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Five ways to keep me from unsubscribing to your feed

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?


  1. By Ajay posted on February 2, 2009 at 6:04 pm
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    I’m subscribed to around 156 feeds. I use FeedDemon as my RSS reader. Well, I’d die trying to keep track without it.

    Regarding Updating, too many updates on a single day and I usually skip the feed or finally unsubscribe. IMO, at most five is a something that will keep me continuing to read a feed.

  2. By Ajay posted on February 2, 2009 at 6:05 pm
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    Oh, and of course I don’t need to tell you that I’m subscribed to this feed as well :)

  3. By weston posted on February 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm
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    I subscribe to maybe 200 feeds. I just scan the feeds and if i see something interesting i red that one. I have two rules about not reading your website anymore at un-subscribing from your feed and they are. If i remember if your posts are boring and if you don’t allow me to read your full post in the browser.

  4. By Janko posted on February 3, 2009 at 6:39 am
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    I can only agree with all five statements. Currently I’m subscribed to 80 feeds, because couple months ago I unsubscribed from many inactive feeds.

  5. By Graham Smith posted on February 3, 2009 at 7:29 am
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    Since i fully abandoned RSS feeds and RSS readers and moved over to RSS by email, I have become far less overwhelmed with the number of feeds Im subscribed too.

    Honestly, I can’t now say how many. But all I know is that whenever there is a new post, it will come to me rather than me having to once again check a overwhelming RSS reader full of all those unread updates that just build up and up.

    I now actually look forward to receiving email from Feedburner or Feedinbox because invariably, it means little work on my behalf. If the feed in question becomes less and less interesting, then I can simply unsub with one mouse click from the bottom of the email and no more boring feeds.

    I seem to be in the minority, or so it feels, that has this immense dislike for RSS feeds and readers.

    But all valid points in your post for sure. Which is proven because I clicked on the link after getting your RSS update by email and felt inclined to comment. lol. :)

    Graham

  6. By IngloriousBastards posted on December 5, 2009 at 1:23 am
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    Nice, love your articles. Just favd your site :)

  7. By TopGear posted on December 7, 2009 at 2:40 am
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    Nice, love your articles. Just favd your site :)

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