What is RSS?
RSS is a type of XML file which includes content from a variety of websites and web services. It allows people to easily track new content being added on sites. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0), RDF Site Summary (RSS 1.0 and RSS 0.9), as well as Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91).
Many people have said that RSS is what has really made the web better and more useful, as we can subscribe to data, content and information from just about any website.
My grandmother didn’t understand the usefulness of RSS until I told her that it is like subscribing to the favorite sections of newspapers around the world and having them all delivered to you as new stories are written.
WordPress and RSS
WordPress has many RSS options built into it, but some theme authors have forgotten to add the proper code to the header to make it easy for RSS feed discovery services, like Bloglines, to find.
To insert the feed into the head of your themes, make sure you use the following code:
[php] RSS Page on the WordPress Codex.
Feature Your RSS – If you want to get people to subscribe to your RSS feed, the best way is to feature it the best you can, and as often as you can. If you don’t, people won’t notice it and thus they won’t subscribe.
Write About RSS – I know it seems a bit comical that I am writing a post about RSS and one of my tips to increase RSS subscribers is to write about it, but writing about RSS, or your current subscriber growth is a great way to increase your subscriber base. It is a reminder to those that read the site, but don’t subscribe, that maybe they should.
Give Options – With Feedburner offering both regular subscription options and e-mail subscription options, giving your readers many options can help increase the number of people that subsribe. This also includes giving them multiple feeds. WordPress comes with support for multiple feed formats, and allows users to subscribe to single categories if they so choose.
Hold a Contest – There are many ways to insert information into the RSS feed and you could hold a contest where people had to subscribe in order to find the keyword of the day. Usually, unless you are producing amazing content, most subscribers will quickly disappear once the contest ends.
Consistently Write Great Content – This is by far the most simple tip on the list, but for some people, it is also the most difficult. The reality is that sites that break news, have strong opinions, or teach get more subscribers than other sites.
While great content can be subjective, consistency isn’t. If you publish one original article every day, your RSS subscribers will slowly climb. If you stop posting, they will most likely fall.
As adoption of RSS feed reading continues to pick up steam, you will want to optimize your blog to promote the options people have to subscribe to your site. There is nothing better than having regular readers, and subscribers are more likely to be regular readers than anyone else.
What are your best tips for increasing subscribers?