As much as we all love visitors to our site and watching our Google Analytics tick up, RSS subscribers, for most blogs, are more valuable.
Not only are they some of your more frequent visitors, thus helping with your aforementioned traffic, but they are also your best community members, leaving the most comments and adding the most to your site.
Where a non-subscriber may visit your site once, once a week or whenever they remember to check out your blog, those who get your RSS feed interact with your content much more regularly, usually soon after you post.
So how do you turn casual readers or even repeated readers into subscribers? There’s no magic bullet and you certainly can’t win over everyone, but there are things you can do to encourage them to take that extra step and become more involved in your site.
Here are just a few.
When trying to get your readers to subscribe to your site, it pays to look at your own RSS reader (if you have one) to see what sites you added and why. Once you understand what it was that made you click, it’s easier to figure out how to draw readers to your own feed.
Beyond that, here are a few things to consider as a part of any effort to attract new subscribers.
1. Consistent Content
Blogs that have a variety of content tend to do better in search engines but do poorly with subscribers. On the flip side, blogs with consistent content encourage people who are interested in that topic to subscribe.
Work within a niche and grow inside it. If people feel they know what to expect from your blog and the signal to noise ratio is favorable, they likely will add you to their RSS reader. If that isn’t possible, you can always add a recurring column to your site that readers can depend on and expect.
If you do that, you’ve giving them something that they might miss if they don’t follow your site more closely and that’s a powerful motivator in subscribing.
2. Full RSS Feeds
This one really doesn’t need too much explanation, but offering a full RSS feed is important as they are strongly preferred to partial feeds by subscribers. Even better, partial feeds do not dramatically increase the number of clikcthroughs the feed sees, meaning that readers are not likely to “avoid your site” by getting the full feeds.
There are risks associated with full feeds, one of the bigger ones being content theft. But as you can see in the article above, there are ways you can protect your content from spammers without truncating your feed content. Those methods are much less annoying to readers than having to click through to your site to read the full content.
That, in turn, gives readers a good reason to subscribe to your feed, making it much more valuable to them.
3. Clear RSS Icons
If you want RSS subscribers, you have to make them a priority on your site and that means modifying your site’s theme to include prominent and clear RSS icons.
Though you don’t want to go overboard, it should be clear at a glance where and how users can subscribe to your site. The easier you make it to subscribe, the more people who will do so.
Whatever you do though, do not rely on feed autodetection alone to get your users to subscribe, not only do many people not know how to use it, it also doesn’t work well with many of the most popular subscription methods.
4. Add an Email Option
Many people aren’t comfortable with RSS readers and don’t wish to use one just to read your site. However, nearly everyone has an email account (or seven) and most subscribe to some email newsletters.
If your site caters to a tech-savvy audience, this may not be very crucial, but if your readers are not the type to have a Google Reader account handy, it can be a major boost for your RSS subscriber stats. However, even on Plagiarism Today, which does cater primarily to other bloggers, about 10% of all subscriptions are via email. More than double the people get my feed via email than Newsgator.
Even if it isn’t the main way your readers get your feed, it can provide a great boost to your stats.
5. RSS-Only Content
Given how easy it is to edit your RSS feed, especially with WordPress plugins, it is trivial to add content to the feed that is not available to readers of your Web page. Whether it’s a link to a free eBook, a hidden Web page or a free article, if you add content that only your feed readers have access to, it provides an extra motivation to join, even if just for curiosity.
This method comes with two risks. First, it can alienate non-RSS readers and it can also turn your feed into a novelty where people subscribe just to get the content and then immediately leave.
If you decide to try this, make sure that there are enough reasons for your readers to stay subscribed to your feed independent of this additional content. In short, make sure it is a bonus, not the sales pitch.
6. Consider FeedBurner
FeedBurner, which is now owned by Google, can be very useful for attracting new subscribers. Not only does it allow you to do things such as show your subscriber count publicly, which encourages others to subscribe by showing them that others are reading, thus making them a part of a community, it also makes it is a trusted name and it improves your feed’s reliability by keeping your feed alive even when your site goes down.
However, there are reasons to be wary. You’re handing over one of your site’s most important assets to a third party and FeedBurner is not flawless. It limits what you can do with your feed, especially in terms of blocking unwanted subscribers, such as spammers, and can be difficult to leave.
That being said, it has a variety of promotion tools/features and can help you simplify your feed experience for your users. It’s not right for every site but it is worth looking at.
In short, there’s no magic formula for encouraging subscriptions to your site. You just need to remember these steps.
- Create Content That People Want to Subscribe To
- Promote Your Feed to Your Readers
- Remove Barriers to Subscription
If you can do that, your subscriber numbers will, almost inevitably, begin to tick up. However, the work does not end there, you still need to continue providing quality content and giving existing subscribers a reason to not delete you feed. In short, keep the signal level high, keep your posting reasonable (not too fast or slow) and keep up your promotion.
Growth is more than just adding new subscribers, it means keeping your old ones and, over the long term, that is actually the greater of the two challenges.
Blog Traffic Loves Generous Service
Blog traffic absolutely loves generous service. Do you want to succeed? Help oodles of people for free through blogging and guest posting. Toss in helping bloggers by noting bloggers on your blog, by commenting genuinely on blogs and by mentioning bloggers on social media. Traffic flows your way. Because blog traffic loves generous service. The more help you offer through your eBook, course and blog, the more traffic you drive. Simple equation. Give, to get. Keep giving freely and blog traffic finds you. Hug this super simple, powerful law of life. Service prospers you. Blog traffic flows to generous bloggers.
What gives? Why do many bloggers struggle to drive blog traffic? In essence, most human beings vibe mainly from an energy of fear and loss. You and I learn to do stuff with fear being our main driver. So, blogging becomes another outlet through which to do stuff from a dominant energy of fear. Like, publish one post for the week and do no more. Because you fear not getting enough return on investment. Plus you fear wasting time. Plus you fear working hard. Plus you fear looking like a fool if people come across all of the awesome content you create and, due to your increased exposure, you become the object of intense criticism. Ouch; that would hurt, eh? Being burdened by these fears, you play small, be stingy and just publish one post every 1-2 weeks. If YOU are stingy with the Universe, the Universe BE’S stingy with you. Give. Receive. Don’t give. Don’t receive. So, withholding generous service ensures blog traffic gets withheld from you. What a simple strategy to put into action, right? But of course, what an uncomfortable strategy to put into action, too, because facing and feeling fear, never feels all that comfortable. Nobody loves this process. Me included. But ya gotta take that route to be a successful blogger.
Help as many people as possible daily through a few clear strategies. Keep publishing content to your blog. Keep guest posting. Gain immense exposure and gain skills and yep, gain credibility……and of course, gain blog traffic. All occurs because you gave freely of your time and talents. Give freely. Gain blog traffic. But giving freely FORCES you outside of your comfort zone. For example, I publish 9 or more guest posts and blog posts daily, between both. No joke, this taxes me sometimes. I face fears about doing billionaire work and not see billions in my bank account yet. All that crap. Yep, I proceed. I blog into deep fears, feel fears, and clearing these fears helps me drive more blog traffic, leading to increased blogging success. All about that free giving, folks. Give freely, and you shall position yourself to receive more easily.
Be with scary emotions. I feel you. I have been there, guys. Nudging through to feel these energies is the way to clear these energies. Keep giving, and the getting becomes easier and easier in blog traffic terms. Imagine guest posting on 30 blogs over the next 3 months. Visualize how this increased exposure boosts your blog traffic. People see you all over, click your bio link and you get more blog traffic. Your generous service through guest posting put everything into motion.
Why Ask Blogging Questions Already Asked Thousands of Times?
Ya know what?
I feel awesome teaching bloggers with my friend Sue-Ann. We are currently helping course students via the creative, innovative, never duplicated: How to Bling Your Blog and Feed That Hog course.
Live, interactive and engaging, students already noted how we cover new, different topics compared to virtually all other blogging courses. Sure we cover the basics. But we do so quite differently than your average blogging course. Sue-Ann and I both became successful by doing things differently than most other bloggers. We think. We deliberate. We virtually never do things mindlessly. Alas, many of my fellow bloggers – most newbies – move in the opposite direction. One quick Quora visit reflects this mass sheeple mentality crippling most newbie blogger careers. Again, a few moments ago, I spied at least 4 bloggers asking the same, old, “how do you succeed at blogging” type question again, said questions being asked for the millionth time.
I have compassion for new bloggers. I also understand how every new blogger feels entitled to ask virtually any question. But just because you can ask any question, does that mean you should ask any or every blogging question popping up in your mind? Nope. You should note Why? Asking the successful blogging question wastes your time and my time because tens of thousands of bloggers have answered this question accurately tens of thousands of times across thousands of online platforms. We covered it already. I even created an entire course to devote to answering the question. Why litter Quora and the web in general with the same blogging question for the 10,000th time? At best, it is a time waster. At worst, borderline spam.
I love ya’s but you need to begin thinking like a successful blogger well before experiencing success. How would a successful blogger go about figuring out how to succeed at blogging? Pay someone to access the answer in 5 or 10 seconds. Hire someone to coach them. Buy a course or eBook in a minute. Why waste 24 or 36 hours waiting for an answer from some blogger when you get the answer 30 minutes after buying and reading one of my 100 plus eBooks? Failures wait for answers to questions asked thousands of times. Winners buy the answer immediately. This is the difference between struggling bloggers and future pros. Strugglers put no thought into the process. Why in the Hades would you ever believe 10,000 bloggers prior to you have NOT asked the successful blogging question? Of course they did! Think logically for 5 seconds. Of course hundreds of top bloggers answered the successful blogging question. And yes, of course you access that question through Google and Amazon in seconds, querying and investing money in instant answers from pros.
No brainer territory, guys. Buy the solution in seconds. Stop being like poverty conscious bloggers who put zero thought and little logic into why they ask a question obviously asked and answered accurately, thousands of times. Blogging gets easier if you think mindfully. Blogging gets harder if you mindlessly give zero thought to the craft. Invest money in getting proven answers to basic blogging questions. Accelerate your online success. Save your time. Save my time.
When Is It Too Late to Start Blogging?
Ego sometimes clings to limiting ideas. One such idea is the notion that starting a blog at some specific age proves to be futile because of it being too late. I recall hearing Gary Vaynerchuk professing how people in their early 20’s ask him if it is too late to begin a business. Do you see why ego deludes you? Fear manifests as all types of crippling beliefs holding you back. Someone clinging to fear, being 21 years old, asks if being 21 is too old for starting a business. Why? Some 21 year olds observe 14 year olds who create million dollar ventures. Or some 21 year olds see fellow 21 year olds who already became millionaires, when the limited-thinking 21 year old simply has never been an entrepreneur. Guess what? It is never late to begin blogging. It is never too late to begin blogging. I recall a 73 year old new to blogging who bought 4 of my eBooks after I wrote a guest post on Build Your Own Blog. He began blogging at 73 years old. Imagine that? Yet 21 year olds some 50 years his minor fear being 21 is too old for beginning a successful venture.
Fear makes you think silly things. Be beyond fear. Feel fear. Release fear. Move in a direction of possibilities. Move toward opportunities. Now is the time to begin blogging whether you are 21 or 101. Now is the time to begin. Seize the moment. Do you plan to be around for a bit? Blog. Begin blogging. It is never too late to start blogging because you and I sit in the perfect place at the perfect time for our individual journeys. I began blogging in my mid 30’s. 35 years old, to be exact. Being a 35 year old beginner blogger never crossed my mind as being too old because I did not cling to the fear fueling that too old, aged, limiting belief. I saw actual 12 year olds blogging during my newbie blogging days. Who cares that a kid 20 years my junior began blogging? I had 20 more years LIFE experience than he. Possessing 20 more years life experience puts you at a tremendous advantage when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of blogging the right way. Heck; the 73 year old new blogger may have zero blogging experience but 73 years of life experience. What seems more important at that point in your life? Does knowing how to format a blog post at 73 count more than the fearlessness, serenity and peace you acquired from facing 73 years worth of fears? Dude begins blogging with the mindset of a Blogging Yoda, for all he faced and for all the experience he has. Does THAT sound like it’s too late for blogging?
The only thing I would say is to begin blogging now because blogging experience is your best ally. Do not wait on the sidelines. Even though you can begin blogging at any age, why wait until you turn 45 when you can begin blogging now, at age 40? Why hesitate? Experience benefits you tremendously. Whether you start blogging at 13 or 73, experience earned and learned from, accelerates your blogging success. But you need to see the journey through and you need to begin blogging now. Go ahead. Blog. It’s not too late!
Do you fear deleting your worn out, failing blog to start over? Buy my eBook:
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