Before you start creating a ton of content for your blog, just hoping for random people to start stumbling upon your site, it’s important to put the right tools in place to get it noticed. A big part of this is working to connect your blog to the major social networks, as well as a better way to connect with your readers through e-mail and RSS.
Don’t know how to do this? Don’t know the deal with RSS and why it matters? Don’t worry: we’re here to help you out with that too.
RSS and E-Mail Subscriptions
What is RSS and what is with all this talk of feed readers? RSS, most commonly understood as Really Simple Syndication, is a family of web formats that are used to publish frequently updated work, as would be the case with blog entries. By offering an RSS feed, readers are notified when there are new posts on your blog and they are able to read these new articles through services like Google Reader.
The good news is that WordPress will automatically generate an RSS feed for your blog and this can be accessed at https://yourblogdomain.com/feed. The bad news is that this feed can be somewhat limited in its functionality and that’s why we recommend that you sign up for a free account with Feedburner.
By allowing Feedburner to manage the RSS feed on your blog, you are able to know exactly how many people are subscribed to your feed, as well as other useful tidbits of information. You should promote your RSS feed on your blog as it helps to grow a loyal readership.
Even for people who don’t use feed readers (also known as aggregators) like Google Reader, RSS has immense value. That’s because Feedburner also allows you to offer e-mail subscriptions. When someone signs up for your e-mail updates, he or she will get an e-mail message when you have a new blog post. This encourages repeat readership and brand loyalty.
A Facebook Fan Page
Every blog should have a Facebook fan page. Note that this is distinctly different from your standard Facebook profile page, because a fan page is not associated with a person; it’s associated with a brand or product. In this case, that would be your blog.
While you are limited to the number of friends you can have on Facebook, you are not limited to the number of fans you can have on a Facebook page. It also helps to separate your personal life from material that is directly (and only) related to your blog.
You can even syndicate the RSS feed from your blog through your Facebook fan page. Check out Facebook applications like Social RSS and RSS Graffiti to do that.
A Blog’s Twitter Account
Twitter is a great way to stay connected and engaged with the readers on your blog. Every blog should have a Twitter account. This way, readers can interact with you in real-time, helping you “retweet” your blog posts, promote your contests, and all sorts of other wonderful things.
Just as you can syndicate your blog’s RSS feed through e-mail and Facebook, you can also do this with Twitter. There are many different ways to do this. There are WordPress plugins, like WordTwit, that offer this functionality, as well as online services like SocialOomph and Hootsuite.
Other Networks and Services
As much as we love our own blogs, not everyone has the time to visit each blog they enjoy every day to find the latest content. That’s why RSS, Facebook, and Twitter are such powerful channels for staying connected with your readership.
Depending on the nature of your blog, it may also be worthwhile to connect your blog with other social networks too. Flickr is great for images, YouTube for videos, and so on.
Be sure to do “cross promotion” with these accounts too. Actively promote your Facebook and Twitter profiles on your blog, and actively promote your blog on your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts too. This greatly helps to strengthen and reinforce your blog’s brand, lending itself to greater success.