There are a few basic and important things that make a the big blogs stand out, statistic wise, from all the rest. These are traffic, inbound links, conversions and of course the number of people subscribed to its RSS feed. A blog with let’s say 2000+ readers is a sign that the respective blog is a well established one, with regular readers and is regarded as a authority. It is very important to not underestimated the importance of the feedcount. To help you all increase your feed I’ve devised 9 step ultimate guide that are sure to boost your RSS numbers no matter what, from a few tens of subscribers up to a few hundred.
Firstly, if you haven’t already, you should sign up for a account at feedburner.com, it’s the best RSS count tracking service you can get. Just follow the simple steps in the FAQ and you’ll have your feeds up and ready for counting in no time.
1. Don’t display your subscriber numbers if they’re too low. A common mistake blogging beginners make is displaying they feedburner count when at really low rates. You have to understand that humans most of time work under the ‘flock’ principle, we’re all basically sheep , so when ever you see a small community you don’t really have any desire to join it. Same things apply for RSS counts as well, if you see “3 readers” in the chicklet you will most certainly feel this isn’t a active community and might not want to subscribe to the respective feed. At what time do I recommend displaying the feedcount? I would say 50-100 is a decent number, but i would go as far as 200.
2. Make subscribing as easy as possible. It is extremely important to highlight various subscription methods to the user; what I recommend is you use the standard RSS icon and make sure it stands out, also add some a few addition popular subscribing methods like bloglines, Google reader, MyYahoo, netvibes etc.
3. Inform people what RSS is. A lot of internet users on the web don’t know what RSS is and how to subscribe to a website. It’s very important you make a page on your blog dedicated to informing and schooling users on what RSS is and how to use it. You can see a sample on how to achieve that at my Subscribe landing page.
4. Ask people to subscribe to your feed. You know how sometimes kinds words or a simple “please” can do wonders? It works for blogs too, just add a little strip of text at the end of your post saying “If your enjoyed this post, then might consider subscribing to my RSS feed.” If you’re a first time visitor to this then you may have noticed the cool square at the beginning of the post.
5. Divert your feed. If you didn’t know it already it’s possible to direct your subscribers that receive feeds from “yoursitename.com/feed” to your feedburner account. Thus your feed count will considerably grow and you can be rest assured that all your subscriber are accounted for. You can do this with a handy plugin called Feedsmith, supplied by the lovely people from feedburner.
6. Provide full feeds. If you using WordPress 2.0+ then you know that your feeds are partially displayed by default, so that users if they want to read the whole post have to visit your blog. This is a major drawback, it’s very important to provide full feeds so that you have a consistent large readership. To display full feeds I use and recommend Cave Monkey’s Full Text Feed, a very handy pluging and requires only uploading and activation, nothing else.
7. Submit your feed to directories and forums. By submitting your feed address to feed directories, forums and feed pingers you will drastically improve your feed count. Dot Sauce has compiled a very good list of 55 active RSS directories to help you improve your rankings.
8. Offer a e-mail subscribing option. A lot of people don’t like to use RSS readers, so for that particular category of people you should provide a e-mail subscription service. Feedburner has such a service incorporated by default, you just have to login to you control panel and activate it. Optionally you can display a e-mail subscribing form.
9. Reward your subscribers. An other method that could help your feed count boom is offering your readers a incentive for subscribing, preferably a freebie, whether it’s a free e-book or, as it was the case of very successful campaign a friend of mine launch, giving out free pens with your logo for subscribers. Be creative and think of cheap, but fun rewards.
Hope this helped, if it did you might consider subscribing to my Full RSS Feed. I’ll be covering a lot of great tips such as the ones above in the future.
This article is part of the Building RSS Group Writing Project.
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