Ryan Turner has a great post titled “Going Viral is not a Marketing Strategy” on his blog.

In this post, he says

“Anil Batra noted a while back that his number of subscribers increased when he had a longer gap between blog posts. Goodness gracious! What could that mean? Apparently Anil has a theory. Yo Anil, care to share?”

He is referring to the pattern that I had noticed in terms of posting frequency and number of subscribers to the blog. I observed that that when there was a longer gap between my postings the subscribers to my blog increased far more than when I was posting regularly. So why was it happening?

Here is my theory

Visitors see the blog, like the blog, bookmark it (they reason why they don’t subscribe are listed below) and come back to check it. Since I write regularly they come back directly or via bookmark. If I keep writing regularly, visitors make it a habit to come back and check for the new content. But if there is a break in writing, they still want to read what I have to say, they just don’t want to keep coming back only to find that there is no fresh content. So they resort to subscribing to the feed (via feedburner link and a form that is on the right hand side panel).

I think the reasons why some visitors don’t subscribe to the feed blog in the first place are
  1. It is probably much easier to bookmark the blog and come back to check.

  2. The location of the subscribe form and link are probably not highly visible (right panel), even though most blogs have them at similar locations. To overcome this problem I should have something like the following in every post.

“If you like this post, you might want to subscribe to my blog feed.

Click here to subscribe to Web Analysis, Behavioral Targeting and Online Advertising

I will try above link in next few posts and see if that makes any difference.

Now I need your feedback:
Readers of this blog, I would like to hear your views on this theory.
1. If you are subscriber of this blog then when do you subscribe, first time when you visited, after few times when you got interested in what I was writing or when you saw that there was nothing new for few days?
2. If you read this blog regularly and have not subscribed then what have you not subscribed? Is the subscription link hard to find? Any other reason?

Bloggers, have you noticed similar pattern? What is your theory?

I will further explore the traffic patterns, subscriptions and gap in the postings. If I find anything interesting I will post them on this blog.


  1. Anonymous9:24 PM

    I subscribed after my third visit (I think). I liked the content and wanted to hear as soon as you updated it again.

    Further, if the topic of a particular post doesn't interest me a whole lot, I skip the post (much easier to do as a feed than opening the site in a separate browser).

    Also, subscribing to the feed gives me a consistent (font, style etc.) across all my other posts. Unlike visiting every site individually.


  2. It took me a long time to find your subscribe link. In fact, you'll remember, I thought you didn't have a feed until you told me otherwise.

    Considering the importance of subscriptions, a more-prominent call to action only makes sense. I like the one at

  3. Anonymous7:24 AM

    Hi Anil, Slightly related but different to what you are saying, I think that a good blog should be thought of as a book (not an online diary). WHere each post should really add (have poured) as much value into it as one possibly can. So isn't it that blogs have larger gaps in posts are more likely to have really good weighty post(worthwhile content) - hence attracting more subscribers. Rather than a fluffy my thought of the day - which is what alot of blogs do (not yours I hasten to add!). Yes deinitely a good RSS subscribe call to action will help though :)


I would like to hear your comments and questions.