20 April 2009

Blogging Tips : 84% of People Would Prefer More Blog Readers than Twitter Followers

Blogging Tips

Over the last 10 days I’ve been running twin polls on two of my blogs - ProBlogger and TwiTip - asking readers whether they’d prefer more Twitter Followers or Blog Readers.

The overall results were fairly clear - 84% of those who responded people would prefer more Blog Readers.


I expected this result but was curious when starting the poll to see if there’d be a difference in the responses by ProBlogger readers to TwiTip readers (given the topics of the blogs).

Here are the results as they happened on each blog (at the point of writing this the ProBlogger poll has had over 1230 responses and the TwiTip one has had just over 700):


Again - the results are fairly clear on each blog although there is some unsurprising skewing towards Twitter on TwiTip.

The comments section on each of the poll pages (ProBlogger and TwiTip) really illustrates the Pros and Cons of each option quite well and is a fascinating read (at least I enjoyed it). People argued strongly for one or the other (although there were a lot more for ‘Blog Readers’ of course. Let me highlight some of the comments that caught my eye:

Arguments for Blog Readers:

“I chose blog readers. Twitter, for me, is like melted butter and the blog is the lobster. They can compliment each other very nicely, but if I have to choose one I want the one that provides the most meat and satisfies the hunger.” - Howard Hopkins

“People follow too much with the hope of a follow-back and don’t pay attention as much on Twitter. If they are subscribing to your blog, it usually means that at least one point they were engaged with your content enough to take action, they didn’t just go down a list of people and click a button. I’d trade every Twitter follower I have right now for a blog subscriber.” - Andrew

“The viral power of Twitter is amazing, but if it doesn’t convert to more blog readers, it’s just an ego trip.” - Janet Barclay

“Capturing and retaining a small percentage of faithful blog readers is more difficult and time consuming than acquiring and keeping Twitter followers. Blog readers are not easily replaced, whereas lost Twitter follower counts can generally be recouped within a day or so with little or no effort. Therefore, I would much rather have more blog readers than Twitter followers. There’s more of an investment and sense of loyalty.” - Snow Vandermore

“Definitely blog readers! I can’t type huge articles in Twitter, and plus the posts on Twitter scrolls so fast that most people will miss what you have to say.” - Kai Lo

“That’s like asking a newspaper: Would you rather have someone read your headlines or your stories?” - Jamie Littlefield

Arguments for Twitter Followers:

“I do think you have more ‘power’ with a large follow count on Twitter (and make of that statement what you will), but a large subscriber count on a blog monetizes significantly better.” - Sheamus

“With that said, as time goes by, I’m beginning to value Twitter followers just as much as my blog readers. While it’s harder to promote and convert Twitter followers using 140 characters than it is with full blog posts, the relationships that can be created on Twitter are very valuable.” - Jamie Harrop

“Depends on what business you’re in. If you have a media business model, a blog post offers more engagement (which translates into revenue via ads or some other kind of media-based monetization). But if you’re marketing physical goods, Twitter can spark a more immediate call to action (that is, it can drive demand and generate sales through other channels). ” - Jonz

Some Wise Words to End On

I think Monologue Blogger had some good thoughts:

“Both serve a specific purpose and yet both complement one another as well. I think first and foremost, it depend on the nature of your usage of both media and the goals you have in place regarding that media.”

Personally I would prefer Blog Readers to Twitter Followers (as I wrote a few weeks back here) however I don’t believe that there’s a right or wrong answer with this poll. Rather it needs to come back to your goals for using these mediums. It probably also has a fair bit to do with your personality, style, skills and the topics that you’re writing about.

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