When Jacob Share approached me to participate in his Building RSS Group Writing Project and share my tips, adding that I have a “proven track record”, I smiled. Sure, I managed to attract over thousand subscribers to Inspiration Bit in “just” 18 months, but this could hardly be qualified as a proud achievement. There are hundreds of other blogs that achieved the greater number of subscribed readers in only a few months of their existence.
On the other side I can’t deny and be ungrateful to the fact that there are thousands of other blogs that have a much smaller loyal following than mine. While as you can see from the Feedburner screenshot above, the rise of RSS subscribers to Inspiration Bit has been nice and steady, and with the exception of a couple of months this Spring, the numbers are continuously growing. This progress is far more significant than the actual feed count, especially given the fact that I spend much less time blogging this year than I did a year ago.
So how can bloggers increase their RSS subscription, what tips can I share with the readers? I think before finding the keys to the HOW question, it’s more important to answer the WHY and WHAT questions about RSS.
Unfortunately in a crazy race after more traffic, more subscribers, more comments many forget that bigger is not necessarily better. How many of the Top 100 blogs on Technorati list do you read on a regular basis? There are only a couple of them in my feed reader, only a dozen of them that I occasionally visit and read, another dozen that I’ve heard about but have no interest in reading, while the rest will remain unknown and unvisited for probably forever.
So why is it so pivotal to you to build your blog’s RSS feed count to thousands of subscribers, and is it that paramount to you at all? Is it the fame you are after, or the money making aspect of the blog is the one pushing you for more subscribers? Whatever it is don’t let the obsession over numbers take over the quality and the value of your posts and writing.
What are the benefits of having a large number of subscribers, what impact does it have on a blog?
Obviously the high feed count is a great promotional tool for your blog. But with the larger audience your responsibility as a blogger grows as well. Are you ready to take on more roles and be that authority in your field of blogging? It’s very easy to fall into the trap of following the footsteps of other blogs in your quest to achieve the popularity and numbers that you crave, but is it the right path for you? Do you have what it takes (time, energy, commitment, big pool of ideas, knowledge) to stand out in the crowd, attracting new readers and keeping the existing ones happy?
By answering those questions you’ll be able to come up with your own strategies for building a solid readership around your blog. Study the tactics of your favourite blogs. Try them out on yours. See what works for you, what felt right for you?
One of the more popular and sure-fire methods to get more incoming links, comments, popularity with social networks and new readers nowadays is to publish ginormous lists of links on a certain topic. Certainly you can try that out yourself as well, but make sure you’ll follow it up with some quality original content. After all how many blogs can we handle that “smash” us with loads of links to follow and pictures to look at?
Another successful method that helps you to attract more business through your blog and gain authority in your niche is to share your business experience and knowledge with the readers, write about things you’ve learned, take them through your business processes.
The best strategy is to stop obsessing about the numbers and instead be committed to your blog’s success, be sincere and passionate what you write about. Be it the love of type or photography, the knowledge of graphic applications, the field of your study.
Ask yourself the question: “Would I subscribe to a blog like mine?”. If you’re brutally honest with yourself and your answer is yes, chances are other people would find it interesting enough to subscribe too. And so what if it takes you longer than for some other bloggers to build your loyal readership? The word of mouth, the link love and the loyalty of your readers will do the magic of spreading the word about your amazing blog. All you need to worry about is to keeping up the great work, being unique and genuine.
As for Inspiration Bit, while I do still check the feed count as soon as I turn on my computer, I’m not letting myself to be preoccupied with the numbers. I have big plans for this blog and when the time comes I’ll be ready to take it to the next level and be comfortable with the larger audience and increased responsibility.
What about you? How does your RSS saga look like?