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Converting RSS Subscribers to Blog Readers

Phil Sim has an interesting post about The little post that could… where he had an influx of traffic to his blog from his RSS subscribers the day he wrote a post that mentioned his new blog design.

Getting RSS subscribers to visit a blog is a challenge that many bloggers have – especially those who publish full feeds. For example I know of one blog that has a feedburner counter of over 10,000 who struggles to get a tenth of that to their blog each day.

Phil comments in his post – ‘It also made me realise just how much traffic RSS feeds steal from websites!’

Not all bloggers mind where their readers read them – as long as they are reading their content they are satisfied – but many bloggers do get a little down about this. I guess the key if you’re wanting readers to view your action site is to learn from Phil and give your RSS subscribers a reason to come to your blog.

I’d strongly advise against ‘teasing’ them or ‘sucking them in’ to visit you but rather to do it in a way that adds something to your readers experience of your blog. Some common ways to do this include the use of polls, writing posts that interlink to other parts of your blog (ie previous related posts) and other interactive tools as well as writing in a way that encourages comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Darren,

    I wrote a similar post about this where I argued that only publishing partial feeds is a quick way to lose readers who use RSS as the one-stop shop for their content. I’ve been speaking to Merlin Mann by email about this, as he recently cut his feeds down to summary size. While some bloggers, as in your post, get bummed because people aren’t seeing the cool design of their page, there’s also the question of ad revenue. The ‘teaser’ I suggested in my post was one I first saw over at Wil Wheaton’s site, where he wrote a post a while back called ‘What You’re Missing if you read me through RSS’. Gives people a reason to come and have a look, and maybe find more content that interests them, which is far more compelling that a title and an abstract that don’t often tell you a lot.

  2. BradFitz says:

    One good way to get them to your site is to ask to comment their opinion or advice.

  3. I read this blog through a reader. I quite like clicking through from the reader to the full story. Its nice to step into a different design – the blog readers (the software that is…) are all a little monotonous after a while.

    I do notice problogger only gives the excerpt but you give pretty good intros so I can tell pretty quickly whether I want to read more or not.

  4. Steven Frein says:

    I hate the fact I have to click through to your blog to read the full story. Partial feeds are the enemy of fun. Insert ads into the rss feed if you want to make money, but please give us full feeds. Content is why I come, so why treat your readers with such disrespect?

    I would read more of your stories if you had full text feeds. Right now I scan and give up on about 50% of your posts.

  5. Darren Rowse says:

    understand and appreciate your point of view Steven – but unforutnately full feeds means loosing a lot of control over where the content that I spend hours every day is reproduced. This is my sticking point.

    it’s not about respect for my readers – its about disrespect for others who in their lazy greed reproduce the work of others as their own. I’m not willing to allow that to happen unfortunately.

    I find that most people are willing to ‘click’ a link in order to get quality content so that’s what I’ll continue to work my hardest to provide. It does mean I lose some visitors which is unfortunate but until I find a better solution that’s all I can offer.

  6. alan says:

    I’d rather have a larger audience than lose some trying to drive them to my blog template… but then, my blog’s not about ad revenue.

    I think we may have to accept there’s two kinds of audience: the engaged audience which will always come to your blog page regularly to see what they’ve been missing while reading your RSS feed, and the casual audience, who may never become engaged, or who may only convert are still spending time on your blog, just not on every post.

    I know newspaper publishers who’d rather whole industries didn’t read their paper via media monitoring services, and magazine publishers who have to accept that some people will only read the magazine if they get it for free or borrow a friend’s copy. It’s not a new thing.

  7. Frank says:

    Hm, I realised that much rss-provider use bloggers content to push their own rss-list. If the surfers are looking for a topic they find it via any rss-lists in search engines, read the rss-content including pics and others and go away. I’m tired about this. There’s nothing to do with ads. We make a lot of afforts and rss-provider use our content to push their page rank. What I see, the most conventional media offer only teaser, only for information about an article. I think bloggers have the same rights to cut the content in rss. And if I loose some rss-readers, what’s the problem? They visited never my blog anyway, with teaser or fulltext. And the others understand it, I think.

  8. Alan says:

    I could see how having a small percentage visiting your site and a large number reading your feed would be hard to stomach. Thankfully I don’t have that problem but If I did I think talking about some of the recent reader comments would help to make them remember that there is more to the site than just the article content.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] UPDATE (22.03.2006): Еще одна статья на ту же тему: Converting RSS Subscribers to Blog Readers Основная мысль в том, что предоставляйте дополнительную ценность на блоге, чтобы RSS не отгрызало часть почетителей. [...]