RSS Subscription: When Do People Decide To Grab Your Feed?

Steven2 responsesBlogging

Try as you might, there’s just no predicting reader response. You can create content that’s so awesome it goes viral and gets viewed by millions of people and get less than a hand full of RSS subscribers. Turn around and post something you consider to be just a bit of fluff and your readers trip over each other trying to get to your RSS button. While it’s not possible to predict exactly who will subscribe and how many, knowing what makes people decide to grab your RSS feed will help increase your subscriptions.

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people grab rss feed

First, it’s important to remember that RSS subscriptions is a numbers game. People have all sorts of reasons for not subscribing to your feed: They don’t want to clog up their email, they don’t want to be bothered with checking a feed reader. So the more people who are exposed to your feed the better your chances of gaining subscribers.

However, you also have to understand that there’s really only one reason why people do subscribe to RSS feeds: Because the information or entertainment they provide is so valuable to the subscriber that they would feel some sort of loss without it.

Therefore, it’s absolutely imperative that you provide quality content. Now that doesn’t mean that you gather up a bunch of ideas from all over the web and present them in your own quirky style. It means you have to do the work to be the first to present new ideas and present existing information in an engaging, unique fashion so you stand out from the crowd.

Going back to the numbers game, subscribing to your RSS feed means the reader has to make a commitment, much like the commitment they have to make when you ask them to join your list or buy your ebook. Most readers are not going to be convinced on their very first visit that they should subscribe to your blog. Some will require four, five or six visits before they finally click that button.

It’s also important to understand that a good number of your readers have no idea what an RSS feed is, how it works, or how it will benefit them to subscribe. Some even think they’re going to have to download some special software and risk a computer virus.

Knowing what prevents people from subscribing to your RSS feed, what else can you do to gain more subscribers? Other than providing that killer content we talked about, try the following:

Use a large RSS button that jumps out at your readers and have an RSS button at the end of every post. Then, instead of having it link directly to a subscription form, link it to a blog post where you explain what it means to subscribe to your RSS feed and how it will benefit the reader. From that blog post you can then send your readers to the subscription form.

Don’t overlook the opportunity to gain new subscribers when you’re guest blogging. You worked hard to get your guest post in front of that new audience. It’s doubtful that any of those new readers are going to subscribe to your feed based on that one guest post they read, but if you link back to relevant, high-quality content on your own blog they’ll see your value and potentially subscribe. Remember, it may take more than one visit before they make that commitment, but they’ll be much more inclined to subscribe if that blog post you link to is fresh, unique and engaging.

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2 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Great post. I have been trying to figure out how to grow my RSS readership. Most of my traffic comes from Google.

    1. Don’t worry Barbara, when you’re starting a lot of traffic is coming from Google because people simply don’t know you yet. It will evolve over time.

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