Speedlinking – 1 June 2007

RSS Feed Counters – Should You Reveal Your Numbers?

“Hi darren! you could perhaps write a post on weather or not one should display the number of rss subscribers even though you don’t have that many. Personally I think displaying them is a sign of honesty and those who don’t… I get the feeling of trying to be something they’re not.”

PS: I’m sorry but I don’t remember who asked this – if it was you shoot me an email and I’ll include your link.

Thanks for the question. It’s actually a topic I’ve been asked about numerous times and something that I’ve heard completely the opposite argument to – ie that bloggers shouldn’t show their feed subscriber numbers because it’s arrogant.

So – is it arrogance, ego and boasting or transparent and honest?

Ultimately it’s up to the blogger to work out for themselves and in my opinion either option is a completely valid decision.

I personally show my feed counter here at ProBlogger but don’t on Digital Photography School (update: I’ve now started following my feed counter on DPS too).

I originally left them off DPS because I didn’t think that I’d end up with as many RSS subscribers on that blog as here at ProBlogger due to the nature of the topic here appealing to a more RSS savvy audience. Instead I wanted to draw people more to the email newsletter subscription option. In fact it’s been quite a while since I even checked the Feedburner numbers on the DPS feed.

So has not showing the feed counter at DPS slowed the feeds subscriber count? Let’s check the numbers:


That feed is now sitting on 20,602 subscribers – not bad for just over a year of blogging on that blog (this graph runs from the end of April 2006). The big jump in numbers was when they started counting Google Reader subscribers for the first time.

So how does it compare to a blog like ProBlogger which has been showing it’s feed subscriber numbers for years (I don’t even remember when I first started doing it). Again – lets let the figure tell the story:


As of today ProBloggers subscriber count is sitting at 24523. The total is higher than that of DPS, but the graph above started in February 2005 – 14 months longer than DPS.

A few reflections on my experience:

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