There used to be a lot of fuss about how unprofessional or cheesy-looking hit counters were on blogs (and websites in general). People were discouraged from displaying their site stats directly on the site but rather to provide a link to a publicly available stats summary if they so desired, such as SiteMeter, Extreme Tracker or Mint.

A recent trend on blogs has been to display the number of feed subscribers and many of the the big guys (Read/WriteWeb, TechCrunch, ProBlogger) down to smaller blogs are displaying their Feedburner subscription counts through a handy little button Feedburner makes available.

By the way, if you don’t like buttons or want something more suited to your site’s design, you can display stats via their API or if XML is a little scary try this feedburner awareness WordPress plugin or MovableType plugin or use this PHP code for any blogging system.

I’ve been wondering about the value of displaying one on my blog. Large subscriber figures are an indicator of current popularity, such as yesterday’s traffic site traffic summary statistics are but give more information. Just as bookmarks (e.g. on Technorati) can have more value than regular links, subscriber figures say that these people find ongoing value in the blog (and are comfortable using RSS), not just a one-off post that’s got onto the home page of Digg.

On the other hand, some may find that displaying subscriber counts may come across as an ego badge, just as hit counters or other stats bothered some people.

Do you find subscriber counts useful in determining the value of blogs, do you like seeing them as a matter or interest or are they unnecessary?

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