I am going to admit something. I don't *love* google's follow feature. Perhaps that isn't quite the right word. I don't *trust* the follow feature. How many followers are actual readers? How often do followers actually read your blog on a daily, weekly basis? How many followers sign up to be followers so they can have a chance of winning something? How many followers follow so they can be followed in return? Does anyone ever follow out of pity or obligation? Be honest.
So I don't necessarily trust the number of followers a blog has. I don't think that number really matters. Because I think there are plenty of readers it is missing. (Readers who may or may not be counted in other ways statistically.) Readers who visit your blog. Readers who read your posts through email or through another reader. Readers who click through your blog roll. Or someone else's blog roll for that matter. The truth of the matter is, I have a hard time trusting numbers in general. Yes, you can find a number to see how many are subscribed this way or that. You can count the number of times your page has been loaded, and how many "unique" visitors your site has had. But you can't know for sure that those numbers represent real people who are genuinely reading your posts, who are appreciating what you do. (In my opinion, people matter, numbers don't. I don't think of a reader as a number.)
So is counting comments a better way of guessing how many readers a blog has? In a way. Comments let you know that there are some readers out there who care enough to leave a comment. But it is only part of the story. Because leaving comments takes time. Time that readers may not have that day, that week, that month. Also, there are times you read a post, like a post, maybe even love a post--but for whatever reason don't leave a comment. (Sometimes you bookmark a post with the idea that you'll come back to it later and comment.) (And some people read regularly and never comment.) And not all posts are comment-worthy. Meaning some lend themselves better to leaving comments. Sure, you can leave "great review" or "I want to read that" comments. (Or even "worst book ever" or "why oh why did my teacher assign this book" comments.) But comments aren't everything either. And it would not be good to depend so much on comments that you worry no one
Personally, I think you have to take some things on faith. If you blog well, you'll find an audience. You'll find an audience that loves what you do, that wants what you have to offer. You'll find an audience that welcomes and supports you. Would you really blog all that differently if your blog jumped from 100 to 300 followers? How about 300 to 600? Maybe you would. Maybe you wouldn't. I don't know. I can't answer that question for you. Would having a GIGANTIC following mean more pressure, more stress, more guilt for you? Would you feel like you're letting your readers down if you don't post? Would feeling obligated to post take some of the fun out of it? I can't say.
I believe in being the best you can be--though without stress, without guilt--no matter the size of your readership.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews