Only a tiny percentage of web users even know what RSS is and even fewer of that group actually use a feed reader. Are you missing out on subscribers by not serving the majority of your readers with an easy way to subscribe?
Probably more than 80% of your readers will not arrive via your RSS feed. Just take a look at your stats, how many visitors do you get in a day. Now look at your feed stats … doesn’t add up does it? You are right now more than likely depending on visitors who like your blog bookmarking or remembering your URL. Of course if your niche is bloggers and blogging then your percentage may well be higher but even here there are a lot of people who do not arrive via RSS, we just have to look at our numbers to see that is the case. If a professional blogging blog is losing subscribers, people who you would expect to be RSS savvy, what about your niche?
There is a solution to this. Everyone that has used the internet for a little while will have an email account. The vast majority will know about email newsletters. Turn your RSS feed into an email list.
Email? This is the age of Web 2.0!
Yes, a bit old-school, but then so are your readers probably. You might well be an early adopter but the mainstream audience by definition is not so you need to pull them along with you.
What does it involve?
The good news is it need not cost you any money. First take a look at your favourite blog systems plugin and modules pages. For example there is a pretty neat plugin for wordpress. Be aware though the majority of these plugins will require some setting up with databases and the like.
Most people will not want to be bothering with all that so this is where Feedblitz comes in. There might well be other services like this but I just heard about this one and am really pleased to discover it. Feedblitz is a free service both to publishers and subscribers. If you want premium features like template control and mailouts more than once a day then you can pay a premium of $4.95 per feed per month up to $24.95 per month for the “pro plus” service.
It also integrates with Feedburner, neat.
After signing up you choose to “syndicate a new feed for others to receive by mail” and enter your feed url.
Once you feed is setup you can either tweak your template if you have gone for the premium service or you can simply pick up the signup form HTML and paste it into your blog template. That’s it!
The service gives you basic stats for your email subscriptions and you can export your list for use in another program. Apparently they are working on an API too.
So what are you waiting for? If you want people to return to your blog you are going to need to give them some encouragement and make it easy for them, this might just be the solution! Let us know how you get on.