On the weekend, I posted a little tiny post about the new theme I just adopted. I was absolutely blown away when I logged in on Sunday to find that it was about #6 in the top WordPress.com posts at that time.
I sat there scratching my head trying to work out why? It didn’t have a sensationalized headline. It didn’t have any insightful commentary. It didn’t get linked by anyone. Then as I read the comments it struck me that the only thing it did do was convert my RSS audience into web traffic. As it was about something that you had to actually see on the site, rather than just being able to glean from your RSS reader, a whole bunch of people actually bothered to click on the link to visit the actual blog, rather than the virtual version.
Since I went through blog burn-out a little while ago, I’ve taken the advice of people like Matthew Ingram and Paul Montgomery and I’ve been paying far less attention to traffic. If I needed a reminder that blog traffic is relatively meaningless than this was it. Fact is, as much as Feedburner and so forth can tell you how many RSS subscribers you’ve got, the reality is if you’ve got full feeds you’re never going to know how many people read each post.
It also made me realise just how much traffic RSS feeds steal from websites!
Now, I don’t care. I blog because I’m trying to get my ideas out there so its of little concern to me if people read in RSS or on the blog (my dislike of RSS for that reason is purely philosophical not functional). But try telling a publisher that they can publish full feeds and not only cannibalise their web traffic but also lose control of knowing which of their readers are reading what.
They’re just gonna love that.