Growing Your RSS Subscribers Series – 1. The options
So it seems the internet has judged me and emphatically judged me as someone not worth listening too. Of course I am referring to my distinct lack of RSS subscribers to this blog. Before you say anything, I am well aware that its not my fault that there is a lack of subscribers, it must be a simple tip, or piece of code that I am not implementing properly. So knowing this I have launched this series in a quest to find out the issue that is handicapping my exponential growth in subscribers and popularity.
First thing was to find some expert opinion and I found a nice list of 50 tips to increase your RSS subscribers by my old mate Daniel Scocco at Daily Blog Tips who is nearing 50,000 subscribers so looks like a safe bet on this issue. In an effort to not overload you with information I have provided a summary of the tips below as well as my opinion on each (in brackets). What will now happen is a series of experiments using one tip at a time and comparing the results. I will let you look over the list first and post my first experiment tomorrow.
1. Have a big RSS icon (Will replace my set up with a very standard Icon and make it bigger)
2. Display the RSS icon above the fold (Happens on every page other than the home page. May be worth testing)
3. Display the RSS icon on every page of your blog (done)
4. Use words.
5. Write a post asking for people to subscribe (Have Done with limited success. May repeat)
6. Use the FeedSmith plugin. (done)
7. Offer email subscriptions. (Will definitely Try)
8. Use an email subscription form. (see above)
9. Encourage readers to subscribe at the bottom of every post. (I do it at the top of every post in a less than ambiguous fashion. Will amend, then test).
10. As few steps as possible. (At the moment it is one step, may reduce to zero steps and see how it goes)
11. Use icons to offer subscription on the most popular RSS readers.
12. Have clear focus on your blog. (No chance the blog reflects my mind which is….Squirrel!)
13. Publish new posts frequently and consistently. (Not going to happen to improve my self-confidence. If I am able and the content is decent may try and increase frequency of post)
14. Don’t exaggerate. (Me? Never)
15. Write valuable content. (Done with bells on)
16. Write unique content. (No-one is quite like me or you or you or you…)
17. Don’t ramble or go off topic. (Do not read the above comment on 16, or 12, or 22…)
18. Use your RSS feed link when commenting on other blogs.
19. Run a contest. (Seems a bit superficial…perfect!)
20. Offer random prizes to your subscribers. (I will stop emailing you if you subscribe…hmm probably not)
21. Write guest posts. (Been There, failed that)
22. Welcome the new readers. (My face is on every page what more of a welcome could they possibly want)
23. Go popular on social bookmarking sites. (Its so easy to do and all. This will probably be my next series but not for RSS, for more visitors)
24. Explain to your readers what is RSS. (Hmm, may need wikipedia)
25. Have a special “Subscribe” page with all the info and links there.
26. Create a landing page on your blog to convert visitors in subscribers. (no)
27. Send traffic to that page using PPC. (No)
28. Write an ebook and ask people to subscribe in order to download it. (too much effort)
29. Launch an email newsletter with Aweber. (very Good Idea, although the results may be inflated considering I already have several thousand subscribers)
30. Offer a full feed. (So chips with the hamburger. Got it)
31. Clutter your website with ads. (probably need to read the whole post for this not to sound stupid)
32. Don’t clutter your RSS feed with ads. (Done)
33. Use social proof. (Most likely my first experiment. Stay tuned (by subscribing to my fed perhaps??(Can you do more than one bracketed comment at a time)))
34. Offer breaking news.
35. Mention that subscribing to your blog is free.
36. Use pop-ups to encourage subscription to your newsletter. (Not gonna happen)
37. Use an animated RSS feed icon to draw attention. (Good Idea)
38. Use feed directories. (No)
39. Email first time commentators encouraging them to subscribe. (seems slightly desperate. Perfect)
40. Make sure the feed auto-discovery feature is working.
41. Offer a comments feed. (seriously does anyone subscribe to this? And more importantly if they do why?)
42. Offer category feeds. (Probably a good way to keep my feeds on topic, on the rare occasion I post about the same topic more than once)
43. Run periodic checks on your feeds.
44. Recover unverified email subscribers.
45. Leverage an existing blog or audience.
46. Use cross feed promotion.
47. Use testimonials on your “Subscribe” page. (Not sure if my testimonials would reflect awfully positive and not sure if you can use your own testimonial, is that taboo?)
48. Get friends to recommend your site and RSS feed on their blog. (Friends…of course..I will ask them *Chirping Crickets*)
49. Do something funny or weird while asking for people to subscribe. (I could stand on my head but no-one would probably see it)
50. Start a long series so people subscribe to keep update with it. (Hmmm, where have I done this before?)
Growing Your Subscribers – Part 2>>