Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on November 30th, 2009

Seven Ways To Optimize Your Blog's RSS Feed

When you write a blog post you want people not only to read it but, ideally, you want them to subscribe to your RSS feed. The more readers the better, right?! However, not everyone is fortunate enough to effortlessly draw a natural stream of loyal readers. It takes a little more than publishing a blog post to stoke the fire of subscribed readership. From my experience there are several ways you can improve your blog's RSS readership that will take your feed from feeble to felicitous:

1. Write Masterful Headlines

Headlines can make or break the success of movies, magazines, newspapers, and journalism careers. If you spend additional time on writing a masterful headline, you can boost your RSS feed subscribers. If you just “verbal-rria” out a headline, you will jeopardize your authority. Check out the Who Wants Great Headlines and Content? post that discusses the three “U’s” of headlines.

2. Use Enticing Images

As children we loved books that included pictures so that we could see what we were reading. As adults we still long for visual aids in presentations, cookbooks, magazines, and online articles. Too many words and not enough visuals turn a reader into a Google surfer very quickly. Use enticing images with your blog post to provide a look and feel that will make a reader into a subscriber.

3. Prominently Display RSS Subscription Button

Volacci prefers to place our RSS subscription button prominently in the upper right hand corner of our blog. This is to make it very easy to find, but keeps it from taking attention away from the masterful headline we just spent additional time writing.

4. Respond to Comments

Generally, most people love acknowledgment – whether it be that smiley face sticker on our 98% math test in middle school, or a warm fuzzy at work when you cleaned the coffee pot without being asked. (Thank YOU!) When folks who read your blog comment, you should respond to them personally. Your readers will begin to loosen up and see your blog as a conversation starter, where they can go and possibly get some attention from yours truly.

5. Subscribe to Other People’s Blog...

...and comment on them. “Subscribe unto others, so that they may subscribe onto you.” Let people know in your niche or industry that you are also tuned into their conversations and become a regular post on their comments page, twitter feed, or Facebook page.

6. Remind Them to Subscribe

People just don’t actively think about subscribing. They need a reminder at the end of posts to leave a comment or subscribe to the solid gold that is flowing from your roll. Try something in the way of "If you found this article helpful in any way, please feel free to leave a comment, share with your social media friends, or subscribe to our blog via RSS feed." This is a friendly reminder that there are options available to follow your feed and absorb your knowledge that doesn't require stealing your brains and feeding on them. But try telling that to zombies, they are everywhere these days.

7. Post Regularly

If you stick to a consistent schedule of blog postings, you will grow your feed. If people who are subscribing to your blog don’t know when to expect the next post, they may stop following. Try posting once a weekday, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Keep a solid schedule and they will come.

There are more ways to increasing your blog's RSS feed and subscription base that we didn't cover here. If you feel like we left any off, feel free to comment below and add to the article. Additionally, if you found this article helpful in any way, please feel free to leave a comment, share with your social media friends, or subscribe for more SEO, SEM, Social Media, PPC, and Search news and knowledge.