The number of RSS subscribers any particular blog maintains is an extremely important factor in getting your blog noticed and persuading others to take you and your blog seriously. Of course the quality of content you produce should be the #1 factor, but the sad fact is, that little widget that most of us display often provides a better (or worse) impression than anything else.
However, even a blog with thousands of RSS subscribers should constantly bear in mind the fact that an on-site viewer is far more valuable than an RSS viewer. Obviously a reader who subscribes to your RSS feed as opposed to one that doesn’t is more beneficial, but when it comes to actually viewing your content, you want them out of that reader.
Why it’s so Important
There are several reasons why you could benefit from your readers clicking through to your blog, but the most important of them all is participation. Your viewers can’t participate if they’re reading from their RSS client or email. The more participation your blog gets, the more of a community you build. With the increasing popularity of Web 2.0 you want to build a community and without participation you don’t have an active community!
How to do it
1. Subtle remarks – It can take something as simple as making a quick, subtle remark about a widget, image, advert etc. in your sidebar or somewhere else on your blog that they can’t see in their reader. People are curious … “curiosity killed the cat” In this case no one dies though 🙂
2. Contests – Running contests or anything that encourages comments. It seems like every contest I run brings in new commentators, who all of the sudden tell me that they’ve been keeping up with my blog for x days/months.
3. Ask Simple Questions – More often than not, people have made up their mind whether or not they’re going to hop over to your blog through their reader to make a comment immediately after reading the title of your post. However, asking a simple question that requires a simple answer will increase the likelihood of those who initially (subconsciously) decided not to participate.
These tips probably sound like common sense, but if this isn’t something you’ve considered in the past, or it’s something you rarely consider, hopefully it provides a little food for thought and ultimately increases participation within your blog.