Brian Armstrong

How I Reached 2,000 Subscribers on This Blog

About four months ago I wrote

Congrats to this blog breaking the 1000 subscriber mark! It’s been a little more than a year since I got started. I think the next 1000 will go ever faster as we build momentum. Thanks to everyone who subscribed and commented!

Well, I’m pleased to report that as of today is has broken the 2000 subscriber mark and the Feedburner icon is currently displaying 2,037 subscribers.

Isn’t that interesting?

The first 1000 subscribers took 13 months. The second 1000 subscribers took 4 months. How long will the next 1000 subscribers take?

This is what’s referred to as a positive feedback loop. The more subscribers you have, the easier it is to get new subscribers. Why? Well there are a few factors…

  • Social proof. If someone casually stops by the blog and sees there are lots of people participating and reading it, they are more likely to stick around. Maybe those other people know something I don’t?

  • Organic search results. Google is fully aware of the number of subscribers to this blog (they own Feedburner). Google ranks sites with more subscribers higher in search results. As a result, the more subscribers you have the more traffic you will get from search engines which in turn brings more subscribers.

  • Word of mouth. If 2000 people get every message you send out, then they more people will forward it to their friends, digg it, bookmark it, etc. You get a network effect and more referrals with more subscribers.

One final thing I did to boost subscriber numbers is that I finally broke down and got an Aweber account. They handle the email subscription part of the blog so that when somebody types in their email (instead of subscribing to the RSS feed) they will get updates from the blog.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think Aweber is a very good service. To get the emails looking right was a huge hassle and I already found several bugs in their system. However, it is the best thing out there and the pros outweighed the cons. The good things about it are that it allows you to create some popup offers for people to subscribe and the email subscribers count toward your Feedburner icon. You can also schedule email delivery better than with Feedburner. Overall, I’m glad I did it despite the hassle.

I’m getting about 25 new subscribers per day with Aweber in place (not counting new RSS subscribers), and at that rate….I’ll be at 3000 subscribers in just 40 days! As I’ve written about in the past, blogging is not an overnight way to generate passive income. But if you can stick through it for a few years by having a topic you are truly interested in writing about…it can finally start to build momentum and turn into a nice passive income business.

I think StartBreakingFree.com is finally getting closer to that tipping point of being a popular blog. As with most passive income businesses, there is a disproportionate amount of work up front for very little reward. The real payoff comes down the road.

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