November 29th, 2007
Photo by Charles Nou˙rit
As you can see my FeedCount shows that today I have 107 subscribers. Maybe this number didn’t looks great for you, but for me, it’s a big number, I’m very happy today because of this so I’ve decided to share with you some stuff I’ve learned about RSS FeedBurner and other stuff. If you want to increase your RSS subscribers than you will find this article interesting.
1. The best way to setup your RSS Feed
You probably know that the main feed for your blog usually looks like this: http://www.134u.com/feed (I use my RSS example for better understanding). But when you make an account on FeedBurner, you get a new address for your RSS, which looks like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/134ucom (what follows after http://feeds.feedburner.com/ – in my case 134ucom, is a string chooses by you when you’ve make your account). What you maybe don’t know is that the FeedCount chicklet displays only those subscribers who follow their link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/134ucom. But what can you do if you have subscribers who used your main feed to subscribe: http://www.134u.com/feed, and you want feedburner to count them? Well, you can use a great plugin, called FeedBurner FeedSmith.
The plugin will detect all ways to access your feed (e.g. http://www.yoursite.com/feed/ or http://www.yoursite.com/wp-rss2.php, etc.), and redirect them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber. It will forward for your main posts feed, and optionally your main comments feed as well.
I’ll tell you that: for about 4 weeks, I’ve used my main feed and the FeedCount displays 0 subscribers, even if I knew that there are more. After that, I use the link from feedburner, but my FeedCount still displays 0-1 subscribers. After I’ve installed FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin, the next day my FeedCount displays 35 subscribers I was happy that day, but this didn’t last. The next day it shows 25, the next day 40, than again 27… Hmmm! So I began to start some information about that feedburner, to find some explanation. And I found some in the John Chow’s articles, How I Gain 4,691 RSS Reader In 1 Month. He said that:
FeedBurner’s subscriber count is based on an approximation of how many times your feed has been requested in a 24-hour period. If a reader doesn’t access his feed reader for a few days, he is no longer counted even though he is still a subscriber. So the object was to get everyone to check their feed everyday.
So that was the reason why FeedCount displays such different numbers. But I’ve found also some explanation in the Darren Rowse’s article: Why does my Feedburner Subscriber Count Fluctuate? – you should read this article, too.
Then, John Chow said that is better to attract more Email subscribers, because:
FeedBurner counts an email subscriber for as long as they can send them emails. Unlike a RSS reader, if the RSS by Email subscriber doesn’t read his email for several days, he is still counted. The only time his count stops is if he unsubscribe to the service.
After I’ve read John Chow’s article, I gave my readers the possibility to subscribe through email to my RSS feed. And also it gave me the idea to organize a contest, where the email subscriptions counts 2 points.
If you decide to deliver your RSS through email using FeedBurner, you can make some improvements:
1. You must activate your Communication Preferences service: you can do that under the tab Publicize, Email Subscription -> Communication Preferences. You can personalize the subject and the body of the email your subscribers will receive.
2. You can choose how your email will look like: you can do that under the tab Publicize, Email Subscription -> Email Branding. You can choose your own title, you can add your Logo to email, and you can change the style of your email content.
3. You can choose when your email will be delivered to subscribers: under the tab Publicize, Email Subscription -> Delivery Options:
4. You also can choose to receive an email whenever people unsubscribe from your email subscription: just go under the tab Publicize -> Email Subscriptions -> Subscription Management and check “Send me an email whenever people unsubscribe (will be sent to your “from” address).”
Under the same tab you can see the number of email subscribers and if they activate their subscription. But you can see the unconfirmed subscribers directly on your dashboard, using a great plugin: Notify Unconfirmed Subscribers. Using this plugin, you also can send to your unconfirmed subscribers an email to remind them to activate their subscriptions.
How to increase your RSS subscribers
I’ve read too many articles which explain how you can increase the number of RSS subscribers. There are many way to do this, but I want to point just some of them (and for some of these I link to those articles where you can find more information):
- Write great and on-topic content – of course, this is the default rule
- Place your RSS icon above the fold
- Offer your readers a full RSS feed
- Allow your readers to subscribe by email
- Place an RSS icon at the end of single posts
- Reward your subscribers offering them something unique: you can do this by using FeedFlare
Why readers unsubscribe from your blog?
Darren Rowse from ProBlogger wrote a very interesting article: 34 Reasons Why Readers Unsubscribe from Your Blog, based on his reader’s answers. On the top of reasons stays:
- Too many posts
- Infrequent Posting (or the blog is effectively dead)
- Partial Excerpts Feeds
- Blog Changes Focus (too much off topic posting)
- Too many posts that I see elsewhere (Redundant, Repeated or Recycled News)
How to subscribe to a single section of a blog
If you find a blog like My lucky number 13, with many subjects, you may want to subscribe only to those sections who interested you. So, if you want to subscribe only to the Blogging section, for example, you can use the link: www.134u.com/blogging/feed. Of course, blogs with many sections will not display the RSS links to all these (though this is something to think about), only the full RSS. But keep this in mind for further subscriptions.
If you liked this post, please consider to subscribe to my RSS feed.
If you want to receive new posts directly to your inbox, you can subscribe by Email.
Entry Filed under: Blogging