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The burgeoning number of weblogs (commonly known as "blogs") and websites has made the life of the netizen very difficult. The traditional way of "typing in the address bar" and checking for new updates is no more advisable and instead internet user has to learn few smart techniques to syndicate his favourite websites and blogs.
A classic example of syndication followed by newspapers is the use of articles and stories from other newspapers in their paper; it boosted their reader count because of varied content. When Netscape was entering the portal business it invented RSS.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a cohort of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works-such as blog entries, news headlines, etc. RSS is an XML-based format that allows web developers to describe and syndicate web site content.
An RSS document (which is called a "feed", "web feed", or "channel") includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates and authorship. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based, desktop-based, or mobile-device-based. A standardized XML file format allows the information to be published once and viewed by many different programs. The user subscribes to a feed by entering into the reader the feed's URI or by clicking an RSS icon in a web browser that initiates the subscription process. The RSS reader checks the user's subscribed feeds regularly for new work, downloads any updates that it finds, and provides a user interface to monitor and read the feeds.
The user has just two steps to follow to effectively utilise the versatility of RSS. First, he needs to have a feed reader. There are many feed readers such as "Google Reader". Second step is a continuous process in which the netizen can go on subscribing to his favourite websites and blogs by locating the typical orange RSS icon or the particular case may be. There is an alternative path too of subscribing to RSS feeds via Email.
RSS in a way is a brilliant solution to bookmarking several websites and unable to organise them properly.
So, as a blogger you might also have subscribed to various blogs and various feeds to keep yourself updated. In this eBook, we will help you increase your subscribers to a good amount without much effort. Just go through the whole eBook and implement it after reading it and you will surely increase your reader base after a certain period of time.
Why a blogger should get RSS subscribers?
You might be thinking what's the use of getting more and more RSS subscribers? Why almost all bloggers try to get to subscribe to their RSS feed through their RSS button of the blog or through email? I will try to give some insight into this aspect of the bloggers the following paragraphs.
RSS Subscribers Represent a Very Stable Source of Traffic:
All bloggers or web publishers are keen to increase their traffic. There are several sources of traffic, including direct referrals, social media and networking sites like Facebook and twitter..., search engines and RSS subscribers. RSS subscribers are your most stable source of traffic. If Google would go out of business tomorrow, your RSS subscribers would still be able to find you. RSS feed of your blog according to me is the most stable and simple part of your blog.
They are your most loyal readers:
RSS subscribers are the people who visited your blog and found your blog relevant to their interests and they immediately subscribed it by filling out the easy-to-fill subscription form or by subscribing you site in their RSS reader. Their subscription is testimony that they eagerly wait to read your views and they also help your blog by spreading the word through their own internet social networks. One doesn't subscribe to a blog's RSS feed for fun, converting visitors to RSS subscriber is not an average Joe's task. Once this hurdle is crossed, RSS readers are very loyal and follow the blog regularly.
It proves your expertise
RSS subscribers are usually technologically oriented and demanding of credible information. These are the perfect type of readers for a blog focused on the latest trends online, like blogging, social media, technology updates, etc. This makes you an expert through exposure and experience about what your RSS subscribers like and what they don't read.
It gives you authority on your niche.
Bloggers are not only crazy about expressing themselves but they have a good domain knowledge which pushes them to keep on writing. Your blog soon has an identity related to the field you are blogging about. RSS subscriptions are a reflection of that authority and it entails great admiration and adulation. First think which areas are your strengths, start research about that. After you have some reliable, useful and credible content learn the basics of blogging. Start blogging and immediately put a RSS subscription widget/form/button in your blog. It brings your blog in focus.
The Value of RSS subscribers for a blogger
Everybody wants to earn money by each and every activity he does but all our wishes are never fulfilled as we anticipate. RSS subscribers are the readers your blog who have a RSS reader and they don't need to visit your blog to access your content. This in a sense hurts the basic revenue model of your blog. When reader visits go down the page impressions of your AD units dips down making it difficult to earn from your site. As people don't visit your blog directly the click-ratio goes down which usually is of very small value.
This basic predicament is sorted out by RSS advertising. It is a relatively new phenomenon. Advertising in RSS feeds is growing rapidly especially as the move by many webmasters to publish full feeds and their concern that readers will no longer visit their sites which would be undesirable for them. What if RSS subscribers do not click through to the website itself but use the feed to consume the content? Take the route of RSS advertising and hope everything goes as projected. You can implement RSS advertising either by outsourcing it or managing your own RSS ads.
You can use Pheedo (http://www.pheedo.com/site/) or Feedburner (http://feedburner.google.com/).
Pheedo supports a range of standard IAB banner sizes, text ads, as well as our own proprietary FeedPowered ad unit. Additionally, Pheedo provides the widest range of ad placement options in the industry, including inline and standalone item placements.
Pheedo places ads alongside your syndicated feed content. We insert ad code in your feed items that allows Pheedo to serve ads to your readers. Our system allows for ads to be placed next to your content within your feed items, or as individual items.
Pheedo along with RSS advertising also provides you with critical feed metrics to make it better to understand your RSS usage patterns. Pheedo measures and monitors your feed's vital statistics including subscriber count, active readers, item popularity, and where your syndicated content is being consumed.
One of the advantages of Pheedo is that if you already burned your feeds with Feedburner, don't despair. You may continue using FeedBurner's feed management and analytics, and Pheedo will seamlessly deliver ads right into your feeds. Adding Pheedo ads to your burned feeds takes moments - and the setup is transparent to your subscribers.
Google Adsense using Feedburner
You can also configure Google Adsense ads on your RSS feeds using Feedburner. This helps when you have good number of subscribers and when at least you have 1000 subscribers because sometimes your subscribers may get irritated by seeing ads.
RSS subscribers are quite valuable while selling blogs:
Blogs are also sold for huge amount of money due to their RSS subscribers. Some examples of successful blog sales:
http://www.bloggingtips.com/ was auctioned for $60,000. It was having 8,200 RSS subscribers so if we do a simple calculation the worth of one subscriber would turn out to be $7.32.
http://designm.ag was sold for $50,900 when it was having around 19,000 RSS subscribers.
http://teenius.com was sold for $1,600 when it had only 132 RSS subscribers.
http://thedesigned.com was sold for $2,500 with 733 feed subscribers when it was sold.
After a reasonable survey, I have come up with a thumb rule that the worth of 1 RSS subscriber is $5.
Earn through Selling Direct Ads in Feeds:
Another way you can earn through RSS subscribers is by selling direct advertisement in your blog. For this purpose you can use RSS footer plugin for WordPress which is a nice plugin as it allows you to insert html in the end. (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/rss-footer/)
This plugin makes it easy to add a line of content to the beginning or the end of all the articles in your feeds, for instance to display a link back to your blog.
Negotiate personally with advertisers and write HTML codes for them in the content of the RSS footer plugin. This may demand a sense of expertise but is good way of earning through your RSS feeds.
Selling Sponsored Reviews
If you have good amount of RSS subscribers then you can charge good amount of money from advertisers while writing sponsored posts for them. You can use SponsoredReviews and ReviewMe for getting sponsored posts.
Some of the techniques I used to get 5000 subscribers for my blog:
Now that you want to take the leap and increase your RSS subscribers, how to go about it? Most people seem to have a hard time gaining even a small number of new RSS subscribers consistently. Is there anything you can do about it? Is there any way to efficiently attract more RSS subscribers? Sure there is. There are thousands of articles on the internet, but I wanted to give my experience on the issue too.
THE BASIC STEPS
Make RSS visible (The Big RSS Icon)
It's a stark reality that people are lazy and unfocused. You need to keep that fact always in mind. If you use a little RSS icon, visitors might have a problem finding it. Most of those will just give up after a couple of seconds, so make sure the RSS icon is big and easily recognizable. People even procrastinate before clicking on that RSS icon, whether they should subscribe to your feeds or not? So make sure your big RSS icon influences their juvenile and unfocused mind. Don't experiment too much with the placement of RSS icon for the sake of it. Follow the blogger code, most people would look for your RSS feed icon around a particular area in your blog-page so don't get carried away by designing folks. You should also have the RSS icon on every page and not just your homepage. Most of the people come from external links and they don't wish to visit the homepage.
Using Google's FeedBurner
What are areas where Feedburner scores over other RSS options? Cleaner URL, Better User Statistics and most importantly it Free of cost even if you cross millions of subscribers.
Most of the RSS service providers generate unusually clumsy URL but running a feed through Feedburner will give you a nice URL.
FeedBurner's main purpose as a service isn't really to give you cleaner URLs, it's to "analyse, optimize, publicize," and "monetize" your feed; any usage of a feed gets logged giving you usage stats, something darn near impossible otherwise. The main reason most people use Feedburner is because it shows how many RSS subscribers they have.
FeedBurner gives you the added advantage of being able to provide a URL for your feed that never changes. Since your actual feed is plugged into FeedBurner and you're providing your readers with the URL created by the service rather than your own, you can easily change your source feed URL without losing any readers. They'll always be plugged into your FeedBurner feed no matter what the source is.
Another small about Feedburner is that it caches your feed so it will save you a tiny bit on server access and bandwidth.
Use Feedsmith plugin for Wordpress :
When using Wordpress there are a number of ways a user can request your RSS feed by clicking on different links. The Feedsmith plugin handles these requests to ensure the visitor is directed to your Feedburner RSS URL. This plugin will make sure that all your subscribers will be forwarded to the Feedburner feed, so that you can track them and control how your feed is formatted
Feedburner have taken over the development of the Feedsmith Wordpress plugin that removes the worry from Wordpress user about visitors requesting their RSS feed. So if you use Wordpress and have burned your feed using Feedburner then download the Feedsmith Wordpress plugin.
Download from here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/feedburner-plugin/
Provide Email subscription Option
Even in the world of Google Wave and Google Buzz, people do use their email and email subscribers are the core part of the RSS subscribers. In my case almost 90% subscribers are email subscribers. Only a small percentage of total internet users have even working knowledge about RSS feeds. If you neglect the other major category of users you are in for major loss in your web venture. If you use Feedburner, you just need to go on the "Publicize" tab to activate your email subscriptions. (Another reason of using FeedBurner!)
An email subscription form yields better results than a simple "Subscribe via email" link. That is because netizens are used to seeing those forms around, and typing their email address there is quite intuitive. The top of your sidebar is a good spot to place one.
Have your own domain
Your main objective should be to invigorate visitors to have confidence in your site and content written by you, and many may feel that using your own domain will give them that extra confidence, particularly if you are doing e-Commerce. Even if you are only earning via advertisements like Google Adsense, earning is directly proportional to traffic, and many feel it is easier to promote your site if you have your own domain because of credibility it entails with it.
When I was blogging with a BlogSpot domain in the technology niche people weren't giving me much respect but when I started using my own domain I suddenly started getting traffic from social media sites and which in turn helped getting me more and more subscribers.
Even if you have popular BlogSpot or wordpress.com blog then you are never the owner of your site as Google or wordpress.com can delete your site any day, so having your own domain is must if you want to do some serious blogging and want to earn from it.
You can buy your domain from Godaddy or name.com (which I prefer).
THE INTERMEDIATE STEPS
Use WP Greet Box : (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-greet-box/)
It displays greeting messages to new visitors depending on the referrer website. For example, when a Digg user clicks through from Digg, they will see a message reminding them to digg your post if they like it. When a visitor clicks through from Twitter, they will see a message suggesting them to twit the post and follow you on Twitter.
Similarly, if you land after Google searching, it displays messages accordingly.
Here, you also have an option to display a default message instead of above options.
You can boost your RSS subscriber count by selecting default message to ask them to subscribe to your RSS feed irrespective of the referrer site they come from.
What Would Seth Godin Do (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/what-would-seth-godin-do/)
It displays a custom welcome message to new visitors and another to return visitors.
By default, new visitors to your blog will see a small box above each post containing the words "If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!" (You can change it anytime) After 5 visits the message disappears. You can customize this message, its lifespan, and its location. Users without support for cookies will always see the new visitor message.
This another chance to increase your RSS subscriber count by simply customising the message and it's lifespan so that you get maximum out of this plugin whose philosophy is using cookies to distinguish between new and returning visitors to your site.
Image credit : johntp
Welcome the new readers
It's always a good way to receive personal attention. If you send welcoming e-mail to your new readers (well there's and plugin for that which automatically send welcome email to the new commentator on your blog( http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/thank-me-later/ ) , they'll love your behaviour and word-of-mouth publicity always helps to increase your blog's popularity which in turn may also give you a few or many RSS subscribers.
Thank Me later is a good plugin and I used it for some time and then stopped as I thought it might be annoying some people. But it's quite useful when you have less amount of subscribers as some of the people may subscribe to your RSS feed.
Wibiya Toolbar is the multipurpose bar which appears at the bottom of the web page/blog and provides many options to the visitors such as links to Translation, Facebook Fan Page, RSS Feed, Recent Posts, Twitter updates and then options to share the post on different social networking or bookmarking sites. Wibiya Toolbar let you free spaces for other purposes and accommodate the former mentioned features in single bar which appears at the bottom of the page.
You can easily customise it as per your need. Check each and every option appearing on Wibiya Toolbar. For example, crosscheck the Twitter link, Facebook Fan Page link and Cross check the RSS feed link. This toolbar has many utilities but our concern here is RSS subscription. You get the drift?
Add to posts RSS footer plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/rss-footer/)
It can be used for copyright notice at the end of the blog post. Well you might think, how will this help. Imagine a scenario in which a spam blog copies your blog post, in that case you will get a backlink or you can just put the link of your RSS feed in the footer.
You can also increase your RSS subscribers by adding your website to your FriendFeed account. Although I haven't used it much because of time constraints, there are guys who have thousands of subscribers in their FriendFeed account.
According to official blog post if you have 200 people subscribed to you on FriendFeed, and you've added your blog as a service on FriendFeed, now you can see those subscribers right alongside the subscriber counts from Google Reader, Bloglines, My Yahoo, and anyone else subscribed to your blog's feed
THE ADVANCED STEPS
WP popup scheduler (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-popup-scheduler/)
Well, this is the main weapon from which I get huge amount of subscribers, for this you need to have a catchy pop up and if people like what you write and they are in need of your articles they will obviously subscribe. Normally, from my experience about 4% daily visitors opt-in for you RSS feed through this.
As goes with most great plugins, you can customize it according to your needs. You can schedule a popup to show a welcome message whenever a new visitor arrives at your site. You can schedule a popup to show on the readers returned visit to thank them for reading your blog and invite them to subscribe to your feed/email update. In addition, there is also the option to either show the popup in home page only or in every single page.
The best use of this plugin is to put the email subscription form in the pop up box and ask your reader to subscribe to your email updates. You can also give link to your feed for subscription through RSS readers, have a nice looking popup as it allows html, you can design what you want. For me, I had a simple email subscription form asking them to put their emails and subscribe so that we can send our future updates and it worked. If you offer some freebies then you can also mention that in your popup.
Subscribe-Remind Plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/subscribe-remind/)
I tried this when I had very less amount of subscribers and it was quite worth it because only after finishing the article of your blog a visitor will decide whether he/she wants to subscribe to your blog or not . It's your blog and only you aspire it to have thousands of RSS subscribers so you have to keep on reminding your reader to subscribe to your RSS feed.
This plugin places a small reminder at the end of each post to remind readers to subscribe to your RSS feed.
Check out the above screenshot's very last line after the related posts. The text can be changed as per your wish and you can simply specify an alternative text. However, let's not lose our focus and concentrate only on ways to increase RSS subscribers.
Notify Unconfirmed Subscribers Plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/notify-uncofirmed-subscribers/):
You made the RSS icon visible, applied all the techniques to divert the attention of the reader to the RSS subscription. Now, many users prefer email subscriptions, however in case of FeedBurner the users have to confirm their email address before they can start getting updates from the blog. If due to any reason the user doesn't do that you lose out on a big chunk of RSS subscribers.
Let me tell you my biggest mistake while gaining feed subscribers, I was getting good amount of visitors and they were putting their email ids n the email subscription box and they never verified their emails, so I used to remove the email from the FeedBurner dashboard thinking that they are of no use . I always thought that there should a mechanism through which I could send them reminder to verify the email. When, I got around 30-40 unverified email that day I got lazy and didn't remove the unverified emails from FeedBurner and exams approached so I didn't login to FeedBurner for a while. After exams, I again started blogging and then searched for sending verification mail again in Google and then I found this awesome plugin and it really helped me getting lots of subscribers who were unverified subscribers at first.
NUS or Notify Unconfirmed Subscribers is a neat plugin that fetches all the subscribers who have not yet subscribed to your feed by verifying themselves by clicking on the verification link in the sent to them in their email inbox.
NUS maintains a log of email addresses to whom a message has already been sent, so you do not have to worry about the message being sent to the same user again.
Enter your Google FeedBurner username and password and NUS will fetch all your feeds and their unconfirmed subscribers. You can even customize the message you send in the e-mail body.
Just fill the message you want to send across to the defaulters. NUS do not store any username / password details you provide with for fetching the unconfirmed users from Google Feedburner account.
There are many reasons of people not confirming their e-mail addresses but in any case this is the best you can do to remind them about your RSS subscription.
A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER FORGET
Give people what they are looking for
Content is king. If your blog has no credible genuinely useful or entertaining stuff, you would I come to you blog and waste my time. Think of it! In other words, post what you yourself would like to know about. The first consumer of the product should be the producer. Don't produce anything which you won't buy. You can solve problems, this is the most catching feature across all successful blogs, whether it is Techcrunch or a Makeuseof or Problogger everyone solves some kind of problem.
Even http://www.icanhascheezburger.com/ also provides some good quality content. So until and unless you provide quality stuff people will never subscribe to it. Look for content, post it and have patience. After an initial cold phase, your RSS subscriber count is bound to increase.
From my experience I can say that people really look for solutions be it anything.
Even, if they are subscribing for a humour blog they are looking to satisfy their humour intent. It's just about selling the right product to your customer (treat them as a customer who will buy from every now and then). If you don't write quality stuff they may find it as a spam and then may also unsubscribe from your blog.
Do Guest blogging
If you really want to do guest blogging then do it on hugely popular blogs of your niche or else your content may get unnoticed, this is what I personally feel.
You may say why provide the content you have exclusively worked on for someone's blog other than posting it on yours. The logic is fair and simple. It is the psychology of people to fall for eloquent thoughts, words and emotions. The word "guest" comes with a great deal of respect in many cultures of the world. If the person is guest blogging that testifies his command over his domain knowledge and people would then be interested in reading more of your posts. You can satiate their hunger by providing a backlink to your blog. It makes your brand more popular. Eventually, all these steps aim at increasing the number of your RSS subscribers which is bound to increase if you give your 100% heart to the job.
Give Away Freebies
Oh man people love this, who doesn't want a free stuff. When you give free stuff people expect that you will give some more free stuff in future, so they tempt to subscribe to your RSS feed to get the earliest news of the free stuff provided by you. Sometimes, I tell about promotions by Antivirus companies about 3 months/ 6 months/1 year free antivirus and those post really drive me traffic and I think these posts give me huge amount of subscribers.
If you acquire a good amount of traffic then you can easily contact some companies in your niche to provide some free stuff to your users in exchange of advertising for them.
There are times when companies send out some free copies of its product, you could always use them as free gifts for your new RSS subscribers. The product need not be something expensive, even a $5 gift is a gift. People are generally attracted by free goods. Ask them to subscribe to your RSS feed to get the free gift and this would definitely increase your RSS subscribers.
Hold a contest
People love lotteries and contests. Contests are very popular on the blogosphere. By making subscribing to your RSS feed a requirement to participate, you could quickly boost the number of subscribers that you have. This technique is used by each and every blogger who has got good amount of subscribers. Even if you are new and you think that people may not participate in your blog contest then also you should start a contest because, if people sense that they could gain some free stuffs from these type of contest they usually subscribe to your blog. One more thing, if your blog is a bit popular then you don't even have to bother about the prizes as the sponsors will take care of that.
Social Media and Email Marketing
Nowadays, there are lot of social media start-ups providing websites/blogs services which would create their social media personality and that really helps your internet venture and this isn't all Facebook glamour I'm talking about.
Social media marketing and brand building is the current whim of the internet world and that surely isn't overrated and it justifies the hype and lives up to the expectations.
Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, and few other social networking sites should be your hunting ground.
After starting out your blog, ask your friends, relatives, girlfriend/ boyfriend/spouse to subscribe to your RSS feed.
When I had around 10 subscribers , I asked my roommate to subscribe to it and then I thought why don't I ask my 100+ friends in college and in school , so I sent a mail to all of my friends and asked them to subscribe to my blog.
Apart from that, I own a Orkut community which initially helped me getting subscribers. I helped lot of guys out there in the Orkut community and they thought that I am good at computers and they started visiting my blog and I got good amount of subscribers from there.
Submit to RSS directories
After you have written your post and want to publicise it, reach out to people by the help of RSS directories and social bookmarking sites. Some of feed directories, I would advise you to submit your RSS feed, although you can find some more feed directories
1 - Million RSS
2 - FeedPlex
3 - RSS-Network
4 - BlogDigger
5 - ReadABlog
6 - Feedbase
7 - Feedgy
8 - RSS Micro
9 - Plazoo
10 - Feedmil
11 - 2RSS
12 - Dr. 5z5
13 - Jordo Media
14 - LeighRSS
15 - ooBdoo
16 - FeedListing
17 - FeedSee
18 - GoldenFeed
You can find some more feed directories out here http://www.scribd.com/doc/1074963/Free-RSS-Submission-Directories-List
One Thing You should Never Do
Never Spam your Subscribers.
It was a great Experience sharing all the Information with you. I hope you achieve lot of success as a Blogger and be a good human being. I have tried my best to explain every bit of information. I have made all the steps simple for you to understand and written them in a step wise manner, so as to ease your work.
Follow all the methods step by step and Increase your RSS Subscribers will be like cutting cheese with a knife.
Have a successful quest towards your goal of huge number of RSS Subscribers.
Anyways that's all from me.