Blog Visitors, Readers, Commenters and Subscribers

As a blogger, one thing you probably have noticed is the difference in numbers between the people who visit your blog, participate on your blog and actually subscribe to your blog. If you consider commenters and subscribers as “converted hits” on your blog, then you may find the conversion rate extremely frustrating.

Visitors vs. Readers

First off, how do you know if you are getting more readers vs. just hit and run visitors? If you have an analytic program such as Google Analytics installed on your blog, you will have an insight into this trend. Instead of just being fascinated by the number of visits, take a look at the New Visits percentage. Clicking on this statistic will show you the amount of new visitors vs. returning visitors during a specific time frame.

Next, how do you know if people are staying on your site and actually reading? Check out the Bounce Rate percentage, Pages Per Visit and Time on Site. The Bounce Rate tells you how many people are entering your blog on one page, and exiting without going anywhere else. Pages Per Visit, going along with Bounce Rate, gives you the average amount of pages that people visit while on your site. Time on Site tells you how long people are staying on your website.

Top Content

If you want to know what content is important on your site, simply use the look at the Content menu > Top Content. Select an article, and then analyze the amount of time people spent on that article and the percent of people that continued on to other pages on your blog or ultimately exited after reading that page. This tells you if the content was enriching enough to keep visitors on your site longer, and if you found was to entice them to check out more of your site.

Extending Visitors Stay

Once you know what type of content keeps people on your site, you will want to ensure that visitors continue to more of your site. This can be done by including links in your article’s content and at the end to related posts. Just be sure that the posts are as related as possible – someone reading an article about Twitter will be more likely to click on other Twitter articles than a random article about photography.


So now that you have found readers, how do you get them to comment? There are several ways to turn your readers into active commentators, including:

  • Leaving an article somewhat “incomplete” so readers will want to add their input to complete the information.
  • Asking your readers questions, so they know that their opinion is valuable to you as well.
  • Offering incentives, such as creating a Top Commenter list on your homepage, offering dofollow links, holding contests where commenters get a prize for leaving their opinion on a particular article, etc.


This is by far the most difficult conversion, from visitor to subscriber. While you can do things such as offer a free item in exchange for someone subscribing to your blog by email, sometimes you will find that people will subscribe, get their free item, and then unsubscribe. If you want subscribers that are going to stick with you, you have to get them to subscribe based on your content. Make sure that you make it easy for people to subscribe by explaining the basics of RSS, the benefits of RSS subscriptions and having the option to subscribe via RSS reader and email in various parts of your blog. You don’t want someone to reach the decision that they want to subscribe, and then have to hunt down the link to your feed. Then, your goal after that point is to make sure that every article sent to their RSS feed or email box is informative, entertaining and useful.

Also, don’t get frustrated just because you don’t have a high subscriber count. Remember that some people prefer other methods of being notified of your new posts over RSS subscriptions. For example, I find that I don’t subscribe to some blogs because those bloggers have found other ways to direct me to their new posts, such as sharing (but not over-sharing) them with me on StumbleUpon. Your readers may have many different favorite social networks of choice, so be sure to promote your articles on multiple social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Although it sounds like a time consuming task, it doesn’t have to be if you develop a plan and have the right tools to simplify the social submission process.

Your Thoughts

As a blogger, what do you find most important? Getting hits, readers, commenters or subscribers? What methods do you use and find successful in converting hits to repeat visitors and active participants on your site?

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  1. says

    I realize this wasn’t meant to be a “tips” article but it might be good to point to some of the resources for things like presenting related posts. For example there’s a WordPress plug-in called YARPP (“yet another related posts plugin”) that I use on my blog to automagically point to related articles.

    My view is that on a blog, a “conversion” could either be subscribing or reading an article then choosing to read another. Either action suggests that the visitor is engaged to some meaningful extent.

    As far as creating meaningful traffic, probably the best bet is to focus on the quality and relevance of your content. Not that it’s worked for me yet :-)
    .-= Mike B. Fisher´s last blog ..Store locator usability: problems and best practices, part 2 =-.

  2. says

    I find hits, readers, comments and subscribers to all be metrics that are satisfying in different ways: I want hits to confirm my efforts at getting exposure are working; unique visits to know I’m at least getting to the right audience; comments and subscribers to see if the level of engagement is increasing over time, if the blog is doing more than “being promoted well.”

    Thanks for mentioning the “top content” tab in Google Analytics: I haven’t used that very often, will have to look at it more closely.
    .-= ashok´s last blog ..On Socrates, Dancing and Philosophy: Xenophon, Symposium II 15-20 =-.

  3. says

    For me personally it’s got to be subscribers. I like people who are regularly reading everything and coming along with me as my blog grows

    Commenters are even better, but less than 1% of my audience actually comments, so I definitely don’t want to alienate the other 99.9% =)

  4. says

    All of these are valid considerations and it is really hard to say which one is more important than the other. Without visitors you won’t get readers and while in general I think readers are the more valuable metric, that is a function of good content.

    Comments are always nice too and it is an indication that you have engaged your readership. I know I feel awfully engaged as I’m commenting right now!

    Finally, subscribers are great, but like you said people digest and access content in different ways. I have found subscribes via email especially of friends and family to be a very valuable thing although it is harder for me to gauge the larger audience and my impression of the latter is that they tend to use an some kind of RSS reader or access the site directly.

    So what to conclude? What is the MOST important? I would say readers (how ever I get them) followed by comments.

  5. says

    I think it’s important to mention that Google Analytics is not totally actuate. It’s more like an estimation of what people on your site are doing. Even when you do get good at using it, it’s still really hard to determine the difference between a commenter and a hit and run visit, since blog spammers will try to leave comments and skew the results.

  6. says

    I’m with Sid in the presumption 1% of my blog readers (click my name above to see it) opt to participate as a commenter. That is, blog commenter. I don’t consider retweeters as commenters. So, I’d rather have a reader.
    .-= Ari Herzog´s last blog ..26 Blogs From A to Z =-.

  7. says

    Reading the comments… I gotta say I love retweeters. If everyone who visited my blog and got something out of it opted to help me promote in some way, I would be in 7th heaven.

    I love comments, and I know they help in many ways. But when readers can find other individuals, sites and communities to promote one’s work, it’s one of the best feelings in the world.
    .-= ashok´s last blog ..Notes on Dickinson’s “They say that “Time assuages”…” (686) =-.

  8. says

    At least once a day, I look at my pageviews for that day. Mostly because that’s the only thing that WordPress Stats are showing in my Dashboard just when I login. I do have the Analytics 360 plugin too so I can see my Analytics data right there in my WP Dashboard, but I tend to look forward to those data when I do my monthly round-ups, usually around the 2nd or 3rd in every month.
    .-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Meta Keywords For SEO – Don’t Bother, Says Google =-.

  9. says

    To tell you the truth Kristi, sometimes I get overwhelmed with the amount of work that goes into managing and promoting a blog.
    Some days I know that it would be best for me to just write some articles to promote my blog but I just don’t have the strength at that moment to write an entire article post form scratch.
    I think you gave some really great ideas about more content on one topic so that they will stay on the site longer. Just that tip alone has motivated me to write a bit more on some topics that are being read but I don’t have anymore posts on. Having a large amount of content on one specific topic will give them more time to get to know me better and maybe get motivated to subscribe to my email list.
    Thanks for these tips. As usual they are awesome and I’m going to make a to do list out of them to review my blog and see how I can make it better.
    All the best,
    .-= Eren Mckay´s last blog ..Whitney Houston on Oprah I look to you cd release =-.

  10. says

    Subscribers and fans i.e. “a community” are a key ingredient of popular web sites. They are integral to increasing the reach of your communications steadily month after month. If you don’t have a passionate, interested group of people subscribed to your site now, put a plan in place to acquire them. Building an active community is a pillar of successful social media marketing.All these thing are very much important at their own places.

  11. says

    Some people may not be interested in every blog post so subscribers is not an accurate measure.

    Difference between a commentor and a commentator. A commentor says what they think of your blog to you – a commentator tells everyone else…

  12. says

    You have a point. In fact, I am using google analytics just to monitor of my new and returning visitors or if that your visitors came from referring sites, search engines and and others. You can actually compare that you will know if your site is growing.

  13. says

    In my Opinion, If you are a “serious” blogger, what you want is that who so ever visits your blog, must read your article, provide “genuine” opinion. hence I feel “genuine” commenter are real essence of blogging.. Subscription only helps in getting your visitor back to you…and per me, blogging is not about getting any one back to you, but it is about sharing your views with the world and engaging yourself in discussion…
    .-= SeoInra´s last blog ..Want me to follow you on twitter?…10 Reasons I Won’t ! =-.

  14. says

    I want hits to confirm my efforts at getting exposure are working; unique visits to know I’m at least getting to the right audience; comments and subscribers to see if the level of engagement is increasing over time, if the blog is doing more than “being promoted well.”

  15. says

    You can include that replying to commentators and asking them back question is also an important part. This way peope more tend to engage them to your blog :smile:

  16. says

    @ Tom the Web PM – agreed entirely re: readers who promote your work. It’s the most important thing that can be done for a blog, really. I forget which SEO person said Google only loves you after everyone else loves you.
    .-= ashok´s last blog ..Note on Alice Shapiro’s “I” =-.

  17. says

    Bounce rate, have always loved that term and not real understood what it meat, had thought it told you who can and left straight away. So interesting to know its shows people that only look at the page them came to.

    One thing is I don’t know what is normal or average when it come to the stats. On one of my blogs I have 60% bounce rate and I have only got my other blog to compare to so not sure what is good and what is no
    .-= bibigallery´s last blog ..The Royal Academy of Arts presents art by Anish Kapoor =-.

  18. says

    If your readers are not happy then no one is. That’s just he simple fact of the matter. If they clicked through your Adsense then to them you are not the problem and they are happy but if they get bogged down on your site and don’t like the way it navagates or gives out information then they are gong to boot you.

    I also like readers who read, click through, subscribe and bookmark but I LOVE readers who link do follow to me!!!

    Cash – Earn online with Dan
    .-= Dan @ Cash Earn Online´s last blog ..Cash: Earn Online for Beginners =-.

  19. says

    I will say that my subscribers tend to be more loyal and have more value to my “personal” overall benefits of my blog. However, people who comment give me a real opportunity to engage, and interact on a little more personal level.

    There are so many different directives when blogging, thats what makes it such a powerful platform.

    Now if we could just get rid of the spam all together it would be perfect!

  20. says

    I’m an avid reader who becomes tongue tied when it comes to commenting. So many of the posts I read are well written and contain such valuable content that I read them two or even three times and bookmark them for future use. As they are in themselves complete I hesitate to leave a comment like “great post” because it’s lame but the truth is that I don’t always have anything meaningful to add to the discussion. What’s most important to me, unsurprisingly, is that my posts are read. I prefer readers to subscribers and I love getting comments.
    .-= timethief´s last blog ..The Definition of Stupidity =-.

  21. says

    You asked what I find most important? For me…I need to be informative. And I have about three seconds to do it before the reader navigates away from the site.

    I’m learning, although it is a slow process. But traffic is increasing and I guess that’s a good sign.


  22. says

    I find all three very important to me. I get frustrated at times with my daily visitors, return visitors, and commenting.

    I have been spending alot of time reading, learning, and improving my blog. My blog is definitely a defined niche for the MMORPG game called Aion. There are over a million players in the game, but drawing them to my blog is hard work.

    My most recent effort is to gain subscribers. These are the ones that become my return visitors. I recently read that the word SUBSCRIBE means paying money, and may scare people away from doing it. After reading the article I changed it from SUBSCRIBE to Get my blog Ad-free. Of course it may take away revenue, but I think eventually they will be some of your best viral marketers.

    I also took off my blogroll to keep people on my site. I made several different widgets to try to lure people to read more of my content. I now have Most Read, Favorites, Videos, etc.

    I thrive for comments on my blog. If I post an article, and it gets no response I feel I didn’t do my part to invoke the readers feelings enough to want their voice heard.

    I also have been very active within my niche posting comments on their blogs. I have even read that a disagreement comment gets more attention than all the great post comments.

    My twittering has also really helped. I try to engage with other twitterers in my niche along with my own personal tweets.

    I also added forums. So far this has been the hardest part to market. There are already major popular forums in my niche, and stealing them away is feeling almost impossible. I have my URL in every signature on every forum I visit. I get most of my visitors that way.

    I also recently decided to try out Google adwords. I am hoping to see great results, but it is too early to tell right now.

    If anyone else has any ideas to generate more traffic to my site please let me know.
    .-= Brian Inman´s last blog ..Manastones make me cry =-.

  23. says

    Kristi, I am following this tips some time ago and found that my readers spent good time on reading my content however few of them leave an impression so I am not worring about commenting any more; he/she who want to leave comment or even read silently are mostly welcomed!
    .-= Hicham´s last blog ..Blog Milestone: Comments =-.

  24. says

    I find mentioning up and coming posts to be a good way of persuading people to stick around and maybe subscribe. You have to give your readers something the other bloggers aren’t whether it be new views or different angles on common themes.
    .-= SEO wizz´s last blog ..A Few Things To Shout About =-.

  25. says

    For me – in order of importance:
    commenters – consistent commenting – especially meaningful – is what makes a blog alive. Having the same people come back again and again; engaging with each other is a huge win.
    I have no idea on what strategy to use to be successful here – other than to try write in a way that encourages feedback and always reply?

    subscribers, they are great, it’s a sign that there are people out there who are keen to be notified of new content, the more the merrier.
    Make it easy to subscribe, campaign every now and again. Make visitors, esp commenters feel valued.

    readers – the more readers, the more commenters. Keep content from being too long and boring.

    hits – really who cares – 10000 hits in a day without a comments is rediculous – something is wrong. Although the more hits, the more readers, the more comenters.

    .-= Phillip Gibb´s last blog ..A Very Merry Christmas to you =-.

  26. says

    I might be a little bit naughty, I subscribe to the position setting checked but I hide. Each of the comments will automatically get sent an email when I reply to his comments. At first I was a little afraid that visitors do not want to come back but I was wrong, my visitors is increasing every day and may be due to email subscribe and Dofollow title that I created for my blog
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