Many new bloggers wonder why RSS subscribers are such as widely referred-to statistic, seeing as a lot of them don’t visit the actual site, but read the article in a feed reader, therefore robbing them of traffic and ad impressions, and reducing the likelyhood of commenting. Sometimes that idea pushes them to use partial feeds to force people to come to their website.
Darren Rowse has come up with the best response I have seen so far.
A subscriber that never visits is better than a one off visitor who never returns.
I had one blogger recently tell me that he’d removed the option to subscribe to his blog via RSS from his blog because he didn’t want to ‘give away’ his content. He wanted people who read his content to ‘pay’ him by visiting his blog (and earning him money from his advertising) and he saw RSS subscribers as ‘freeloaders’.
My response to him was that I’d rather have a subscriber who rarely visits my actual blog than a one off visitors who never returns because they have no way of keeping in touch.
RSS subscribers are your most loyal readers. When they subscribe they see every single one of your posts (though they may skip reading one here or there if they’re pressed for time, or just not interested). They may visit your blog some days, if they want to leave a comment or browse your archives. The point is: If your blog is good enough your RSS subsscribers will visit the website now and then, and more frequently than most non-subscribers probably.
They read your posts, and that’s the real point of blogging.