Sometime within the first year of a novice blogger, they learn that the biggest measurement to outside people of their blog’s success is the number of subscribers that they have for their blog. Whether this is true or not is to be debated but it doesn’t change the fact that we, as bloggers, have a need to increase our RSS subscriber count.
Having a lot of subscribers means that we write content worthy of people’s time, that we have created a sense of the need to receive our information and we write something that is valuable for the people who take the time to read it.
Tips to Increase RSS Subscribers
The hard truth, however, is that not all bloggers are great marketers and as such sometimes our great content fails to be seen by the masses to obtain subscriber counts that we want to brag about.
Knowing this, I’ve taken everything I’ve read and learned and compiled it into this great list of how to can increase your RSS subscribers for your blog. Consider what will and will not work for you. As each niche is different, not all blogs will benefit from the same techniques. The trick for you will be figuring out what does work and then apply these methods — over and over.
Let’s get to it. Here are 14 techniques you can try to increase your RSS subscriber count.
1. RSS Placement
I’m sure you’ve heard this often. The higher up on your page your RSS information is, the more subscribers you’ll receive. As my RSS images have always been high on my page and certainly above my fold (the fold is what you see on a site before you scroll), I can’t really attest to how well this works.
2. What is RSS?
What we learned from RSS Awareness day is that not a lot of people actually know what RSS is or how valuable it can be for the end user. Consider placing a “what is this?” link by your RSS buttons. Answering the question my peek visitor’s interests and get them to subscribe.
3. Create a Need
Visitors will subscribe to your blog because you’ll post future great information, not because you supplied great information today. Creating a need to get tomorrow’s post with action points on your blog can do a great deal of good.
4. Free Stuff
Encourage subscriptions to your feed by letting your visitor’s knowledge of a free download that they’ll receive via RSS. It’s easy to create an RSS footer just for your subscribers that can provide them with a download link. (WordPress users can download the RSS footer plugin.)
With so much for bloggers to do, it’s not uncommon for us to occasionally put publishing and writing on the back burner to focus on other areas, if for only a short amount of time. Consider that few people have enough strength and pull within posts to get people to subscribe when there are no current posts. So, don’t forget to write and publish posts that will have high impact and be genuinely helpful to others.
You know this, right? Get yourself out there. Hit up forums, social networking websites, mingle with other bloggers, comment on blogs. Do what you’ve got to do to show the world your name and get them interested in what your posting!
Along with traditional RSS, be sure to have the option to increase RSS subscribers by email. Probably one of the most sought-after subscriber types by bloggers, make sure you’re running your feed through FeedBurner (or an alike) so that you can provide both traditional RSS subscription and email subscription.
8. Guest Post
In the last month or so, I’ve written two guest posts which helped to increase my subscribers. So, get out there. It’s great for you, it’s great for your blog, and it’s great for increasing RSS subscribers. Many bloggers are looking for people who can write excellent posts, work at it and share your knowledge in the blogosphere! You can also write for us, read our submission guidelines.
9. Display your count
Highly debatable to if this does or does not work. Though it’s been written many times that by displaying your RSS count number, once you’ve hit 100 subscribers that you can encourage “followers” to subscribe as well. While I enjoy seeing an RSS count, it has no bearing on me personally if I will or will not subscribe to a blog.
10. Niche Topic
Typically RSS subscribers are interested in what you’re saying because of the niche you’re writing about. While there are times for a great personal blog, most subscribers want information about your niche to make sure that when you’re writing, you’re staying on topic!
11. Full Feed
Without full feeds, you’re nothing but a time waster. Sure, it’s pretty tempting to offer feed excerpts to get high click-through rates and page views but few people have time for this. Let your RSS subscribers become fans naturally and then click through to your blog because they want to bookmark your post, leave a comment, or get in touch with you.
12. Multiple Placement
While I have my RSS buttons at the top of my sidebar, I also attempt to create a call to action at the end of each post by reminding you to subscribe. OK, so it’s great to have your RSS information above the fold but most people have to first read something they’re interested in before they’ll subscribe. By having a reminder at the end of posts, you could increase subscriber count.
Creating calls to actions and talking about what you want (in this case, more subscribers) give your visitors a clear idea of what to do when they’ve read your post. “That was great, while I’ll subscribe, of course!” While you don’t need to have a 24 point bold font to tell your reads to subscribe, they’re not going to if you don’t communicate the message that you want them to and that your content is worthy of it.
14. Create a Community
By our very nature, people want to belong to something. So be active in your own blog, ask for opinions from your commentators, be personable, approachable, and respond to every single comment you receive. We seek validation and you can validate your readers by being personable and creating a community.
Of course, there are more ways than this to increase your subscriber count. But for me, the truth of the matter is that you want to be a blog where people want to be. Creating a blogging environment that provides people with content they want to read, comments they want to get involved with, and content they must read will do the trick every time.
Don’t lose your focus in the day to day and not enjoy what you’re doing. It’s often the case that when we find something to be a chore, we lose interest. Keep it fun, keep it fresh, keep it inviting and promote until your fingers bleed. After all, what good is your great blog going to do for anyone if we don’t know that you’re there?
What does and doesn’t work on your blog for increasing your RSS subscriber count? When visiting other blogs, what is the deciding factor for you to subscribe or not? In the end, as both a blogger and a visitor, what is most important to you when it comes to subscribing?
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