How To Get Traffic Via Your RSS Feed

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RSS Feed

An RSS Feed does not really hold enough SEO (Search Engine Optimization) power to warrant you paying it any extra attention. However, the RSS Feed as a tool is a very powerful one if you have one set up for your site. It has the potential to drive repeat traffic to your website/blog from returning visitors. The problem is that many people do not understand how to use RSS Feeds to their full capacity.

This article will help you get up to speed when using your RSS Feed.

Tips To Help You With Your RSS Feed

Getting People To Sign Up To Your RSS Feed

This is without a doubt the hardest part of getting traffic via your RSS feed. There is no point in trying to trick people into signing up to your RSS feed, and there is no point in trying to force them to sign up by restricting access to your site otherwise. You need to get your viewers to willingly accept your RSS Feed. The user needs to be convinced that they want to come back next week or next month. That is why getting people to sign up to your RSS feed is the hardest part.

  • The easy advice – Make your website or blog better quality.
  • The intermediate advice – Engage with your viewers so that they believe your blog or website may offer them something.
  • The hard advice – Target your users so that you appeal to them directly. You need to engage with them but then anticipate the things they want and let them know that you can give it to them. Furthermore, you must show them that you can give them more and more each week/month if they are willing to come back and visit.

Know What Your RSS Feed Is

Your RSS feed is not a magical toy and its search engine SEO power is limited. You need to understand that the RSS feed is the thing that comes last. It is not the sale – it is the handing over of the money (metaphorically speaking). You need to convince the user that they should revisit your site, and when they agree, you push the RSS feed under their nose.

Some people believe that if they just get people to sign up to the RSS feed that the user will return automatically, but they will simply forget you and delete your Feed when they have a moment. You need to have the user in an acceptable and agreeable state so that they will actually use the RSS feed when they see a new entry appear. Metaphorically speaking, the RSS feed is not the selling tool, it is the acceptance or payment tool.

Getting People To Care When Their RSS Feed Shows A New Entry

If your new content is interesting enough then people will check their RSS feed to see when your newest entry is out. A lot of the time, it is the previous post that sells future ones. If your content posts are very good then you need not worry about getting people to care about your RSS feeds newest entry. If your last post was a little hit or miss then you should finish it with a mention about how good your next post is. You could even add a little preview of next weeks to get people interested in advance.

Make Sure That New Entries Are Added Into The RSS Feed

Not making sure that your RSS feed is updated is nothing short of foolish. Sign up to your own RSS feed so that you can check to see if your updates are filtering through correctly.  Should any errors arise, you will be able to fix them straight away.

RSS Feed

Make Sure That Minor Updates Do Not Appear

This is very important, because if you go back and make small revision to an old post then you do not want it coming up on your RSS feed. You also do not want any small additions to come up on your RSS feed. The only thing that should show up as “New” on your RSS feed should be full and complete content posts.

Make Sure Your Feed Works Perfectly

Bugs on an RSS pages are the fastest way to have your RSS feed deleted. Make sure that it renders quickly and that everything loads up perfectly and looks how it is supposed to.

Reminding Your Followers That You Exist

Email newsletters are a good way of doing this. As is making sure that your brand logo appears when they look online. Little reminders that you exist will remind them to check their RSS feed.

Hold On? I Thought RSS Was Dead!

Google recently announced that they were closing down their Google Reader, probably the most widely used application for accessing RSS Feeds.  Just because Google is shutting down their ‘Reader’, it doesn’t mean that RSS is dead, far from it actually.  Many people still subscribe to them to stay up-to-date with their favourite sites.  Blogs in-particular have some of the highest subscription rates of RSS Feeds from their regular readers.

For an alternative to Google Reader (if you were using it), checkout Feedly.  You can import all your existing RSS subscriptions from Google Reader and stay up-to-date with the sites that you were following.

RSS Feeds can help to boost traffic to a site if you use them properly.  The best thing about them however, is that once you set them up, you can more or less leave them to run on autopilot.  Why would you not want to implement a way to drive traffic that can run automatically.

Do you allow your readers to subscribe to an RSS Feed?  Do you find that your RSS Feed helps to bring in traffic to your site?  What is your opinion on RSS Feeds and their future?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

About Sonia Jackson

Sonia works for Essays Mighty Students, a site that helps with writing essays and research papers. You can learn more by following her on Google+.

  • Hey Sonia – nice post. You have hit the nail on the head with this. People forget it, I still very much use RSS feeds and a large amount of my traffic comes from it. Just because Google is closing Reader down (they will come up with something else!) there are still many other solutions out there. I will check out Feedly – thanks.

    • Hi John,

      Yes, I’m sure Google will come up with some sort of replacement for Google Reader soon (I’m thinking something that will be incorporated into G+).

      Feedly is pretty good, been using it myself. Has an app so that you can keep up-to-date with your favourite sites whilst on the go. That’s probably how I read most of my subscriptions at the moment, so I find it very useful.

  • Andi Leeman

    Hi Sonia, thanks for a very informative post and I am embarrassed to say I know very little about RSS. I believe we set ours up but what gets published to it I am not sure. I think I really should sign up to it and check it out. A great tip and one I didn’t think of myself, that is really crap isn’t it? lol It is time I sat down and went through our RSS set up to make sure we have everything running properly.

    • Your RSS Feed is fine Andi, am subscribed to it on Google Reader (now Feedly). Helps me see if I have missed one of your posts.

  • Catherine Holt

    I have never really understood RSS feeds and I think this is probably why I have not noticed much traffic from it…or at least I don’t think there is! I think I need to study this a lot more as I find it very confusing.

    • The best way (if you haven’t already done so) is to set one up with Feedburner – feedburner.google.com/

      It’s a bit like having another newsletter that people can subscribe to, only RSS feeds email out a link to your latest post to your subscribers. I only have a couple of hundred RSS subscribers compared with my 2,000+ email newsletter subscribers, but they both help to bring in traffic.

  • Kapil Jekishan

    Hi Sonia – This is a great simple overview of RSS feeds. As Matt has mentioned, I set up my Feedburner account a month or so ago and only checked yesterday to see a couple of hundred subscribers. In addition to having a regular newsletter, RSS feeds are an easy way for your regular readers to read anything new that gets posted on your site/blog.

    • Hi Kapil,

      Yes, it’s such an easy thing to set up, site’s may as well use them. They aren’t going to send hundreds of thousands of visitors your way, but they may just encourage people to keep coming back to check out the latest post.