May 14, 2009

Ten Ways to Build a Subscriber Base


Hostway Team

Now that you’ve got a feed on your Web site, you’re looking to build your audience. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to deliver content that people want to read and help them find out about it.

1. Deliver useful content.

This is the most important tip to follow when building your subscribers. Consider your content from your reader’s perspective rather than your company’s. You may want them to know that you just released a product with new features, but they want to know how your product can solve their problems. Remember to make your information useful to your readers, and people are more likely to want to read it.

2. Update your content often.

Even with interesting content, your audience can always check your Web site for updates. So why would they want to subscribe to RSS? The key to convincing your audience to sign up for your RSS feed is updating your content often enough that they’ll feel like they will miss out if they don’t subscribe.

3. Write a compelling link.

Just placing the bright orange icon on your page isn’t enough. Ask your readers to subscribe to your feed. Make your text link compelling. You may want to mention how often new content is posted (eg., “Subscribe to our daily news updates”).

4. Place the RSS icon above the fold.

Make sure the RSS feed gets visitors attention before they click away. Because most visitors don’t scroll down your page, place the feed link above the fold.

5. Place the RSS icon on your home page.

If your home page gets the most traffic (that’s usually the case), then place your RSS feed right on your home page. The more exposure your RSS feed gets, the more subscribers you’re likely to get.

6. Push the complete post, not just a teaser and link to your site.

Regular RSS subscribers skim through hundreds of posts to pick out the ones they want to read. Many find it annoying to get only a teaser and link to your site instead of the complete story.

7. Submit your feed to the major directories.

Just like your Web site, your RSS feed is easier to find if it shows up in search results. Submit your feed to major Internet directories like Google Reader and MyYahoo to make sure it’s indexed and available when someone searches for your keywords.

8. Add the RSS feed icon to every blog post, article, newsletter etc.

You never know which post or Web page will be the first one a visitor sees. Often keyword searches will send visitors to a page other than your home page. To make sure your visitors know about your RSS feed, place the link on every post, article, newsletter edition or page where your content appears.

9. Explain what RSS is for readers who may not know.

Even though it’s been around for several years, many Internet users don’t know what an RSS feed is. To help those people get your message, write a simple description of what an RSS feed is and the benefits of subscribing.

10. Deliver content on the promised topic.

Resist the temptation to post off-topic. If your blog connected to your RSS feed is about candles, you may lose readers by discussing last night’s football game. When people subscribe to your feed, they’re expecting to get information on a specific topic. Don’t risk unsubscribes by disappointing them with off-topic content.

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