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.
3 Tips for Bonding with Blogging Influencers
Forget traditional influencer marketing. We want to go deeper.
Bloggers teach influencer marketing from a less genuine space sometimes. Imagine learning how to try to get someone to do something for you. Manipulation marketing. Fear-based marketing. Problems arise; spam folders become your landing spot. I observe a decent percentage of influencer marketing emails in my spam folder because fear-pitches get labeled as spam and become spam, 100% of the time.
What is the solution? Learn how to bond with blogging influencers.
I remember people who befriend me. I admire people who endorse me or promote me. I appreciate people who buy my course or eBooks. I love people who generously help me for months. Guess what? Bonding with established bloggers influences the influencers. I do stuff for dear blogging friends I do not do for anybody else. If a friend sends me a guest post and their writing is tight, I place it. Even if said post spans 1000 words or more – my minimum count is 600 – I place it without hesitating. Friends found my heart. Friends influenced me through kindness and generosity. I am largely putty in their blogging hands.
Instead of trying to manipulate a successful stranger, bond with a friend. Change your approach to influencer marketing. Make friends. Help without asking. In time, blogging bonds form organically. If you practice writing, the world becomes your oyster because influencers take you to new levels of success, without you even asking.
Follow these tips to bond with influencers.
1: Buy a Resource
The best way to bond with an influencer is to get inside their heads.
Influential bloggers had to influence influential bloggers on the way up to become influential. Invest in a resource like my influential blogger eBook to learn how influencers do it. Speak their language. Connect. Take their viewpoint. Learn how to be influential yourself.
When you discover how to be influential through my resource you in essence, learn how to influence, influencers, by bonding with these pros.
2: Spend a Few Months Giving Not Asking
Bloggers I remember, then befriend, spend at least a few months giving and not asking. Someone buys my course, publishes 10 comments on my blog, and retweets my posts 10 or 20 times during a 3 month period. These people pop up on my radar screen because they gave and asked for nothing. Bonds form. Friendships develop.
Retweet fellow bloggers. Help them. Feature fellow bloggers. Open your blog to guest posting. Guest post on other blogs. Comment genuinely on blogs. Buy products.
Ask for nothing, for at least 3-4 months. Allow friendships to form organically. Blogging friends help each other because blogging friends trust each other. Influential bloggers fall into this helping lot too, as you generously serve them, ask for nothing and polish your writing skills. I gained more endorsements from pros by being generous than through any other method. Help influential bloggers. Ask for nothing. Influential bloggers help you without you asking for a darn thing.
3: Never Rush the Process
Some blogger friend requested me on Facebook a few moments ago. I scanned my messages to see his business pitch in the “other” folder. He simply rushed the process of pitching an established blogger. I appreciate the friend request but pitching your business before generously helping me ensures I ignore all future messages. He rushed the process so I let him go.
Perhaps he smartens up and begins helping me generously without asking for anything. After a few months of helping me and asking for nothing, we bond. We become friends. From there, the opportunities are limitless. Even if I do not use his service, if he has skills and a reputable business model I can share his services with my readers.
Good things take some time. Never rush the bonding process.
Allow bonds to form organically to do influencer marketing right.
How Do Blogging and Fitness Relate?
I spend 3 hours daily honing my mental and physical fitness.
In truth, you can and will succeed online following simple fundamentals from a generous, detached energy. No need to be fit to go full time blogging. But if you feel bad because your body feels bad and your mind fears losing it all, have you succeeded? I do not believe so.
I wrote an eBook sharing my daily regimen to explain what many of you readers want to know: how do I do it all? I am no blogging god. I am just human. But I write and connect quite a bit. People wish to know how I wrote 100 plus eBooks in addition to all the other stuff I do while circling the globe. Well, blogging and fitness are 2 peas in a pod for me. Both play a big role if you desiring leveling up and feeling good predominantly as you enjoy the ride.
Blogging and Fitness
Let’s say you wake up on a Monday morning as a full time employee who blogs part time. Feeling terrible and dreading work, why write and publish a post? Too busy. Do it later. Put off the post until tonight. But you feel too tired that night. Repeat this cycle for 3 months. 90 days passed. Still no blog post. Why? You filled your mind with fear and pain. Manifesting as blogging loss, backburnering the post for 3 months indicates fear in mind. Why fear? 100% of the time, fear dominates minds of people who spend zero time on mental fitness, never meditating or doing deep yin yoga or observing their thoughts and feelings. Most of the time, these same folks dominated by their own fears never commit seriously to being physically fit through exercising.
Feel good by caring for your mind and body. Vibe higher than fears crippling most bloggers. Imagine the above scenario with one difference: you devote 1-2 hours daily exercising and raising your energy via mindset training. Devote 30 minutes to power walking and 30 minutes to deep yin yoga. On waking that Monday morning, either a blog post idea finds you and you write the post, or after a few uncomfortable moments and feelings, the idea flows to you and you write the post.
I cannot explain this process logically because it flows 100% emotionally, feelings-wise. Visualize yourself in moments you feel really good. All seems possible. Ideas flow to you. Opportunities flow to you. Why? Feeling good magnetizes you to freeing, success-promoting ideas. Being fit mentally and physically is the easiest way to feel good most of the time. Plus in those moments you feel bad mentally and physically, you face, feel and release the bad feelings, quickly, because you feel mentally and physically fit, predominantly.
Being fit naturally alerts you to the success-promoting idea of gratitude. Gratitude builds blogging success because seeing every penny of income, every blog comment and all interest in your blogging courses feels awesome to you. Feeling awesome inspires you to blog for years generously. Blogging generously for years makes you successful.
Corey at the Good Oil Marketing retweeted my blogging course recently. I feel grateful he spread the word for me considering he is a successful, high level marketer. I feel these feelings and build on my success because I feel grateful. I feel grateful because I trained my mind and body to feel good, through being fit daily, in order to tune into appreciation easily.
Be a successful blogger by being mentally and physically fit.
Why Doing this Works Better than Asking for Business Referrals
After I released my flagship eBook – How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging – I noticed something neat. My sales increased 12 fold the day I published a guest post for a highly successful blogger.
Seeing this spike clued me in to the quickest, easiest way to increase business: help people for free. Being generous improves skills, increases exposure and expands your business. Greater traffic and profits follow generous bloggers because helping people for free helps you be skilled and see, two qualities in every prospering blogger who reaps sweet blogging profits.
A large set of bloggers goes in another direction. Some ask for business referrals from trusted blogging buddies to drum up business. Feel free to take this route but know referral fishing is an ineffective way to drive profits because of two clear reasons:
- referral-seeking seems to be time-wasting
- referral-seeking rarely inspires trusted bloggers to take clear, business-building action, for you
I know 20 plus web developers. A few trusted blogging web developer buddies have reached out to me, seeking referrals. Two issues arise:
- the referral seeker has no idea if I know bloggers needing web development; non-targeted campaign
- I already know 20 plus developers, trusted buddies all, so I could never choose one to refer to someone if 20 seem qualified
Top Bloggers Become Ruthlessly Effective with their Time
Versus seeking referral business by asking blogging buddies if they know someone requiring your service, spend 20 minutes to write and publish a quality guest post for a blogger in your business niche. Instead of pitching 1 human, show off your web development skills for free, via a guest post, for 1,000 people. Do you see what I mean? Leverage. Do not ask for business. Serve for business. Although time needs pass and generosity needs inclusion in blogging business-building, helping for free is the quickest, simplest way to increase blogging business because you reach large, targeted audiences of clients with your attention and energy versus asking 1 person for business in non-targeted, ineffective fashion.
12 Times Daily Sales
I recall the day vividly, 5 years ago. I created and launched Blogging From Paradise. Before writing 100 plus eBooks, I wrote one. I did drive some sales through my blog but guest posting woke me up; why not leverage my presence and grow business by helping people for free, via different platforms? Eye-opener for me. Instead of asking, I gave. How easy? Giving freely is the easiest way to get freely. I observed a 12 times daily sales eBook increase for good reason that day: helping people generously through sites other than your blog is a simple way to grow your blogging business.
The simplest, direct, effective way to grow your business is to help people for free. Asking for referrals leads to a client or customer here and there, but full time bloggers are not in the “here and there” business as far as growing your venture. Pro bloggers drive steady profits through their blog by being generous on their blog and on other platforms.
Be helpful for free. Publish posts. Submit guest posts. Run a podcast. Broadcast live on Facebook. Help people for free to help people for pay. Versus untargeted referral-seeking, this is the effective way to grow your blogging business from a generous, genuine energy.
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