Do You Subscribe to Your Own RSS Feeds?
Some might think that subscribing to yourself is nothing more than an exercise in vanity – but I believe it’s good blogging practice and something that can improve your blog.
This morning I was wading through the thousands of unread items in Google Reader and noticed that one blog that I read regularly hadn’t updated in the week that I’d been away.
I thought this was unusual as it was a blog that usually posted at least a couple of times a day so I decided to visit the blog directly. When I arrived I found that the blog had been posting as normal (13 posts in the last week). It seemed that their RSS feed was not reporting new posts for some reason.
I emailed the blogger to let them know that I was having problems reading their feed and they replied with:
“I was wondering why my visitor stats were down by 60% this week!”
The blogger had been oblivious to their feed having problems and just blogged on as normal.
This is a great argument to subscribing to your own RSS feed.
I wrote a few weeks ago about having a Vanity Folder in your RSS feed but another folder that I would recommend all bloggers having is a ‘My Feeds’ folder.
I have a folder in Google Reader called ‘Mine’ (catchy name isn’t it!) which contains subscription to my own blogs feeds. Every day I quickly scan it to make sure that my posts are coming through. This way I’m immediately alerted to problems with my Feed and don’t have to wait for a week or two to notice that there haven’t been any posts coming through recently.
But Wait There’s More!
If the above reason isn’t good enough for you to subscribe to your own feeds – I’ve got another one for you (and no it’s not so that your feed subscriber numbers are boosted – although I’m sure many subscribe for that too).
The ‘Bonus’ reason to subscribe to your own feeds is that you can actually learn a lot about your own posting by scanning your own posts.
I’ve written a series on how to make your RSS feeds POP which talks about some of the techniques that you can use to make your RSS feed stand out from the crowd.
One of the best ways to hone these skills and make sure you are effectively using them is to subscribe to your own blog and see how your blog looks to your subscribers. I’ve learned so much about designing my posts by doing this.