Over the weekend I managed to increase the number of subscribers to my Digital Photography School RSS feed by around 15%. Before Friday it was sitting at around the 20,000 subscriber mark and 3 days later it’s just over 23,000 subscribers.
How did I do it?
I did two things.
1. I Emailed Unverified Email Subscribers
At DPS I actively promote a Feedburner service to my readers that enables them to be emailed at the end of each day that I publish a post with a notification of what I’ve written. I promote this service here. People subscribing to this service are counted as RSS subscribers by Feedburner.
A few weeks ago I was digging around the administration area of my Feedburner account and noticed that while I had around 3500 people subscribed to this service that over 800 of them had not verified their subscription.
Feedburner has a double opt in system in place where subscribers need to give their email address and then confirm it from an email. Over 800 hadn’t clicked the link in the confirmation email! Over 800 people that wanted to me to email them every day to notify of them of my latest posts weren’t getting the emails.
When I realized this I promptly emailed Feedburner to see if they had a way of me reminding these unverified subscribers to confirm their subscription. Feedburner promptly replied to let me know that they didn’t have the ability to do this – but that I could do it manually by exporting my subscriber list, extracting the email addresses and then emailing subscribers myself.
This sounded like a bit of an arduous process so I left it for a few days – but after a little consideration decided it would be worth the effort to do. It took me about an hour to do it (I had a few email issues that day) and since doing so have noticed quite a few of the 800 are now getting the daily emails.
2. I Promoted the Feed
The second thing that I did last week was a special post on the DPS blog titled How to Connect with Digital Photography School.
The post was simply a reminder to readers of the different ways that they can hook into DPS. In the post I highlighted my RSS feed, the daily email updates, the weekly newsletter that I send out, our forums as well as a short blurb on social bookmarking.
The main aim of the blog was to educate readers on how to connect more deeply with the blog.
The response was quite amazing. I received many emails from regular readers thanking me for helping them participate in the community more. It struck me that while I’d been working incredibly hard to provide readers with digital photography tips that I’d not really taken the time to help new readers learn about how to use the blog.
I suspect that many bloggers fall into a similar trap – because most of us deal with RSS every day and have a reasonable idea how forums, newsletters and blogs work we can easily forget that many of those who read our blogs don’t know where to start.
Update: I’ve answered a lot of the questions that readers asked about this post in an update post here.