(photo by Marcio Eugenio)
When utilized properly, your RSS feed can be one of the most effective ways to not only promote your blog, but to also develop a loyal following of readers. Because it makes their life a little bit easier (and is free for them to use), people are very receptive to signing up for RSS feeds.
Although you can still gain RSS subscribers by simply starting a blog and producing good content (since WordPress has RSS built directly into it), if this is all you choose to do, you are going to miss out on some great opportunities to make your RSS feed do even more work for you.
To help you do more with your RSS feed, let’s take a look at some strategies, services and plugins that can do a lot for you. Best of all, even if you haven’t taken advantage of the items we’re about to discuss, you can start implementing all of them today!
Explain RSS: Because you are involved in the Internet on a daily basis, you probably take for granted the fact that everyone knows what RSS is all about. However, I can guarantee you that if I ask someone like my Mom what RSS is, she’s not going to be able to explain it to me.
If you’re getting frustrated that more people aren’t subscribing to your blog, the problem may not be your content; it may be the fact that people don’t know what it means to “subscribe.” Therefore, next to your RSS sign-up area, you should add a link that says something like “What is RSS?” Because it’s entertaining and informative, I recommend adding this video to the page that the link leads to this video.
Add a Footer: I highly recommend installing the RSS Footer plugin. While it may not seem like much, you can actually do a lot with this plugin. Whether you add a copyright notice, promote a new product or service you are offering, or use it to sell advertising, this seemingly simple plugin can allow you to get more from the feed you are publishing.
Don’t Limit It: The reason people use RSS is so that they can quickly go through a lot of information in a single location. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to force subscribers to click through to actually read the content you are publishing.
While it’s great to use the more tag to limit the amount of information that is displayed on the first page of your blog, be sure to add the Full Text Feed plugin to ensure that your subscribers aren’t receiving content that is cut in half.
Burn It: Signing up with FeedBurner is a must for any blogger. You may be thinking that because you don’t care about showing off the number of subscribers you have, you don’t need to worry about FeedBurner. However, FeedBurner can help you do a lot more than that.
You can check out all of their features for yourself, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would have to be the ability to offer people the option to receive your feed directly in their email inbox.
If you know of any other great RSS related tools, don’t forget to share them with us in the comments!