R-S-S. It stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s one of the most important aspects of blogs today. It allows your readers to receive your content without ever visiting your website. How is this beneficial? Because now you have a dedicated band of readers who will pretty much read anything you put out.
Why does this concern me?
For starters, it shows that you have a strong reader base. As in a bunch of people who actually care to listen to what you have to say. This is a pretty big blogging accomplishment and it’s encouraging to know that people are looking forward to new content. Plus, if you use a service like FeedBurner, you can display a counter showing how many RSS subscribers you have. The more you have, the more you can brag.
How can I get people to subscribe?
This may not surprise you but most people don’t know what RSS stands for, much less care to subscribe for a feed. This is where an ‘About RSS’ page (kind of like this one) will greatly improve your chances of gaining subscribers. Explain what a feed is and how your readers can subscribe to it (Netvibes, Google Reader, or Pageflakes for examples.) There are a few people who won’t care enough to learn how to use RSS feeds, that’s why you will want to stress the possibility of receiving updates through electronic mail, or “e-mail” for short. Again, FeedBurner is your best bet for setting up email subscriptions.
Most importantly, you’ll want RSS links prominently displayed right on your front page and within each post. Always have an option for your readers to subscribe on nearly every page. This way, if your reader sees your potential, they will be given a chance to subscribe to new content before they lose interest again. After all, you’ll want some sort of in-your-face subscription option before your readers close the page and move on to the next link.
What’s the overall benefit?
Aside from devoted viewers who will most likely refer your blogs to others, you do have a few options to make some money. That is why you’re blogging, right? If so, you can place ads within your feed or even sell ad spots if your feed is popular enough. The most important thing here is to realize that with a committed enough group of readers, you can pretty much give a positive review of an affiliate program and expect some sort of return. Sure, you’re going to need a large number of subscribers to consistently see a large return, but every little bit counts.
RSS or Quit.
There’s an obvious positive correlation to the size of an RSS feed and the popularity of a blog. Just look at TechCrunch or ProBlogger.net. Both have thousands of subscribers that read every word they write. This is the popularity your blog should be striving to achieve and a growing RSS feed is one of the first steps you must take. Never forget the power of a strong RSS feed.