Followers are important...how important?...I think it all depends on the purpose of the blog. I will just focus on my personal reason for believing followers are important for my blog.
I use my blog as advertisement for my beauty/book boutique. This serves a purpose for my local followers/clients for contests to win a service in my salon or book of choice...and keep up on what's offered in my boutique.(still working out the kinks on this but totally having fun doing so)
For my non-local followers, I hope I serve a purpose of enjoyment by sharing my experiences of Life and books reviews.
Of course, all of my followers do not read all posts...as I can't give the time to read all of the blogs I follow. But how gratifiying it is when I do receive comments of "love your blog", and other comments on my post(s) I appreciate that feedback...I'm sure I would get discouraged if no one commented at all...but, I don't see how that's possible as long as I'm active and put forth the effort to comment/visit other blogs...it comes full circle.
Followers are quite nice, and it's always an ego boost when you add another one, but they're not as important (as many people here have already pointed out) as people who actually read your blog. I've got a merry band of readers and commenters, all of whom I know check my blog pretty regularly because I write about the things they're interested in (mostly Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, Ross Thomas, obscure 20th century thriller and genre writers, and a few comics). I've only got 23 'official' followers, but the amount of hits I get, and the links I get from blogs like Killer Covers, Violent World of Parker and The Rap Sheet, far outweighs that small number.
Great question! I've been meaning to post something similar to this.
My question would have been "If you post on here to ask for followers do you really want TRUE followers who want to read and ponder your blog or are you okay with people just agreeing to follow your blog in trade for you following theirs?"
I tend to only follow blogs that: really grab me; and ones that are operated by people I now.
I love having followers but I really want to reach out to followers that will be meaningful followers; followers who will gain something by following my blog.
I have thought about this too a lot. Since I have seen blogs with a lot of followers, but no comments at all. So do anyone even read the blog? Of course I know big blogs with not that many comments, but those are well established, as for new blogs. But in this world followers count if you want atuhors to notice you.
As for me, I love my followers, they comment, I comment, and I am happy. I will rather have that than a 1000 followers
I've said it before: not all followers are created equal. I think the idea follower is someone who is interested in your blog and will read it consistently. This is not always marked by a "follow": some will follow you through RSS, or Twitter, or Facebook, or email, or just by typing in your URL on a regular basis. So don't get caught up with that one number. (Also be sure people can keep up with your blog in whatever way they want. Not everyone "follows" in the same way).
Follower counts can also be misleading if a blog requires a follow for giveaways or contests. These tend to be low-quality followers in that they don't continue reading after the giveaway is over. This is likewise true with bloggers who auto-follow back. Sometimes this can create a good reader (one who reads regularly, comments, reblogs, etc) but I don't think the percentage is high.
One other thing to think about is a blog's age. You can't really compare how many followers a 4 year old blog has to how many a 3 month old blog has. If you care about such things, compare your follower count to other blogs in the same nice and of the same age.
Last thing: if you want more high-quality followers, become a high-quality follower of other blogs. Read them regularly. Make useful, non-spammy/self-promotional comments. Link back to things you think are well done. If you do this consistently, your quality reader count will grow over time.
Hope some of this is helpful,
Great discussion question. I think counting followers can help or hurt, depending on the number a blog has. I know if I see a site with several hundred followers I usually won't comment (unless there's a giveaway I'm interested in) because it almost seems impersonal to me. Why comment if it's just going to get lost in the 150 other comments on the blog?
For my own blog, I liked seeing I had followers in the double digits. And I'm happy to follow anyone's blog. But if I'm being honest I know several of those people won't be back because we don't have similar book interests. Now that I have a few followers I'm starting to feel more comfortable in looking for/commenting on blogs that are similar to mine (YA fiction) instead of following any blog, whether I'll be back to visit it or not. It seems like commenting on other blogs brings people to site more than following does.