Are Your Followers *Really* Following You? – Why GFC Means Nothing

Are Your Followers *Really* Following You?
Note: In my title I say “Why GFC Means Nothing”, but really I’m talking about GFC and the two alternatives: Linky and NetworkedBlogs. I just didn’t want the title to be 5 million years long.

Today I’m here to talk about a topic that might be a little controversial: why GFC/Networked Blogs/Linky aren’t true determinations of how many followers you have. Instead, it’s an arbitrary number that shows how many people decided to click “Follow” when bribed with a giveaway.

One of the #1 reasons why people don’t want to switch to WordPress is because they don’t want to lose their GFC followers. But are those really your followers? Are those the people who check your new posts in their Blogger dashboard every day? No.

In general, I think people cling onto GFC/NB/Linky too obsessively. All those widgets display are numbers.. and inaccurate ones at that.

People follow because they have incentives

I think many of our followers only follow us when they are given incentive. They might follow us for a better chance at winning a giveaway, or in hopes that we will follow them back. But many of those people might never read or visit our blog again after following us!


Many bloggers host giveaways (including myself!). And many of those bloggers allow for extra entries (like following via GFC/NB/Linky, or subscribing via e-mail, or following on Twitter, etc.). But how many of those people ONLY follow you for the giveaway? I’m sure there are many people out there who follow someone via GFC for a giveaway, but then never actually login to their Blogger dashboard to read the posts of people they follow.

To Get You to Follow Back

Have you ever had someone comment on your blog something like:

I’m a new follower! I’d love it if you’d follow me back. 🙂

Now I know this won’t always be the case, but what are the odds that they followed you JUST because they were hoping you’d follow them back? Just because they clicked that “Follow” button doesn’t mean they check their Linky dashboard for new posts. It doesn’t mean they log into Blogger to read their “Reading List” of followed blogs. In fact, they might never visit your blog again! All that action means is that you get one extra number.

At what point do our follower counters become just a number, and not a real representation of our following?

How many of your GFC followers actually check your blog regularly? 50%? 35%? If you never offer incentives for following you (extras in giveaways) then the number is probably higher (70%+).

People are too attached to GFC/NB/Linky

I might get raged at for this, but I think some people are too attached to GFC/NB/Linky. I understand that some people have built up a huge number there and don’t want to let it go… because it’s a nice big number, but really.. how is that number helping you if people don’t really follow you that way?

I used to have Networked Blogs and Linky in my sidebar, but I removed them. Why? Because I don’t believe that most ‘real’ followers use those methods. If people want to follow my blog they will 1) subscribe or 2) manually check back regularly. Don’t believe me? See the results for yourself:

Poll Results – How do people really follow blogs?

I recently ran a poll where the question was: How do you follow blogs when you LEGITIMATELY want to stay updated with new posts? And as of today, here are the results:

Blog Followers Survey Results

If you look at this chart, you’ll notice that e-mail subscriptions and RSS completely dominate. Together, they make up 64% of your followers. GFC only has 12%, and NetworkedBlogs is barely on the radar with 1%, and Linky isn’t even there at all! So if you’re sporting those widgets, odds are most of your followers don’t actually follow you through those methods!

So how do we count our real followers?

There is no perfect way to do this. I use a combination of three methods:

  • E-mail subscribers. But not just the AMOUNT of e-mail subscribers, but the percentage of my subscribers that actually open the e-mails. People can still subscribe to me on a dummy e-mail account just for a giveaway. So when I calculate my real number, I only factor in the percentage who actually open the e-mails. This can only be done in more premium systems like MailChimp and a variety of WordPress plugins
  • RSS subscribers. There are ways in WordPress to calculate how many “hits” your RSS feed gets per day. You may have 500 RSS subscribers, but what percentage of those actually check their RSS reader and view your posts? In Feedburner, this is called “Reach”. Your Reach is the total number of people who have viewed or clicked on your RSS feed each day.
  • Unique visitors. Your unique visitors (NOT pageviews because one person can generate multiple pageviews) are a very accurate way of tracking followers. The only downside is that people who read your e-mails or follow your RSS WITHOUT visiting your blog won’t get counted.

You won’t get a 100% accurate number of you average these out, but it will give you a good idea. For example, someone could follow you via e-mail [+1 follower] and then also visit your blog [+1] but that should only be counted as 1 overall—not 2. But there’s no way to do this for certain.

Let’s ditch the fake numbers

If the only thing standing between you and WordPress is GFC, don’t let it. Don’t be afraid of “losing all your followers” in the move, because we’ve established that most of those “followers” aren’t actually followers at all! And, of course, if people are truly following you, they would follow you again on WordPress anyway.

So I’m calling out to bloggers, publishers, authors, blog tour hosts, and anyone else who asks for your “GFC followers” as a statistic: let’s drop all pretenses. Let’s stop pretending that GFC, NetworkedBlogs, and Linky actually mean something.. because honestly, they don’t. We all want more followers and more people to read our blog, but let’s go about it in the right way. Let’s encourage people to follow through the ways that actually matter: e-mail and RSS. Those are the followers that are more likely to mean something.

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  1. Wonderful post! You are 100% right.
    I had people writing to me “new follower” – some asked for follow back some not, but they never returned to comment ever again. The people who commented multiple times on my blog never told me they started following me.
    I noticed that publishers now ask more for stats than for number of followers, probably because of the things you explained in your post.
    I hope GFC dies, so I have legitimate excuse to remove it from my sidebar. 🙂

    Dragana @ Bookworm Dreams recently posted: Kindle Freebies for 10. May 2013.
    1. I’m honestly hoping that GFC dies too. Part of me feels bad saying it, but I think it would be good for the blogging community to let go of that widget.

      And you’re so right—legitimate followers never tell you they started following. They just do!

  2. My eyes! My eyes! This madness is hurting my eyes. hehe. j/k

    I know that these numbers don’t mean anything, and my GFC count is in no way stopping me from going to wordpress, which I plan to do in about a year, but seriously, I have gotten on some awesome blog tours (and gotten ARCs) probably because of my GFC count. If the blog tour peeps didn’t ask for them, I would get ride of GFC, NB and Linky completely.

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Stacking The Shelves #29: Nerds and Faking It
    1. I do wish blog tour hosts and publishers would realize how inaccurate the number really is, because then people would have less reason to hold onto it!

    1. And subscribers too! There are a lot of people who subscribe through e-mail and RSS but don’t comment, and subscribing through those methods don’t get you a page view!

      But yeah, comments are also a great indicator of followers and overall interaction on your blog. I think that’s a big thing that publishers like to see.

      1. I wrote a longer comment below, but I want to write something in reply to your comment here. I feel very hurt when people don’t comment back, especially since I don’t leave ‘one-liners’ on a post. You know the ones, like “Great review! Here’s my blog link….”. Or “Just hopping through!” You get the picture. Well, I take the time to write MEANINGFUL comments. If I’m leaving a comment on a review, I don’t simply write, “Great review!” I let the blogger know WHY I think their review is great. If I’m commenting on a post that’s part of the well-known blog hop “Stacking The Shelves”, I write something about the books I’m familiar with, and try to say something about the genre, etc. Yes, maybe sometimes my comments might be a bit too long. But I detest ‘one-liners’. To me, they’re just a way for the commenter to get a comment back. I truly attempt to interact with the blogger in question, so it does hurt when they don’t reciprocate. You know, I’ve heard the advice that, if you want your posts to get commented on, you need to get out there and comment on other blogs. Well, I’ve done that, and a lot of these bloggers don’t comment back. It’s very disappointing…. And I try not to say anything negative. If I ever do, I temper it with something like, “Well, every reader has their tastes. Me, I can’t handle scary books.” You see what I mean.
        I think the most disheartening thing about being a book blogger is that many of them (not all, of course) are only interested in what’s in it for them. They go to your blog because you’re having a giveaway, follow, and never come back. Right now, I’m having a giveaway, and one of the optional entries is commenting on one of my book reviews, and then letting me know which one they commented on. This optional entry has THREE POINTS. That means the commenter has three entries in the giveaway. Also, I’m giving one point for a free entry — following is optional. Well, I haven’t gotten that many comments… Also, people will enter a giveaway, and not thank the giveaway host for the giveaway. Not nice or polite, at all.
        Sometimes I think that people are allergic to commenting. (Another two cents today. Lol.)

        1. I totally understand where you’re coming from and I know it can be frustrating. I do think there are two parts to it though. Yes there are some people who just legitly don’t comment back EVER, but there are also some that might have a reason.. such as:

          1) Maybe the person is releasing scheduled posts but they’re actually away/on leave/on vacation/boggled down with work

          2) Sometimes I want to comment back on other blogs, but I can’t find a recent post that really interests me and I don’t want to be the person who writes the crappy one liner “Great review” comments. I read through their recent reviews and none of the actual books interest me, so it isn’t all that fun for me to read a review from it. I mean, I try to get involved, but it’s hard to come up with a really good comment if none of the posts catch your fancy! So it’s either don’t comment at all, or post one of those “not that heartfelt” comments.

          It can be tough sometimes!

          1. Yeah, I know…people are very busy. I try not to feel bad when someone doesn’t comment back. But it IS very discouraging, especially if I have commented several times on their blog, and they STILL don’t comment back. Eventually I stop commenting on theirs.

            What you’re saying about not being able to find any recent posts that interest you….now I’m wondering if my posts just don’t interest most of my readers… I do tend to write lengthy posts (as you can see from my long comments, lol), but that’s because I greatly enjoy writing. Also, I make sure my posts are entirely correct, in the grammar and spelling department, before I publish them. I’m a perfectionist in this area. I can’t stand reading posts with typos or downright errors in them. (Example: “He’s taller then she is.” instead of the correct “He’s taller than she is.”) I see this type of thing a LOT. People also confuse the verbs “affect” and “effect”, and I cringe when I see “alright” instead of the correct one, “all right”. Also, I don’t dumb down my writing. I read a lot of classics and literary fiction in my teens and twenties, so I tend to write in a style that an educated person will understand. Perhaps that somehow turns people off…. I don’t know. If that’s the case, how sad… My blog is very eclectic, and I happen to love YA fiction. A lot, if not most, of my followers are young adults. Maybe my writing doesn’t appeal to them. I want to be eclectic, though, and write reviews for different genres. So I just don’t know what to do…. To be honest, I have sometimes actually thought of not blogging anymore. However, I enjoy it so much!! And yet…all that work, and very few comments! The number of followers is totally meaningless. Absolutely. And then, the REAL kicker: I have TWO jobs, so those REALLY cut into my blogging (and reading) time!!! I’ve thought of having THREE separate blogs — one for adult fiction, one for YA fiction, and one for nonfiction, since I also love reading that. But I simply don’t have the time!! I did start a nonfiction blog, but couldn’t keep it going. So now I’m concentrating on the original blog that I started, back in September of 2010. If I ever get lucky enough to win the lottery, you KNOW what I’ll be doing with most of my free time!!! 🙂

            1. I mean that might not be the case. That was just something that happens to me *sometimes*. It might not be true for everyone! 🙂

  3. I 100% agree with you! GFC etc are not really a measure of any actual visitors to your site, but I guess if it makes people feel good, no harm 🙂 I don’t use them personally, but like you said, it’s easy to see in your analytics how many people actually visit your site + how many email subscribers actually open an email.

    Tanya Patrice recently posted: Pin Pushing {5 Things}
    1. Trust me, you will still have followers! Honestly, just let the chart do the talking. Most of your real followers don’t use GFC/Linky/NB. *Especially* the latter two. For every 150 of your followers, only ONE will follow you through NB or Linky, and only 12 through GFC.

      And then of course, if someone is a real follower and actually wants your new posts, they would follow you another way if you got rid of those widgets.

      I was a little nervous too when I got rid of Networked Blogs and Linky, but when I did, I noticed zero difference in traffic on my blog!

  4. Great post! I hate people who comment with a I-followed-you-follow-me-back. Even if I usually do follow back just to be polite. I tend to visit all blogs via bloglovin, I check my reader and go to posts/book reviews that I’m interested in. I totally agree we all need to pay less attention to the follower figures and more to daily stats. I tend to judge my posts success by the number of comments I get, I know if someone comments then I engaged their attention for a few minutes and that makes my day 🙂

    1. Honestly, if someone said to me, “I followed you on NetworkedBlogs!” I figured they were just bogus (since they never posted on my blog again) so I usually followed them back through the same useless method.. As in, I clicked the “Follow” button but never returned to their blog. So at the end of the day, neither of us got a new follower, but both of us got more numbers. That’s so…. lame.

      And comments are a great thing to measure! Honestly, only a small percentage of your followers probably comment, but comments are great for measuring how much interaction you have on your blog, and so many publishers say that they like to see that interaction and conversation!

  5. This is excellent! In my head I always knew this number wasn’t “real” but I still liked looking at it and working towards increasing it, etc, etc. When I moved to WP I lost a good chunk of followers which made me really sad… at first. It’s been about a month now since I looked at feedburner and it’s nice not to worry about it.

    Kimberly recently posted: Recommend Me a Book!
  6. *stands up and applauds* very well said my friend!
    I begun to realize this when I moved to WP and my GFC widget was gone. Did my Pageviews drop? no! Why? Because this number doesn’t mean shit.

    I compared my blog statistics to those blogs who have 6000 Followers and guess what, mine were sometimes higher. Hu?
    Is my Blog so awesome? NO, of course not, but it shows that these numbers mean anything. The real number are your pageviews and unique visitors. Period!
    Nothing else, should matter.

    However, as I am running Blog Tours, I always look at a bunch of different things. Pageviews when available, but also comments on Blog posts, Entires in Giveaways , user friendly layout, Twitter following and Facebook likes. But it’s not just one value, it’s always a combination.

    anyway, coming back, I do not even show my numbers on my blog anymore. I have it in the About Us section where authors and publishers get our contact, because they are interested right? I do not need to show my numbers off on my sidebar.

    What totally irks me is Linky Followers, this widget is so meaningless that I do not get why people have it up in the first place. People cannot even get your feed via this widget so it’s only numbers.

    Very awesome post!!

    1. Haha, exactly! The number means absolutely nothing. And the small percentage of GFC followers who are real followers would follow you again in a new way anyway.

      I love that as a blog tour host you look at so many different factors! That is awesome! I doubt most hosts take that much time to look at real numbers, which makes me sad. 🙁

      And yes, Linky is so freaking useless! My chart, with 0/150 votes for Linky just proves that. NOBODY uses that legitimately!

      P.S. Of course your blog is so awesome! 😉

  7. Yeah I have never checked a blog after connecting with GFC, it’s only been for giveaways and now I won’t enter a giveaway if its a requirement. I look at reach and unique hits but I’m not too hung up about it. I have a great group that support me and I adore them and that’s all that really matters!

    Danielle recently posted: The Weekend Edition #12
  8. I hate GFC and I hate the linky and NB widget. I’ve taken the latter two down before, but put them back up because people seem to “use” it, although I KNOW it’s a fake number. It also makes my blog look less professional, which I hate. That’s beside the point though.
    I brought NB back, because when people subscribe, they at least can get it in their FB feed, but hell, they can just like the facebook page at that point.

    Anyway, I never even missed GFC when they took it away from WP users. I was initially mad, but then I realized I had come to rely on it too much, but nothing really changed for me. Honestly, the less I have to rely on Google for anything, the better.

    Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog recently posted: Indie Author Excerpts: Tower of Obsidian by L.T. Getty
  9. Great post! I do have Linky/NB widgets on my blog, but I added them in the first place because I felt like I HAD to. Everyone had them. I knew they were useless, since I’ve followed blogs through them (for giveaway entries!), but don’t actually read posts through them. Yet, there it is on my blog. Makes no sense, right? I keep eyeing them and thinking about removing them (I find them quite unpleasing to look at, too), but every once in a while I do get a few hits on my blog from them which stops me.

    I know I personally will add a blog’s feed to Feedly and follow on Twitter if I really want to keep up with them, so I’m not sure why I feel like people should follow me in some obscure useless way…I’ve only ever hosted my own giveaway twice, so it’s not like I need them for extra entries either…I think this post has convinced me to just get rid of them. Less clutter on my sidebars!

    1. You should totally get rid of them! I honestly hate how much space they take up and I agree that they’re not very pleasant to look at.

      Even if you get one or two people who follow you through NB/Linky legitimately, my thinking is that if you were to get rid of those, they would follow you in another way in order to still get your posts.. whether that means subscribing, or liking your Facebook page, or just checking back regularly.

  10. Oh, Ashley! What an insightful post. I remember when I actually thought GFC meant something. This was especially when I just started blogging! It is a useless piece of shit, and I commend you for sharing the reality of it!

    Email subscribers are way more important than any other follower method. When people go the extra mile to open your email, and click a link, it say a lot. With Mailchimp, I see everything. I see who marks me as spam. I see who follows me for a week, and then unsubscribes after a giveaway has ended. I see their open rate and rating. I can discern who is a true follower. And I won’t lie, when people are not actively checking it, I clean them off my list. I don’t need fake followers. Might sound bitchy, but yah.

    To me, GFC is purely aesthitic. A collage of beautiful pictures featuring popular books, Yahoo avatars, and profile shots. Nothing to obssess over. Just a pretty little thing that means nothing. Like that awkward china shoe decoration that grandma has next to her TV.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. I think you hit it right on the head with this post! I know that I personally ONLY follow blogs via GFC for giveaways. The majority of the time I’ll also follow the blog RSS, since I actually DO want to read their posts, but I’m never going to use GFC to read a blog. When I’ve done giveaways in the past I always have a “follow me” option, but I let the PARTICIPANT pick how. GFC and things like are just so arbitrary and for the most part, useless.

    Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake. recently posted: Take a Chance on a Classic: Jane Eyre
  12. You are so right and I am so busted. I typically will follow via GFC just to enter a giveaway but the blogs I really want to follow (like yours!!) are through email. Blogging can be a #s game and I can totally tell the difference in interaction between the traffic from email followers and Bloglovin giving me my most traffic. Thanks for sharing and keeping us straight.

    Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories recently posted: Little Women Audiobook Review
  13. This is a really good and reasonable post! I agree with a lot of it, though I am guilty of still having my linky up, but really I keep it up, not for the numbers because mine doesn’t show how many followers I have until you click it, but because if people actually do still use it, I like to keep it there if they still want that option. Though I have linky, I never actually use it either. I follow all my blogs by email and just recently discovered bloglovin, which is my favorite blog reader I’ve come across. And when it comes to following back, I only follow blog I have a genuine interest in, which is one reason I don’t participate in Follow Friday since you’re supposed to follow everybody who follows you. I may post on your blog that im a new follower, but I never ask for a follow back since id rather them follow because they want to and not because they feel an obligation to. Great post!

  14. You, woman, are amazing, and I agree 100%! It is SO hard to let go off the GFC/Linky follower counter-mentality, but honestly, what is the point in having it say one million followers if they don’t even read your posts? I feel a little guilty for the whole “I’m a new follower thing,” and honestly genuine readers count a lot more than the ones bought by giveaways! Thank-you for writing this.

    P.S. I love your posts because you are awesome <3

  15. Well, I hate to admit it. But you’re right. *sulks*

    The traffic to my blog has /severely/ declined since my move to WordPress and largely, that’s my fault for messing up the RSS transfer, etc. And it’s kind of disheartening. I put so much time, effort and $$$ into getting the blog going that to see zero comments on a large majority of my posts really puts things into perspective. So when you did that tutorial about putting GFC on your WP blog, I jumped at the opportunity, thinking I wouldn’t feel like such an amateur anymore. Several days later and the traffic hasn’t really changed all that much, if you exclude my participation in the Spring Blog Carnival). So, just goes to show GFC is not some magical solution to reader issues.

    It’s a shame that publishers, etc. like to see numbers and my (re-)infantized blog doesn’t have much for numbers these days. Ah well, guess I’ll just have to rebuild the slow way.

    Thanks for your blatant honesty.

    Jessie Marie @ The Daily Bookmark recently posted: Stacking the Shelves (6)
  16. I prefer to follow blogs by GFC because I use the Reeder app on my iPad to read posts from all of the blogs I follow (which I think might depend on Google Reader? I’m not really sure… I just know what once I follow a blog via GFC, their new blog posts appear in my app). I am really reluctant to follow any blogs via email because I don’t want my inbox become too overwhelming, but I’ll have to look into subscribing via RSS more… I think that may work with my app (because I think that’s how I follow your blog, and your posts show up in my Reeder app).

    1. The Reeder app actually syncs with Google Reader. I guess the only bonus there is that when you follow someone on GFC you automatically follow them on Google Reader too. BUT, when Google Reader closes down in July you will no longer get your GFC subscriptions on Reeder since Google Reader will no longer exist.

  17. I’m going to be completely honest here and say I do follow a lot of people through GFC and I follow via email if there’s a giveaway BUT I do read the posts every morning when I open my email account. If the post captures my attention I also comment. I don’t have enough time to scroll down the dashboard but when I’m bored I do scroll down the whole day’s worth of posts.
    My blog doesn’t even have a lot of followers so I’m not obsessed with getting over one hundred followers or even more. If it happens I’ll be happy, but if it doesn’t, then I’m glad there are people generally interesting in my posts, even if there are only a handful.

  18. True story: The blogger I was at Blogger, and the Blogger I am at WordPress (self-hosted) are two TOTALLY different people. I am happier at WordPress than I EVER was at Blogger.

    When I left Blogger, I talked for weeks about my move, and I made several posts about it – two brief ones even AFTER the move to say “hey guys, I’m at (blog) now.” And ALLLLLL those followers I *thought* I had via GFC? Conservatively, I’d say MAYBE a third followed me to WP.

    And that’s okay. Because I have READERS now, and that’s what I always wanted.

    GFC is bull. Linky/Networked work on the same principle and I DO have them up for people that WANT to subscribe that way, but for the first time EVER, I have email subscribers, and I’m noticing more people signing up via RSS. It makes my heart happy.

    Honestly the main reason I EVER kept up with my stats like GFC was for publishers, and now I’m established with most of the ones I care about, so I feel so much more FREE now.

    Love love love love love this post. I hope GFC DOES go away, so that it isn’t a crutch for people anymore.

  19. AMEN! I’ve always thought my Linky widget was useless anyway, and I don’t even do giveaways (yet).

    I don’t like e-mail subscriptions, just because I get WAY too much mail everyday to have to deal with that. RSS subscriptions are definitely the way to go for me, and although I don’t understand the ins and outs of how it works, it’s how I survive going through tons of new posts everyday instead of getting them all through my email.

    Janita @ Book, Interrupted recently posted: Design Basics for Bloggers (1): What is Good Design?
  20. With GFC going away I have tried to push the following for that away from my blog anyways. I am trying to hard to follow my actual stats. I read that google analytics is a great way to do that. So I signed up. I just don’t think that information is accurate at all. I have had it for a month now and just don’t understand. I will have lots of comments on a post and then go to google analytics and it will show just one person has viewed that post. Do you know of a good way for those on Blogger to find out there stats (other then google analytics?)?

    I actually started blogging on blogger so I use GFC for my reader. You don’t have to only follow GFC blogs there I also add other types of websites. I mainly use it but I did set up an account for Bloglovin since google reader is going away and maybe GFC and will use that one when I have to.

    Another great post! Glad I found your blog (hoping around on the blog hop Friday night).


  21. Wow, Ashley. To think about it that’s REALLY 100% true. I know some of my GFC followers are legit but yeah…. With more than 400, I don’t see 400 comments or 400 pageviews on that specific post.

    I follow my FAV blogs by manually checking on them daily/when I have time (like yours) 😀 and sometimes I COMPLETELY forget to follow them via GFC but when I do, it’s a legit follow.

    Another wonderful post, luv! <33

  22. I’ve always been a dedicated GFC follower/reader, even before I started blogging. GFC was easy and went right to my google reader so the widget has always benefited me. And I would go through my reader almost everyday and pick and choose what reviews, giveaways and other posts I wanted to read. Obviously the google reader is going away… but I’ve moved on to feedly and love it a lot so far. I rarely check my email subscriptions because I hate it being clogged up with those. So yeah, because of my personal GFC use, I’ve always liked it. I can see things changing in July when google reader shuts down. I’ve never understood linky though. And I’ll probably get rid of NetworkedBlogs eventually.

    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted: Review: Click to Subscribe by L.M. Augustine
  23. This is so freaking true! You just said probably what so many of us are thinking. Personally, I hate all of those different ways of following! I use a rss reader, feedly, and I still open to the website fron that at least once every feed I check that day, so I can comment, and they get the page view. I hate the numbers thing but at the same time sometimes my girl April says I worry about them too much. one thing is for sure, I’m glad we don’t get a ton of entries into our giveaways because then I feel like it’s always a loyal follower that wi ns.

    A lot of bubbles will be burst when gfc dies andthey see what it really looks like.

  24. Meh, I look at them all over the place, but I rarely open emails, even for my favorite bloggers. I mean, I love some of them dearly, but do I read every post? Hell, no. I’m busy most of the time. I check it out if I’ve missed them all week, I check out their tweets more than anything, to be honest. But as far as one being better than the other?

    I think none of them are better. I think all of them are the same, I think no one gives a crap about what I post nine times out of ten, but every once in a while, they like what I have to say.

    I’m not a teenager, I’m not a young adult, I’m not even a new adult…I’m an online business person and I’ve been doing internet marketing for about six years now. The only thing I’ll tell you for certain is that NO contact is worthless.

    I have a pretty sweet business in the non-fiction world and I have a Twitter account with boatloads of contacts. I have a pretty nice FB page as well, sometimes I post on FB and I get 250 people looking at my post. Sometimes I post up something and I get 2000 people looking.

    I also have a Constant Contact newsletter account that I pay for every month, quite a bit actually, because it’s a big list. I’ve had that email newsletter for several years now, so I have a lot of data and my open rate is loads higher than the industry standard. And the industry standard for educational materials, which is what I sell, is about a 25%.

    I bet most book blog open rates are about the same. So, if your book blog open rate is above 25%, you’re golden. If 25% of your GFC followers are looking at your posts, you’re golden. Ditto for Blogluvin.

    You can’t predict who will be interested in what you say and when that will be. If people are interested, they check it out. They find it.

    Maybe your GFC followers hardly ever check you out, but you have an ‘in’. It’s no more or less worthwhile to have GFC than it is to have followers on Twitter, or Facebook, or Email, or Blogluvin. It’s all the same shit, because everyone gets their information different ways.

    Now, maybe you don’t care about having an ‘in’, in that case, why are you concerned about being followed at all? Having an ‘in’ means you have power, power to lend your power to others, say an author, to get their book noticed.

    Publishers and authors like bloggers who have power becasue they can get something out of you, either for free, or for trade. For my NF business, my contacts in my newsletter list give me the power to sell things directly to them, which is cool, but some of them never open the email, they like Twitter. Some hate Twitter and they only look at Facebook.

    So the best possible thing to do is have all these ways of following and reaching out. Having GFC on your sidebar isn’t going to hurt you, so why get rid of it?

    1. I never actually told people that they should get rid of GFC. My point is that we should stop pretending that the number are accurate. People walk around saying “I have 1,000 followers!” but they don’t. That number isn’t accurate at all. The point is that people should judge their amount of followers accurately. If you want to think of it from a business perspective, it’s like reporting false sale statistics, which could get you in trouble! Bloggers obviously won’t get in trouble for reporting their GFC follower count, but my overall point is just that it’s an inaccurate number to represent your amount of followers.

      I only said that I got rid of NetworkedBlogs and Linky because only 1% of those followers were actually “real”. And for me, it wasn’t worth it to have them on my sidebar. They take up space and look unprofessional (in my opinion). But I didn’t tell other people they had to remove them.

      And according to my survey, the percentage of GFC followers that are real is more like 12% — not 25%.

      1. And my reply wasn’t to you personally, Ashley, just anybody looking at this stuff. I get what you’re saying, but sometimes that follower who never looks twice at a certain blog, suddenly sees something they like, and that one day, out of maybe the whole year, they pay attention to that blog. Does the author being promoted on the blog that day care that the person never looks at New Adult Addiction? No. They care if that visitor clicks a link in the post the blogger agreed to put up as promotional material.

        So, you’re right the actual number has no meaning. But it does give the blogger potential to reach out.

        I have an email list of about 25,000 customers and when I send a new product newsletter, maybe-MAYBE-3,000 of them open it up, and maybe out of those few thousand, 1000 of them actually click through, and maybe out of those 1000, 200 actually buy what I’m selling that day. So yeah, it sucks that there’s 22,000 people on that list that didn’t open the email and I only sold 200 units, but that doesn’t mean that the same people who said no thanks this time will have the same reaction next time. Maybe what I’m selling that day they don’t need? But maybe next month I have something they do need.

        This holds true for authors and publishers too. Well, publishers probably understand this, but I doubt most authors do. It’s a time and numbers game. So even if most of the numbers are irrelevant as far as short term results go, they’re still relevant as far as long term investment goes. 🙂

        I do scroll through my GFC followers on my Blogger dashboard, I don’t look every day, but maybe a few times a week. I look at Blogluvin every day. I look at Twitter the most, but it’s hard to catch things on there if you follow a lot of people. I hate Facebook, so I try to avoid everyone who contacts me that way. In email, I look at my favorites, I look at your posts because you write actual articles. I look at cover reveals if I’m bored, I look at reviews if the title of the book is interesting or it’s on a big blog.

        I’m just like my customers it seems. 😉 Some days I buy what the blogs are selling, and some days not.

        Julie recently posted: EXCERPT: Lash by L.G. Castillo
  25. I completely agree with you!! When I switched to wordpress I had the same fear as everyone else but then I quickly learned I didn’t care about GFC any longer. I realized that people who actually click on RSS or Email are the ones who are reading my posts and reviews. I have Networked & Linky but I am thinking about getting rid of them. I have honestly never went to Linky to read blogs and Networked blogs maybe 5 times. Any blogs I follow are via email or RSS(which I am trying to use more now because its a struggle to try and empty out a mailbox of 200 plus emails everyone lol) and obviously the facts are there that everyone else does too 😀

    Lauren @ Lose Time Reading recently posted: Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
  26. I agree that the numbers are misleading and not an accurate way to track actual followers.

    Your poll and chart are interesting. I am apparently in the minority in my preferences. I rarely follow by email because my inbox is cluttered enough already. I prefer RSS, NetWorkedBlogs, and Bloglovin’. I actually use and check those daily and will happily sign up to follow a blog with any of those methods.

    I offer GFC, RSS, email, bloglovin’, linky, and NB to my followers as I want to make it as convenient as possible to follow me. But I also know not to get too excited about the numbers. Comments, page views and unique visits are better ways to determine your followers.

    Bea @Bea's Book Nook recently posted: Sunday Book Share #36
  27. I am so glad someone else has said this! As a fairly new blogger, I believe this to be 100% true, but am afraid I sound overly cynical when I say it. I don’t offer any incentives, so even though my GFC number is rather low, I am happy with it and I know that a good number of those people visit regularly because we are always exchanging comments. I hate to make blogging a numbers game, but when I see a blog with hundreds+ GFC followers and barely any comments, I just don’t understand. I don’t want to put any other blogger down because I know we all work hard at what is usually just a hobby, but I feel better about my low number when I step back and think about all the thoughtful comments I get and the fact that even though my following is small, it’s mainly made up of people I’ve made a connection with. None of this stuff is easy, but I think we’d all do ourselves a favor if we focused on quality instead of quantity. Thanks for a though-provoking post!

    Christine @Buckling Bookshelves recently posted: More Bookshelves!
    1. Thoughtful comments will definitely make you feel better about your blog than a higher number! Numbers can be nice, but if no one is commenting or interacting, then what’s the point? It’s just a number.. it doesn’t actually tell you anything or mean anything.

      But whenever someone comments on my blog, that’s when I get that warm fuzzy feeling!

  28. I have finally gotten rid of my GFC – partly because I realized the feed was wrong – no use having people try to click on the wrong feed – and partly because I felt that my blog was so cluttered with the different widgets for following.

    I have trouble calculating my RSS followers / readers though, but I only use the jetpack thing that was automatically installed when I got my WP blog.

    I do use Linky a little bit – but I don’t really like how it looks. The way I keep up with the blogs I follow is via Bloglovin, I love how I can read excerpts before I decide to click through and read the whole post. And most times, if I read a blog-post, I’ll also leave a comment.

    I might just decide to get rid of NB and Linky as well, the widgets aren’t very attractive…

  29. I am totally new to this blogging world, so what do I know, but I agree with you 100%. I love your honesty. I just don’t believe that everyone who is signed up through GFC is really reading my stuff. I have gotten so many of those “followed you, now follow me” comments. I would rather have 5 followers who really read my blog and like it, than a box with 500 people listed who never see my stuff.

  30. Fascinating post! I agree with everything you say! Since it’s late, I’ll be back tomorrow to read all the comments in depth. I just wanted to make one point. I can’t subscribe to any blogs by email, because then my inbox would be inundated! I don’t know how I’m even managing to do any blogging, since I do have TWO jobs…So email subscriptions definitely out for me. Besides, I already have a reading list (automatically generated from my GFC followers, ironically), so I don’t see the point of an RSS feed. (Maybe I need to be more tech-savvy, though.)

    Anyway, I do realize that these widgets are indeed disappointing, because people do click on the “follow” because of a giveaway, and might never come back. However, I’d like to point out that I have followed, and commented, on many blogs, and never got the same in return. In fact, there was one particular blog I was following until not too long ago, where I tried to comment on a pretty regular basis (like two or three comments a week, on different posts). I also had this blog’s button in my sidebar, because the design of the blog and button are just GORGEOUS. I also enjoyed reading the blog posts. However, I got tired of commenting, and not getting comments from this blogger in return. So I stopped visiting and commenting on that blog, and also removed the button from my sidebar. This blogger, by the way, had never put MY button in their own sidebar.

    I know that people are busy, but if someone regularly comments on your blog, and you never comment back on theirs, that’s just not nice. Also, if I see my blog button being displayed in a blog’s sidebar, I will immediately grab THEIR button and display it on mine.

    By the way, I never put this in a comment: “I’m following you, and would love it if you followed back.” If someone that I’ve just followed follows me back, that means they’re nice. If they don’t, that means they’re not. Ditto for comments and blog buttons. (Although with the comments, I have to be understanding to a point, but still….)

    There’s one blogger in particular who is EXTREMELY nice. His name is Brian, and he blogs at Babbling Books. He always makes it a point to come over to my blog and comment on my posts, and I always comment back on his. If I don’t do so right away, I start feeling guilty1 Lol. I think this is the courteous thing to do.

    One more thing: I’ve noticed that there are “cliques” in the blogosphere. I guess this is unavoidable, to a point, because everyone’s busy. But this means that the members of the “clique” only follow and comment on each other’s blogs. If a new person comes in, that person doesn’t get followed back, nor are their comments returned.

    My two cents! (For now, anyway….)

  31. Couldn’t agree more. I have always hated GFC and its siblings and resent people forcing me to “follow” their blog in order to enter a giveaway. GFC is useless and I would even go so far as to say that it’s used my ego-maniacs who like to delude themselves into believing their blog is popular.

    Book Wookie recently posted: The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
  32. I’ve entered giveaways by following via GFC before, and then never checked my Google Reader for new posts. It’s true that subscriber count and reader count are mostly unrelated. Recently I switched to MailChimp for email subscriptions, and now I can’t delude myself into believing that all 220 subscribers actually open and read my posts. It’s kind of healthy, keeping your ego in check like that.

  33. Hey, Ashley!

    I have to be out the door in a few minutes, to go to work (UGH!), but wanted to drop by and thank you for visiting my blog and commenting! You made my morning! Also, I’d like to know if I can quote this great post of yours, or perhaps publish the entire thing as a guest post on my blog. Let me know, okay? Hope you have a wonderful day!! 🙂

    1. My pleasure! Please don’t publish the whole thing, but you’re welcome to quote a bit of it and link to it. 🙂

  34. Pingback: What I think About *GFC* | The Book Babe's Reads
  35. That’s a really great post. There are rumors that GFC is disappearing tomorrow, but I’m pretty sad about it.It’s kinda nice to have that number up there for me, but I have a Bloglovin, so it’s okay, I suppose. I’ve never hosted a giveaway, so I don’t have any followers from that, but I do have those followers that do read my blog by typing in the URL every morning to see what’s new.

    I hope Bloglovin will be different, but I have a nagging suspicion that it will end up like GFC.

    1. Google Reader is going away but GFC is not (at least not yet). Many people (myself included) suspect that GFC will be scrapped at some point in the future because Google has not updated it in years and they’re pushing for Google+ as an alternative. But Google hasn’t announced that they intend to discontinue GFC.

      (It’s Google Reader that’s going away tomorrow!)

      I’m personally not crazy about Bloglovin’ just because they constantly have problems with their feeds not updating. Like when I make new posts on my blog they don’t always show up on Bloglovin’. It’s really frustrating because it means not all my followers are getting my new posts!

  36. I agree with you and I needed to hear this cause I’m one of those people who tend to obsess over the numbers and I hate that I do that!
    Thank you.

  37. This is so true! I think Bloglovin’ and emails really work… but what I think of why people STILL keep their GFC, Linky, etc. is for publishers. Maybe because when they request books from NetGalley / Edelweiss, they want to show that (let’s say) 700 followers on their GFC which means they’ll have a higher chance of getting an eARC or ARC.

    Leigh @ Little Book Star

    Leigh @ Little Book Star recently posted: Beat the Heat Read-A-Thon
    1. I actually think very few publishers care about GFC/”follower” numbers. I think at least these days, they’re more concerned with page views/unique visitors! Or if you want to include follower numbers too, you can always include RSS/e-mail followers.

      I just think it’s kind of cheap to “show off” a GFC number, when really it doesn’t mean anything. It’s kind of a fake number and it doesn’t really mean that you have 700 followers (or however many). Page views are more of a “real” number!

  38. I too, obsess over numbers. I’ve always loved writing but never had the time until I recently found myself unemployed after moving from California back to the Midwest after 30 years to assist with the care of my elderly parents. I just said, heck…I’ve got the time now so I might as well go back to my first love. I read somewhere that it will likely take about 4 years of daily blogging to actually make a decent monthly income from it and I believe that. I expect to be working full time again soon, hopefully, but this time I won’t stop. I will continue writing my blog for as long as I’m physically and mentally able to. I consider myself to be very good at what I do. Almost as if I was a writer in another life. It just comes very naturally to me. It always has.

    Oh yea…Great review! 😉

  39. A really insightful post Angie. Though I would like to tell you that I do visit blogs from my GFC feed sometimes, and many other people do so too. 12% of statistics, though less than e-mail subscriptions and RSS, is actually not that bad.
    GFC number is nothing to be parading around but it is still a viable option of following blogs.

    Karishma recently posted: Get on the train baby!

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