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8 Effective Ways to Increase RSS Readership | Net Writing

8 Effective Ways to Increase RSS Readership

(This post is part of Blogging Tips – Group Writing Project)

When I first began blogging, I didn’t give much priority to RSS readership (partly because I didn’t know what it was :) ) but now, increasing RSS readership is one of the main goals for my different blogs. These are some methods that have worked for me; I’ve placed them in a rough order of usefulness. None of them are quick and easy; for them to be effective it is also essential to be able to write good content. If you would like to suggest other methods please add in comments.
Guest Blogging

Probably the most effective way to increase RSS readership is to write guest posts for well established blogs. Recently, I wrote an article for Pick the Brain – 6 characteristics of happiness. With 11,000 subscribers you do get a good return in terms of traffic and boost to RSS subscribers. It is hard work because the articles need to be of a high quality. Also don’t just write 1 guest blog, if you keep guest blogging it creates a cumulative effect and you will become better known within the blogosphere. This personal branding is quite important. – If you keep appearing on top blogs people will want to subscribe to your own. Another benefit of guest blogging is that the article will often rank highly in google, I now get a steady stream of traffic from old guest posts. Therefore, there is a cumulative effect from guest blogging, the more you do it the more powerful it becomes. Zen Habits is an example of a blog which made extraordinary growth in RSS readership through guest blogging.

Commenting on blogs

Commenting on blogs is a slow but steady way to increase your readership. When leaving a comment I try to say something worthwhile because this will make people want to find out more about the commentor. If you just leave ‘nice post’ it is hardly suggests enticing content on your own blog. A good question is whether to leave your URL on a comment. I’m often in two minds about this. For blogs where I regularly comment I don’t put a signature as it might start to irritate people. However, for new blogs, I do often leave a signature or even link to relevant blog post -it helps to create a higher click through rate. Traffic from comments may be low, but the traffic is highly targeted and these are the most likely people to subscribe.

Tips for Commenting

  1. Choose Popular and / or relevant blogs and try and get in early.
  2. Use Google Blog Search for your keywords, this helps find new blogs. (I often search ‘Economics’ on google blog search for my economic blog.)
  3. Say something useful

Make It easy to Subscribe.

Make sure it is easy to subscribe. For example, don’t forget to offer email subscriptions. For example on one blog, Poem of the Day, 90% subscribe through email. (Although you need to make it easy to subscribe, don’t feel obliged to have an RSS button which takes up 25% of the screen though. :)

Engaging Content

I always feel reluctant to say ‘good content is important’. – It is oft repeated advice and rather obvious. Nevertheless, without engaging content, people will not want to subscribe. Don’t just focus on getting traffic and leaving comments. Get a good balance between the different aspect of blogging. Give people a real reason to have to subscribe. For example, one reason I always check Daily Blog Tips RSS feed is that I don’t want to miss out on any group writing projects.

Generate Traffic.

On most blogs I am always eager to maximise traffic through search engines. This involves choosing good keywords in the title of pages. I feel search engine traffic has only a relatively small chance of subscribing, but if you get enough traffic, the sheer numbers will generate RSS readers over time.

Quantity over Quality.

If you only post once a week I find you do not lose RSS subscribers (unless your blog is all about getting latest news). To increase RSS subscribers why not concentrate on writing 2 or 3 really good posts per week. – the kind of posts that will get stumbled and make people want to subscribe. Don’t worry about posting high quantity.
A good point is that this point may well conflict with the previous point about generating traffic. One thing I do, is to have a flagship blog, but also add pages to other parts of the site. This means you can have the best of both worlds – one blog for generating RSS readers (the best of your site) and another blog for perhaps shorter pieces. At economics help I have 2 blogs – 1 blog for long essays, 1 blog for posting 3-4 times a day – Econ Blog.

  • Tip: Work out how you can differentiate your blog and how you can you create a unique selling point.

Communicate With Bloggers.

If you develop relationships with other bloggers and your readers they will want to subscribe to your blog. If you develop networks of like minded bloggers you will be able to help each other with things like the odd stumble e.t.c.

Good Design

Almost so obvious, that I nearly left it out. First impressions count, and if you use an ordinary blog template it doesn’t say much about your content (rightly or wrongly) You can still succeed with a weak design, but, don’t make life difficult for yourself, get a good design.

20 comments ↓

#1 rhodilee on 01.26.08 at 9:37 am

Thanks for the tips. I am currently focusing on increasing feed subscribers in one of my free hosted blogs. I placed my “invitation to subscribe” page element in such a way that it is one of the first things that people see in my blog. It worked :-)

#2 Niyaz PK on 01.29.08 at 4:15 am

Good tips.
But what is the need of maintaining a lot of blogs?

#3 Writing Contest on Daily Blog Tips-- CornerScribe on 01.30.08 at 3:50 am

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#4 Jacky Supit on 01.30.08 at 9:00 am

Nice Tejvan,
Now I am putting your post as one of my favorite writing. so that means I have
1. Communicate with other bloggers
2. Commenting on blogs

I guess I will make you and your readers subscribe to my feed now :twisted:

#5 4 tips to increase your Feed Readers (written by DailyBlogTips Writing Projects Participants) | JackBook.Com on 01.30.08 at 9:21 am

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#6 Tejvan on 01.30.08 at 7:13 pm

Thanks Jacky,

I have subscribed to your blog :) http://www.jackbook.com/

#7 Jesse Hines, Vigorous Writing on 01.31.08 at 4:20 am

These are some solid ideas…almost all of them should be practiced regularly, but the ones that I’m most focused on now are: Guest Blogging, Quantity over Quality, Engaging Content, and Generate Traffic.

You’ve got to have interesting, well-written content to get and maintain readers–that’s the most important aspect–quality over quantity.

Creating relevant titles with hot keywords is crucial, and I really think guest blogging on high-traffic blogs gives perhaps the most return on investment.

#8 Top 3 Suggestions from Blog Writing Contest | Net Writing on 01.31.08 at 12:08 pm

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#9 Ashfame on 01.31.08 at 2:36 pm

Good post. Earlier I also ignored readers but now I am working on it too.

#10 Corey on 02.02.08 at 4:52 pm

I’ve started and ended so many micro blogs trying to dedicate one to this theme or that theme or this style of writing versus the other. I may be going down the wrong path, but I always end up converting everything over to my main blog. Perhaps I lack direction.

#11 How To Benefit from Digg | Net Writing on 02.03.08 at 3:16 pm

[...] It is no coincidence that the Digg home page often features the most popular sites. Having a loyal and regular readership means you have a captive audience likely to vote for you and give your article an initial push. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy – the most successful sites do well on Social Bookmarking Sites and so become even more popular. However, there is no reason why you cannot also benefit. If you are a new blogger, don’t just worry about getting on social bookmarking sites, build up your RSS readership through consistently good blogging. Also, try writing guest posts on these popular blogs – you at least may get on Digg homepage on another site! see: 8 Effective ways to increase RSS readership [...]

#12 Krish on 04.03.08 at 9:52 am

It is no secret that traffic is very important for a blogs success. Even if your blog has good posts, no traffic means no money. Using RSS feed properly is an important aspect of blogging. Thanks for sharing your views about increasing RSS subscribers.

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#15 jay on 06.26.08 at 6:14 pm

you write an awesome post.But it is sad to see that a blog writer having this much info about RSS reader increment is having only 116 feed readers.

But dude don’t be upset (i don’t think you are),blog having this kind of content have feed readers in 5 figures. So wait and see.

This article was quite usefull for me too.

#16 Tejvan on 06.26.08 at 7:26 pm

Thanks Jay. It’s a competitive market out there!

#17 Strategies for Increasing RSS Readers | Net Writing on 07.08.08 at 11:02 am

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#18 My top 5 picks from Daily Blog Tips Writing Project : Madhur Kapoor’s Blog on 07.26.08 at 1:51 pm

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#19 Monevator on 12.26.08 at 2:18 am

Guest blogging works but it’s painful, because you really do have to deliver something valuable to the host blog. You can’t help feeling it should be on your site!

One nice way around this problem is to revisit a subject you’ve already written about but come at it from an angle more in keeping with the host blog.

#20 Google Lost My Feeds | Net Writing on 01.24.09 at 11:05 am

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