Make it Easier for Us to Subscribe to Your Blog

RSS Feed Icons

This week I did something that I needed to do, I deleted all of my Google Reader Subscriptions (feeds) and decided to start over.

Okay Shaw, “What are you doing this time?”

I had over 500 feeds in gReader and that was simply way too many! I didn’t really feel like going through them all individually and when you add in that there were a lot of subscriptions that were either inactive or that I didn’t really read anymore – it just seemed to me to make more sense to start over.

So the other night I did.

Interesting Pattern

When I did this and as began to add blogs back that I wanted to read, sounded interesting or that I had read before and enjoyed – an interesting pattern began to develop.

For just about half of the blogs that I was interested in subscribing to, it wasn’t easy to figure out how to subscribe to that blog!

There were no RSS feed subscription icons or links in the sidebar or at the top of the blog. I had to either cut and paste the subscription into my gReader or try to use the RSS subscription tool in Chrome which causes my browser to crash.  To say that I got frustrated would be an understatement.

It got to the point where if a blog didn’t make it easy to subscribe I didn’t.

RSS Feed Icon

The above RSS Icons are a bit fancier than the basic one here, but somewhere above the fold on your blog, there should be a RSS subscribe icon or a link for readers to be able to easily subscribe to your blog/feed.

Other Types of Feeds

Many blogs only had the Blogger Friends or the Networked Blogs sidebar widgets, which I choose not to use most of the time.  I cannot back up my feeds using these methods if I want to move my reader to something other than gReader or if something happens I can just re-load my feeds), so unless I have a specific reason for using that widget – I usually don’t.

RSS is not Dead

In spite of what some people say RSS is not dead and is still used by a lot of us out here.  We are another source of readers for your blog and shouldn’t be ignored.

Subscribe to Your Blog’s Feed

My suggestion, recommendation, and/or plea is that you go to your blog and actually subscribe to your own blog now. If it was easy for you, it probably will be easy for your readers.

However, if you have a difficult time subscribing to your own feed, think about how hard it is for your readers and do something about it.

The advice I have always seen is that you should put the subscription button or information above the fold and if you are a little more aggressive, at the bottom of each post.  Where you put your subscription information is up to you, but if you don’t make it easy for me or others, we won’t subscribe to your blog.

Don’t rely on the Reader

You shouldn’t rely on me or other readers to make it easy to subscribe to your blog, it is the blog‘s owner’s responsibility to make it easy for the reader to subscribe to their blog or feed.

Email Subscribers

Some people still like to get your blog subscriptions in their email, if that is the case, please make it easy for us to subscribe that way as well.  I still use this method for certain blogs that I really want to keep up with, so while I might be a bit old school, I know that I am not alone.  Is it quick and easy to subscribe by email to your blog?

A Bit of a Rant

Sorry if this sounded a bit like a rant, but many of you have blogs that I want in my Google Reader and unfortunately you didn’t make it easy for me to do so.

The reality is that 

perhaps your blog was one of these blogs and I am missing reading the important things that you have to say in your blog now, only because you didn’t make it easy enough for me to subscribe to your blog.

I know that I am going to go back in and re-do my sidebar widgets to make it easier for people to subscribe to my blog after this week.

Go take a look at your blog, you might be surprised.

Keep smiling and good things will happen! 🙂

Originally written by Harold Shaw published at “A Veteran Runnah” © 2011 – All Rights Reserved. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harold Shaw and A Veteran Runnah” with appropriate and specific directions or links to the original content.

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7 comments on “Make it Easier for Us to Subscribe to Your Blog

  1. Good message. I know every reader has preferences for how they like to access material (myself included). I hope mine is easy enough. Please let me know if it's not!

  2. Thanks for this! I'm going to go through my blog and make sure it's easy to do from mine. I'm fairly new to this. I have realized there are a TON of ways for bloggers to connect with their readers – RSS, Google Friend Connect (still haven't really figured out that one), FB and Twitter. This article was awesome! I haven't used RSS much at all…

  3. I have yet to come across a worthy blog without visible and easy subscription methods. Using RSS or email subscription is a choice of readers. On the other hand, making them available is simply a responsibility every blogger should have.

  4. Hi everyone and thank you for commenting. Brigid – yours was easy to find and I had already subscribed to yours :-)MC – RSS is what many subscribers use and I am glad you found my post helpful.Elle – Thanks for following me GFC, I will be doing a quick blog on why I use that later this week.AFF – It is always good to double-check to see if it is working, I tried to subscribe to someone who was working on theirs today and they were still having problems. I didn't feel comfortable with my RSS feed subscription setup and added another one to my main sidebar.Kevin – I agree, but sometimes new bloggers don't realize the importance of RSS to many of us or something has happened and their RSS isn't setup or working correctly. My blog was just a reminder to them that RSS isn't dead and to ensure that it is easily available and works correctly. Thank you again everyone for the comments 🙂

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