Ah, RSS feeds- my favorite bit of “push” technology, where the good stuff comes to you, every day, several times a day. Current events, celebrity news, recipes, even Facebook updates, can all be delivered to one place, without having to browse or make new tabs. The question is, with so many wonderful sites out there, how do you keep your RSS subscriptions to a manageable number?
By being ruthless.
A strong word- but yes, I do feel somewhat ruthless when it comes to managing my RSS subscriptions- I have to be, or I’ll spend my entire day reading all that “good stuff”. I’ll admit it was difficult at first, but now I can unsubscribe to a feed without batting an eyelash. Last five posts were boring? Unsubscribe. Stopped publishing full posts? Unsubscribe. Haven’t updated in 6 months? Unsubscribe.
As a web publisher or blogger, how do you keep readers like me, the Ruthless Reader, from unsubscribing from your feed? Here are five ways:
- Actually publish a feed. No, seriously- these days, it’s almost too easy to assume that your blog is publishing a feed properly. Check your feed publishing settings, and subscribe to your own feed so you see what people are getting. There are many times I’ve tried to subscribe to a feed, only to get a bunch of gibberish in my reader.
- Update, update, update. You don’t have to post several times a day- you don’t even have to post every day. But please don’t stop posting for more than a month without explanation.
- Publish full posts. Yes, I know that splogs are horrible, and that they’ve led many bloggers to change over from publishing full posts to publishing summaries or excerpts. The thing is, I don’t really want to have to click through to your website to read a post that interests me. Especially when I’m in a hurry, or have a slow connection. When a blog doesn’t publish full posts, I won’t subscribe to its feed- although I will probably bookmark it.
- Be original. I’m reading your posts to hear your point of view, which should be uniquely you. Remember that news in the blogosphere travels fast- and many sites will publish the same bit of news, the same photos, at almost the exact same time. It’s fine to post the same stuff, but put an original spin on it.
- Encourage feedback. Despite what I said in #3, there are lots of times I will click through to a site through its feed- and this is usually when I want to leave a comment. Many times, I’ll bookmark the post as well- or send it by email to friends. Write posts that people will react to.
I’ve just checked, and I’m currently subscribed to 187 feeds- a manageable, though sometimes still overwhelming, number for me. How many feeds are you subscribed to? And what are your favorite tips for managing them?