How To Increase Blog Traffic With RSS Feeds
I follow many blogs. Being a blogger myself, it is somewhat natural. Keeping track of them used to be an issue. Bookmarking is fine, and works to a degree. But if you follow many sites, perhaps in the 100s like I do, checking for updates gets tiresome. There are better ways to spend your time. Enter feeds. Here is my quick and dirty guide on how to make the most of them.
What are Feeds?
You may have seen the universal feed icon or acronyms like “RSS”, “XML” and “Atom” out there, and have been wondering what’s behind them. These are all feeds, short messages that let websites tell you when they have new content. Behind a feed is a source of articles, the website itself. Instead of visiting it to check if there’s an update, you simply subscribe and let it come to you.
Unlike Email, it’s completely private – the sites you subscribe to know nothing about you, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For Publishers and Marketers
Feeds allow instant distribution of content and the ability to make it “subscribable”. You can even advertise in feeds. No more worries about the limitations of email lists.
How do I read feeds?
You click on the orange feed icon, and your browser will place a button on the toolbar. Clicking the button will show current updates for the site. Firefox, Safari, Opera and Internet Explorer (7 or newer) can all do this. Reading a great many sites will clutter the toolbar though. If you get to that point it is best to get a web service, or a stand-alone application to do the job. Here is a list for your convenience:
- Popular Applications (Feed Readers, Feed Aggregators):
FeedDemon 2.0 (Windows) This is my personal favorite. Free.
NetNewsWire (Mac, iPad, iPhone) There are paid and ad supported versions.
- Online Services (use Google to locate):
Google Reader: Powerful but cluttered interface, can log in with Gmail account.
Get More Traffic
All publishers, including you & me want more traffic, and feeds help. First, set up a feed on your site. Default WordPress RSS feeds work fine. Google’s Feedburner gives you more options and tracking. My Feedburner for MeetSandorAndMisato.com looks like this. When set up, submit it to Technorati, the daddy of all blog catalogs. Blog catalogs and feed catalogs are where people go to find stuff to read. Submit your feed to as many as you can. Result: more eyeballs on your site, for free!
Wonderful, isn’t it? Once you have it set you can move on to automating the process. SumbitInMe.com is one way.