Blog Criteria – Why I Subscribe

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately…what prompts people to subscribe to certain blogs or what makes a blog subscription-worthy? (yes, just made that up…..). Before I get into what makes ME subscribe to certain blogs (and I’ll get into why I subscribe to some feeds and why I subscribe to only email lists….or both for that matter!)- I’d like to explain a little bit about what brought this about.

I guess you could say I’m still somewhat of a newbie when it comes to internet marketing/blogging. It’s been well over two years now- but my business and this blog have certainly evolved in a more organic way than a planned out, strategic business kind of way…until now that is. But more on that in another post!

As I’ve gotten more involved in the blogging and marketing side of things I’ve really started paying attention to the way people not only market but communicate with their lists. I’m not a stickler that I hear from people x amount of times…it’s nice, but I understand the challenges of doing that (which is why I switched to Aweber and will be setting up the blog broadcast!). It’s really about WHAT they communicate! I’ve noticed that bloggers do a better job of staying in touch AND marketing…not just pitching!

So here’s my criteria…just ‘my humble opinion’:

  • Do they practice what they preach? WordPress is a perfect example of this! As WordPress continues to grow and evolve, so will the people who teach it, write about it and run a business around it. But if someone claims to be able to perform a service for you- shouldn’t they be DOING it? If someone isn’t doing something as simple as blogging but they profess to be a WordPress expert of some sort…I’d be a little weary (and I’m not judging the ‘expert’ part here…WordPress is an amazing community with people at ALL levels…but you know what I mean!
  • Do they offer new & valuable information? I like the everyday rant or interesting tidbit just like the next person…but my email inbox is full enough without getting hit from lists I’ve GIVEN my email address to with a bunch of randomness!
  • How often do they pitch products? I love new products and seeing what’s going on in both the internet marketing space and blogging space…but if you ONLY pitch to me I’m gone.  Unfortunately this seems to be the trend with big marketers. And offering tons of “FREE and VALUABLE content” during a launch doesn’t really count now, does it?! I’m not asking for them to give away the farm…this is business and we’re all here to make a living…but it would be great if they offered up some of this ‘great content’ outside of the launch too.
  • What do their readers think of them? You can tell a lot about a person by what types of comments people leave on their blog. I don’t always use this as a gauge…but it certainly helps!
  • Is there a real person behind the business? One of the most looked at pages on a blog is the ‘About’ page….I know I always read it! Personally I love reading about the individual AND their business…you know the old saying “people do business with people they like, know and trust”.
  • Do they have products to sell? If I like the blog enough to subscribe to it- I’ll probably want to buy more if the content is good! I’m TOTALLY grateful for all the fabulous, free, blogging goodness that comes regularly – but again, this is BUSINESS! Sometimes the best ideas come from watching how someone else has done something. I look at information products as inspiration! Keep em’ coming.  And yes…my ‘store’ page still says coming soon. But not for long! 🙂

So what makes me subscribe to a feed vs. email or both? Well, the feed is when I want the information asap! 😉 There are a few feeds that I subscribe to because I want the info. asap….. and I’m sure I subscribe to those email lists as well (these are also on my iGoogle homepage). It usually starts as the email subscription because they had a great free ebook or report….then I find myself visiting the blog pretty regularly and it just makes sense to subscribe to the feed. And honestly…it keeps me on my toes! Seeing how often other people update their blogs inspires me…AND gives me ideas.

How about you? What are some of the criteria YOU look for when subscribing to a blog?

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  1. A few weeks ago I started using RSS feeds just like you describe in your article and for the same reason you outline, Kim. And of course, The WordPress Chick is one of the sites I follow via RSS.

    I added the MobileRSS app to my iPhone and sync it with my Google Reader account. I check my RSS feeds first thing in the morning; it helps to keep me motivated (or get me re-motivated) when I see some or most of the folks I follow have posted something new.

    Being able to follow people (and news) in near real time helps me to stay current. Although I get a weekly email broadcast from Kim and others, I know some posts spur will me into action on a particular item that day and I want to make sure I get to it quickly.

    I also follow Kim and others on Twitter and Facebook, but I'm not always watching those feeds so the RSS reader is a great tool for me.

    Here's how it kind of breaks down for me:
    RSS feed: first thing in the morning
    Twitter: periodically throughout the day
    Facebook: I'm on 1 to 3 times per day
    Email: daily or weekly email; if I miss a feed or tweet, I'll certainly see the email

    Using all of these tools keeps me 'in the loop' with the folks I follow. I also encourage my clients to use these techniques with their followers. I remind them that the more ways their followers/fans engage with them, the more likely they will see their messages.

  2. Thanks Rick-
    Loved the breakdown of how all these tools work for you. I'm definitely going to add the mobilerss app to my iphone too!
    Staying in the loop is a HUGE motivator for me…(and unfortunately can be a bit of a distraction sometimes too- depends on how my work flow is going that day!).
    Thanks for subscribing to my feed….it's much appreciated.

  3. I agree with a lot of these reasons and I especially like the fact that you included if they sell anything. I couldn't agree more about the whole business aspect of that.

    Another reason I would add is if the writing is well done. I'm always trying to improve my writing and following blogs that have well written posts helps.

  4. Hey Chris,
    Great point about the writing! 🙂
    I look at the writing the same way I look at the visual side of things…if it's not appealing right off the bat…I bounce! It doesn't need to be 'Elements of Style' writing…but it needs to be appealing and it's important that it's done in a way that makes you feel like you're getting to know the blogger a little.

  5. I will subscribe to a blog if I can constantly learn something from it. In other words I need value from the site. It might be something like learning about WordPress or even new technology. I like to keep up to date with the latest that is going on in the industry.

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