Are you using an RSS feed for your website?
If not, you are no Spiderman.
Creating an RSS feed is crucial for the success of your blog for one simple reason:
It adds to your web of connection options on the internet.
Some people consume information online via email, some prefer social media, but there is a strong niche of people who only take in their blog content via an RSS reader. And without an RSS feed on your blog, they will write you off as a villain, and never come back to your blog.
Essentially, an RSS reader allows people to view a compilation of blog posts from places that they specify. The benefits of an RSS aggregator are that you get all your blog content in one place, and you are able to categorize all your choices into organized folders.
In order to assure your blog content reaches its maximum potential, you must realize that all readers enjoy consuming information differently. Some people like emails or RSS feeds, while some like reading and some prefer video or podcasts.
You must cater to all of these people, so your blog posts get viewed.
Some examples of RSS aggregators include Feedly, Reeder and News Blur. Google Reader was always the most popular, however Google recently announced that it will be discontinued in July of 2013. So if you would like to try out an RSS aggregator for your own purposes, I would recommend Feedly, as it has a clean interface and pulls all your feeds from Google Reader, if you had that before.
So how can you setup an RSS feed for your readers to enroll in?
Get bit by the bug
To start off you will have to sign up for a free service from Google called Feedburner. This will allow you to setup a feed, while tracking the amount of RSS subscribers.
If you already have a Gmail account you can sign into the Feedburner service. If not, simply create a Gmail account. (I understand that some people don’t have Gmail. The reason I recommend doing this, is because setting up an RSS feed is much more complicated without one. You don’t have to use your Gmail account if you don’t want to, but it’s free, and it’s the easiest way to setup a feed.)
Creating a feed is quite simple. You can scroll down to the field that says “Burn a feed right this instant.” Then type or copy and paste you blog’s domain here.
Click next. It will then ask you to identify your feed. Choose the option that looks like this: www.mydomain.com/feed. Then click next.
Feedburner will then ask you to name your feed and specify the name of your feed URL. You can name it whatever you want, but you can see what I chose below:
Click next and this will give you the URL of your new feed! It should look something like this:
The next step will simply tell you what statistics are being tracked through your feed. For example you will be able to see how many people are subscribed and what feed reader they are using. You can also include some other statistical options if you would like more in depth statistics such as click through rates.
Spin your web
After that, you will want to put a button on your site that looks like this:
If you click “next” in Feedburner it will give you several options to incorporate your feed on your blog, depending on your blogging platform.
You are more than welcome to walk through the steps of integrating the button on your own platform. However, I would recommend creating a button, similar to the one above, so people can simply click on that button and subscribe via their own feed reader. So, for the easiest and most universal method, follow the steps below:
Click the “friendly graphic link.
Select the first option, “Subscribe in a Reader”
Then scroll to the very bottom of the page to copy the code provided.
You can then paste this code in any area of your website you would like it to show up. I would recommend putting the button in the upper right hand corner of your sidebar, so people can see it, regardless of the page they are on.
If you have a WordPress page you can move a Text widget to your sidebar and then paste the code in there.
After that your button should show up on your website and people will be able to click on it and automatically be redirected to their feed reader.
Congratulations! Your web of connections has now grown. Keep in mind that people who use RSS reader absolutely love them, so it is a great place to get in front of the eyes of seasoned readers. Not to mention you will be able to see how many people click on this link as well!
Let me know in the comments if you have had success with an RSS feed. If you are new to this, do you have any questions?