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Getting the best out of your RSS feed

Updated on June 5, 2013

Many people actually read your Blog content using its RSS feed.  Regretfully, what this means is a quite a few of your readers seldom visit your Blog page.  Thus your website is losing out on the number of unique visitors coming to it and spending time reading all the interesting stuff you’ve written.

Another thing is, if the only content these readers are seeing is what is available via your RSS feed, your readers may not be getting the very best content from your Blog.

Here is how you can make sure that your RSS feed is a true representation of the informative material that you take so much to trouble to place on your Blog each day.  I’m sure this ought to attract more readers to actually come and visit your Blog and spend some time there reading your Blog content. 

This is definitely going to increase the number of hits your Blog gets, which makes it interesting to search engines.  There is an excellent chance that your Blog visitors will spend some time on your Blog reading stuff that they find interesting, this is also what makes search engines happy.

Diagram 1. Just to add a bit of color here
Diagram 1. Just to add a bit of color here

1. Choose The Excerpts You Sent Out Via Your RSS Feed Carefully

Withhold key information from the feed. This can be tricky, but if you know your visitor demographics well ( And you really should if you want to earn money from your Blog ) you should be able to do this effectively.

Withholding information can be a sure shot way to lose readers, so make very sure that you include a great synopsis of each of your posts in your feed.

Your readers must be carefully ( and gently ) trained to understand that they can find a ton more useful information in your full post, available on your Blog and only a mouse click away.

Readers who are interested in your material will simply not fail to click the link provided in your feed and make a quick visit to your Blog when they read an interesting synopsis. Other’s who read the synopsis and realize that this material is really not for them will simply do nothing. Thus you will drive pertinent readers to your Blog.

2. Think Carefully And Organize Your RSS Feed

Many people who read RSS feeds regularly, find a cluttered and haphazard RSS feed a no no, especially those who subscribe to multiple RSS feeds ( most do ). You must organize your RSS feed carefully so that it delivers the maximum value to readers who regularly go through your Blog content.

Schedule regular updates covering announcements connected to your Blog content, these could be contests, Blog template updates that bring a new look and feel to your Blog, new developments on your Blog, anything you think that might be of interest to your readers who do not frequently actually visit your Blog.

Regular calendar based RSS feed updates are very helpful. Such an approach helps make sure that your RSS feed readers know when to expect updates from you. ( For example - every fortnight, or once a month ). This could get your RSS feed readers to impatiently look forward to your next update.

3. Include Polls

A tried and tested technique to get your RSS readers to physically visit your website rather than skim through your RSS feed is to include Questions and Polls in your RSS feed synopsis of your Blog posts.

Make readers aware that sharing their points of view, and participating in your Blog community is a great way to access useful information. This will definitely get your website a ton of attention and hits.

Keep your RSS feed content short and sweet. Simply include a question ( or a small set of thought provoking questions ) asked in your poll with a link to your Blog page where a reader can submit their responses and read the responses of others. Make it easy and meaningful to interact with your Blog and your RSS feed readers will not mind clicking on a link once or thrice for you.

4. Share Links

Any post that includes links to related, interesting content is perfect for an RSS feed. Weekly posts are ideal because you can simply share exciting links you’ve found during the week with short descriptions.

The only issue with this approach is your RSS feed readers must grow to know you provide quality links, not links to irritating advertisements or badly written content. Your reputation as a good link deliverer is a must to be successful using this technique. This is built over time and with care.

5. Incorporate Visuals

The most successful RSS feeds also contain videos and images. Although RSS feed readers look for simplicity while accessing text based content, today there is a rising interest in content with great visuals. Great visuals have always been the perfect way to engage your readers interest and encourage them to actually visit your website.

Remember that people who only access your website content using their RSS readers are not getting the visual impact of your Blog page design. They are only accessing excerpted Blog content. When you include great visuals in your RSS feeds, you will be giving readers a taste of the eye candy that can be found on your Blog or website. In your readers RSS aggregator, which is full of plain text for other website, your visually engaging RSS feed can stand out and attract your RSS feed readers to actually visit your website or Blog.

Ivan Bayross
Open source tutorials | Open source training


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