How To Use RSS Feeds And 6 Ways To Increase Subscribers
When you start a blog, you probably have 2 objectives in mind.
1. Write Great Content
2. Attract Lots Of Readers (Or get traffic & and make money)
In the very beginning writing great content is pretty easy. There’s nothing holding you back from doing it. Attracting lots of readers however, that’s a whole other ball game. There’s promoting your blog by doing things like guest blogging, blog commenting, social media and of course link building. You also need to create the perfect mix of blog traffic.
That stuff will get you a long way, but you know what all the biggest blogs have in common? They have thousands of RSS subscribers! RSS stands for really simple syndication. Kind of simple really (LOL). Anyway, building a huge group of RSS subscribers is what’s going to take your blog to the next level. The level of online dominance and becoming a true authority in your niche.
Basically, an RSS feed is an online feed of regularly updated content. Content like blog posts, audio and video. In your feed, you can show your content in full or in short snippets. RSS feeds allow your readers to get your blog posts instantly delivered to them in many different ways. So if you don’t have a feed setup, you need to head over to Feedburner (ran by Google) and setup a feed for your blog.
Also make sure you enable email subscriptions. Out of all delivery options I’ve tested, people seem to love email subscriptions. Think about this for a second… over the period of months or a few years you build up 10,000 RSS subscribers. Whenever you publish a post, those 10,000 people will be instantly notified about your blog post and get a link to your post.
Even if just 50% of them click onto your post, that’s 5000 visitors! Think about what that traffic could do for you, for virtually no extra work. Should RSS subscriptions replace email marketing? Nope, you should still focus on building an email list, more than RSS subscriptions. BUT – if you can have both why not ehh?
Here are 6 interesting ways to get more RSS subscribers starting today:
1. Promote Your Feed Above The Fold
We all know that if we want to promote something, we should do it as close to the top of the page as possible. People pay attention to things above the fold, they just do.
So if you would like to gain A LOT of RSS subscribers and start a steady growth from today onwards, place an icon/link to your RSS feed above the fold. Just make it a prominent feature that readers can’t miss when they visit your blog.
2. Place RSS Icon In Sidebar
This is an essential step you must take if you want to increase your RSS subscription rates. It’s a very well known fact; the more people see things the more likely they are to check it out. In feedburner, you’ll find several RSS icons or you can just search for them on Google. Here’s just a few of the hundreds of available icons out there:
You should really place a LARGE RSS icon in your sidebar with a strong call to action saying “Like my stuff? Get updates via RSS; click the icon to learn more”. The key is to promote your feed in several places. It’s not exactly rocket science, but most people need to be told something they already know before they take action.
3. Teach Your Readers
The problem I had when I started using RSS feeds was that 95% of people didn’t have a clue what they were or what they did. Even today at least 90% of people don’t know what RSS feeds are, yet they are used all the time. Anyway, you need to educate your readers on exactly what RSS feeds are. Teach them what they are and how they can subscribe to your feed to get updates on your blog posts quickly and easily.
4. Create A Dedicated RSS Page
As I said, most people don’t have a clue what the hell RSS means. So you need to educate them, a dedicated RSS page can do exactly that and it will also boost subscription rates dramatically. A great example of someone who’s done this successfully is Copyblogger. Check out his page:
That’s what a good RSS page looks like and you can check it out live here. Once created, make sure you promote it A LOT. Put P.S. lines at the end of your blog posts saying “Click here to subscribe to the RSS feed to get regular updates”. Put a link to the page in your blog’s navigation bar.
5. Promote Your Feed Off-page
You can just use the above techniques to build your list of RSS subscribers, and you should use them more than anything else. Saying that, you can greatly promote your feed by off-page stuff. From my testing and reading elsewhere, I’ve found that guest blogging really is the ultimate way to promote your feed off-page. In every guest post you publish on another blog, you’re generally allowed 2 links to your website/blog.
One link can go to your homepage and the other can go to your feed. It works VERY well. Besides that, promote it in emails! The chances are your subscribers are either subscribed to your RSS feed or email list. Only a very small percentage of them will be subscribed to both. So to make your email subscribers signup for RSS updates, use P.S. lines in your emails linking to the email subscription page of your RSS feed.
6. Offer A Bonus
Everyone loves free stuff right? Offering a bonus is essentially bribing people to subscribe to your feed. Don’t worry; it’s a completely ethical bribe. Like anything, if you want people to do stuff you can offer them an incentive. Just like you use opt-in bait to capture email subscribers, do the same for your RSS feed.
Offer a free report, video, plugin or complete training series when people subscribe to your feed. It’s very easily done with WordPress and Feedburner.
That just about wraps out 6 interesting ways to get more RSS subscribers. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of Really Simple Syndication. A lot of huge blogs don’t even use them. They are making a huge mistake! However the smart guys heavily use them. For example CopyBlogger, a huge Internet Marketing blog that has something crazy like 100,000 subscribers.
Whenever they publish a post, 100,000+ people get notified and the post gets flooded with traffic, I’m talking like 10-50,000 visitors. Think about what that could do for you in terms of monetization and even Alexa rankings. Without the RSS subscribers, CopyBlogger may get 1000 or 2000 visitors, just from the traffic that naturally goes to the homepage each day. With them – 10-50,000. You tell me, do you think its worth using RSS feeds?
P.S. Let me know your thoughts, questions and comments in the box below.
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