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Reasons to Build RSS Subscriber Numbers

Posted By Darren Rowse 19th of June 2007 RSS 0 Comments

Dosh Dosh explores Why You Should Build Your Feed Subscriber Base and gives a variety of good reasons for building up the number of readers subscribing to your blog including:

  • Personal Gratification
  • Feed-based Monetization
  • Social Proof
  • Ability to Initiate Feed-Level Promotions
  • Improved Linkability
  • Buzz Generators

I’d add two more reasons to build your RSS readership (and I’m sure there are many more that readers will suggest in comments):

1. It increases the Viral Nature of Your Blog – while RSS is becoming more widely spread in the type of people using it – I still think that you’d find that those using it are a fairly tech savvy crowd and that many of them are bloggers. I have no way of measuring this – but my own anecdotal experience through conversations with readers shows that those who subscribe to feeds are more likely to link up to your blog than those who follow your blog through other means.

2. SEO – it strikes me that search engines are becoming more and more interested in RSS. One example of this is Google’s recent purchase of Feedburner – but we’re also seeing more and more integration of RSS into the personalized search offerings of Yahoo, Google etc. I am yet to see any real evidence of this happening yet – but to me it is a logical extension that Search Engines would start to integrate into their algorithms the popularity of a site’s feeds. Of course there are complications with the implementation with the implementation of this – but it makes sense to me that if a company like Google can see how many subscribers your blog has (and they should be able to get a guide to this not only through Feedburner – but through Google Reader, iGoogle etc) that they could fairly easily use such information to rate a site’s popularity. It’s just an untested theory – but one that is a hunch I’ve had growing in me for a while now.

Lastly – I guess it’s good to grow your RSS readership for the same reason that it’s good to grow every other type of readership that you have – influence. The more people that read your blog (via any means) the more likely you are to achieve the goals you have for that blog – whether they be monetary goals, fame, influence etc.

Want to read more about getting RSS Readers for Your Blog and how to keep them?

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About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. This was very helpful, and I particularly like the related articles at the bottom. Great info! I feel like such a loser now for not having feedburner on my site. I need to get on that!

  2. Looks like you got a typo there Darren, “34 Readers Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog” heh.


    RSS is one of those kind of annoying things. Like on my blog the traffic is going up pretty nicely, but RSS readership levels haven’t gone up at all… just really irritating.

  3. I am slowly learning the importance of RSS readership. Since mine is climbing fairly nicely, I am glad, but have eventual concerns on branding aspects of the blog… since all feeds generally look… well… like a feed.

  4. It is frustrating when you get tons of traffic but no rss subscribers. I guess on one had, they’re visiting your site and possibly clicking ads and what not… but on the other hand… some companies pay is determined by rss.

  5. Terra, your feed may look the same but if your content is different then you’ll stand out. So it ends up being all about content, as usual.


  6. I was expecting a life changing article about why you feed subscriptions are good. Pretty good info.

    I feel more inspired to write when I have regular readers. It’s like I’m crafting articles just for them. That’s what I like about RSS.

  7. Darren, this is way off topic, but I’ve been reading ProBlogger since 95, but I can’t quite seem to keep up with the conversations. Is there anyway you can install that WordPress plug-in that allows readers to subscribe to new comments? I’ve finally had it up to here. =)

    Please consider it.



  8. Jason – I did used to have a subscribe to comments option which emailed people when a new comment was left on a post but I stopped using it for two reasons:

    1. I was finding some readers were getting bombarded with emails. Some of my posts get hundreds of comments and to send an email each time one was left was filling up inboxes everywhere and hitting our server hard

    2. I get a lot of spam comments. While Akismet catches most of them some still get through and I found that readers were being sent emails for all kinds of dubious content – with ProBlogger’s name associated with it.

    I’ll consider a comment RSS in the future for hardcore subscribers but I think the same problem will be there. It’s a tough one for a blog that gets a lot of comments to know how to manage them all.

  9. Thanks for your response, Darren.

    I remember when you were having trouble with your newsletter and what not getting hijacked. I had no idea it had to do with the plug-in.

    By the way, I meant I’ve been reading your huge blog since 2005, not 95. I’m not entirely mental.


  10. I love RSS. It’s my preferred way of subscribing and keeping track of the sites (blogs, flickr accounts, podcast, etc) including Problogger! Also, Feedburner rocks and I’m hoping that after the Google acquistion is finished, they will open the “pro” services for all users. . . Hey, I can dream.

  11. Darren,

    I’ve been benefiting from your blog since October of last year -thank you for your compassion and passion with it. I’ve done a lot of SEO, RSS and am actively trying to increase readership with my blog, it’s about music, education and technology. The biggest problem I seem to have is that my “niche” is full of “unsavvy” technophobes. It is very difficult getting people (especially educators in my experience) out of the proverbial “box” they operate from.

    Your posts have been especially productive for me over the hundreds of others I’ve read in the last 8 or so months. I’ve recently taken the “jump” to full RSS feeds based on one of your articles. I’m still a little unsure about the move…

    Just to confirm some of your suspicions about RSS people being technically savvy, I did an informal poll at my last music clinic and only 1 out of 30 attendees had ever heard of it… it’s certainly not real research but for what its worth…

    Joseph Pisano

  12. One of the things I and others have noticed about writing niche blogs is that, unlike readers of tech blogs, many of my readers have no idea whatsoever what an RSS feed is or how to subscribe to it. Which is why I have subscription buttons in obvious places (LH top of each page, bottom of each post) so that readers can hopefully discover for themselves the ease and usefulness of accessing their content via feeds.

  13. Hi Darren,
    Great stuff as usual. My RSS feeds for about 30 sites have one subscriber – me. I’ve been putting off looking at Feedburner, but I guess, as the Walrus said, the time has come!

    If you think getting musos through their technophobia is hard then you should try church pastors and administrators!!! I’ve been building church related sites for a while, and trying to get info and decisions out of people is dentistry at its worst.

    Mal Dow

  14. My new blog is (finally!) picking up a bit of traffic, but I’ll worry about RSS later. Mostly because, like you, I believe that most feed readers are tech-savvy, and I love non-tech-savvy people, since they’re more likely to click on ads. I do offer full feeds, but I’m happy as long as people read my content, whether it’s through my feed or my blog.

  15. well, i guess by now i know how important my feed is.

    after i read your post, i moved my feed from 3 lines down on the sidebar to the very top! don’t know whether this makes people subscribe. there are so many people interested in a hawaii vacation, the best hawaii vacation. wouldn’t it be wonderful to have them as subscribers. thanks to those who did after they read my comment. mahalo, pua
    did not even know yet that google bought feedburner. who/what else are they buying?!

  16. Another reason to grow the RSS readership is to be more independent of search engine traffic. Your ranking in search engines may go up and down but having a large RSS readership helps to keep the traffic more continuous.

  17. Several other reasons why you should increase your RSS base feeders come through my mind at the moment . If i remember correctly , there were some options over at feedburner to monetize your feeds . Got a big number of feeders , another small stream of income maybe .

    Nevertheless , building a nice solid stream of RSS readers and showing it off to your visitor might get their attention . A number of 1,000 – 10,000 readers shows that all those people can’t be wrong , there’s something there definitely worth reading .

    The above tips do fall somewhat in the General category . And as for the part SEO regarding feeds . I don’t think any time soon , feeds will help us rank better and no one can judge a site’s popularity according to their number of feeds . You can have 10k unique visitors per day and only 10% of these subscribe .
    The way you’re saying it , is somewhat relevant to the way alexa ranks sites .
    Based only on the information they receive from their tools , i can add that this isn’t 100% precise .

    From my point of view , Google Acquired Feedburner mostly for monetization . They are dominating the PPC market , they were looking for something to expand . I will have to underline , that this is only my point of view .

  18. I agree at some point and disagree too :) I just wrote the other day why RSS is NOT important for blogs.

    Take a look I mention your blog too:


  19. A little late… but thanks for the mention, Darren!

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