Educate Your Readers – How can they subscribe to an RSS Feed, if they don’t KNOW what an RSS Feed is?It is essential to discuss what an rss feed is, what a feed reader is, and how to subscribe, don’t assume your readers are the most tech savvy, go slow and have patience with them. You may also want to give them some links to feed reader programs and sites.
Give them the Email Option. Feed readers are the rave, most of us know how to use them, and have a favorite feed reader, but not ALL of us. Some people aren’t comfortable with new software – so offer them something familiar – a way to subscribe via email. Feedburner, and Feedblitz, are two companies that make this easy.I highly recommend using feedburner, in fact I’d say that feedburner is a necessary tool for a successful blogger. Besides giving an email option, you can also use feedburner to track how many subscribers you have, and there are a myriad of great features inside feedburner that just make blogging easier.
Throw a Contest. Blog contests can drive a lot of traffic to your site, and making the only entry requirement, having them subscribe ensures that you will get a lot of entries, and each entry is a new subscriber.
Give something away. Rewarding people for subscribing is a great way to build a large subscriber base, free hosting, free wordpress installation, entrecard credits, ebooks, etc…Here’s a good WordPress plugin to help you along: WP RSS Sticky
Contribute to online communities. Promote the feed on forums / comments / email signatures, etc..wherever you can ethically post your link. Another good way to do this is answer a lot of questions on yahoo answers, and keep your feed subscription link in your signature, this is a wonderful way to build yourself up as an authority on an issue, and with credibility come the flock of subscribers.Maki – from Dosh Dosh – wrote “how you can increase your RSS subscriptions through comments alone.”
Write compelling content. Of course when it all boils down, compelling content is the best surefire way to build and keep people coming back to your blog, and subscribing to your feed.
Run an ad campaign. Use a special landing page designed to receive subscribers to your blog. Giving something away on this page could be a bonus, you could also use entrecard and promote a landing page as well, designed to drive people to subscribe to your blog, one thing you might do here is list some of your best blog posts.
Be a Guest Blogging Pro. A good way to introduce yourself to new people, is via guest blogging on other’s blogs, especially if you can land a spot on a blog with a little more authority or reach than your own.
Network with other bloggers. Probably one of the biggest, the more friends you have the more people you have linking to your best posts. I know I don’t always have something to write about so I write a small overview of a post someone else wrote and link to the post(of course this benefits me because of the pingback/trackback)
Cross Promotional Deals. Using the blogs that you networked with in step 12, as a starting point you can show a link to their rss subscription link in your feed, and they can do the same for you. The biggest benefit of this is that everyone who sees your link, is seeing it because they are subscribed to an rss feed – or in other words, they are familiar with rss, and don’t need to be educated.
Use Feedflare. Feedflare is a built in plugin through feedburner which will make it easy for people to stumble, digg, or bookmark your blog.
Use Noindex tag. By placing the meta robots “noindex” tag in your source (either by hand or via a plugin if you are using WordPress) This will keep search engines from indexing your feed, and will thus help from getting duplicate content.
Use Social media! Use the following social media sites, and be sure to bookmark your posts. You should also focus to building relationships on these sites and gathering friends. Here are some of my favorites: BlogCatalog, Bumpzee, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Sphinn, Stumbleupon, etc.
Use catchy headlines. In the inundation of information, you only have 1-3 seconds to catch someone’s attention enough to make them click on your post, the more catchy, and un-boring the headline the more likely you are to win their attention for the next 5 minutes.
Enlist the help of friends. Sort of along the lines of networking, but instead of building new friends, use your existing network to spread the word about your blog.
SEO and SEM. It’s a no brainer if people find your site via search engines, and see a post they like, they are more likely to keep coming back, and might subscribe to your feed.
Post as if your life were on the line. The More posts, the more people will find your blog. Also the more valuable your blog will be, but keep the topics relevant.You really need to post at least one blog post per day, it doesn’t matter if you write them all during the week you should use the timestamp feature to make them post later on in the day or week, the best time a day for blog posts are usually between 8am and noon Eastern time, in my opinion.
Stick to your niche. At least try and stick to your niche as much as possible, it will keep your seo high, and your subscribers will be satisfied, after all – they subscribed because they like the stuff you’re writing about – don’t change niches, and expect them to stick around.
Citations from other bloggers in your niche. Or blog reviews. Getting write-ups from other bloggers is a good way to gain credibility and authority. If you can get some citations, whether by asking, trading, or just writing content that is so damn good everybody wants to link to it, you will see your subscriber count skyrocket.
Pillar Articles. You Must have 5 Pillar Articles as soon as possible, these will make or break you. I recommend writing one per week, or every two weeks at the least. You also will want to put a link to these prominently on your blog.
Linkbait & Traffic Bait. Link bait, is just something like a blog post, picture, video, etc that pulls in people, its sometimes viral and people share it with their friends, good examples of linkbait can be found at the front of digg, and reddit.
GEt listed in Blog / Rss Directories. Here are a few lists:
55 Active RSS Directories to Help Promote your Feeds
Make sure you’re pinging. Pinging basically notifies rss and blog directories that your blog has updated, and a lot of people check the rss sites when they are looking for topics to read. Here are some really good ping sites:
Share the link love(don’t let them know you’re really being greedy…). Include plenty of outbound links to blogs with relevant posts, this adds credibility to your post, provides your readers with more information on the topic they’re searching for, and also gives you some trackback and link love on the blog that you’re linking to. Especially if you link to blogs that remove nofollow on trackbacks / pingbacks.
Get personal! Send personalized emails to each commenter on your blog, and at the end of the email ask them to do you a favor and subscribe to your blog – make this as personal as possible and this is a great way to network. Also if any readers send you an email, please make sure to email them asap, and again ask them to subscribe.Also of course you definitely MUST answer and respond to ALL comments, asap. Your blog should feel more like a community site, or at the least a question and answer session.
Write easy to scan content.Â Most people who use readers have limited attention and patience – they usually want the meat of what you have to say and they want it now! I bet half of you reading this now, are just reading the subtopics in bold, but that’s ok. I also know many of you have subscribed, or will subscribe.
Become an Authority. If you help people who have questions on sites like Yahoo Answers. Also becoming very active in Forums and linking to some of your pillar articles, and your RSS feed url, will drastically grow your feed. I recommend that you regularly post to 6-8 forums relating to your blog. I’d also recommend that you find the highest ranking forums for your niche, as not all forums are created equal. Don’t just rely on one ranking method though.I’d recommend checking their alexa ranking, google pr, and if they remove nofollow from signatures that’s a big bonus(if they don’t have signatures, then you should stay away from the forum altogether…from a marketing standpoint.)
Post a Series. Start a series of posts, if you grab your readers attention, then they will subscribe so that they don’t miss the conclusion.
Collaborate with other bloggers. This can be a lot of fun you could co-write a series of posts, and alternate which blog you post it on, you can share ads with each other’s rss feed, you can start a business together, etc..