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The 7 Steps to Promoting Your RSS Feeds on Your Website

The 7 Steps to Promoting Your RSS Feeds on Your Website
Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik

RSS gets 100% of your content delivered, but it’s no good if no one subscribes to your feeds.

So your first order of business after planning and creating your feeds has to be promoting them to your visitors.

The only problem is that most internet users still don’t know what RSS is, so you do have your work cut out for. But using the system outlined below you shouldn’t have any problems. Actually, after implementing this system, you should be achieving better results than the majority of publishers out there.

1. HOW RSS FEEDS ARE GENERALLY PROMOTED

RSS feeds are generally promoted using the orange XML or RSS buttons, and often also with buttons that enable visitors to subscribe directly to the feed with their RSS reader.

Usually, if clicking on the RSS button, the visitor only sees a lot of confusing XML code. They in fact need to copy & paste the link in to their RSS reader. But since most still don’t know what RSS is, using this approach will only waste potential subscribers.

To achieve success, you’ll need a different approach.

A] Create an RSS presentation page, on which you explain:
- What RSS is - How the visitor will benefit from using RSS - Where they can get a free RSS aggregator (recommend one yourself!) - How they can install it (provide step-by-step instructions) - How they can subscribe to your RSS feeds - Why they should subscribe to your own RSS feeds

Then, on this same page, include the links to all of your RSS feeds.

In addition to the standard orange RSS button, also include direct links for subscriptions via MyYahoo! (get it here http://my.yahoo.com/s/button.html) and other relevant services, such as Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com). There are about 5 RSS readers you should cover with these buttons.

B] Now promote this RSS presentation page as much as you can using all of your available channels.

2. LOCATION AND CONTENT

It’s all about location, just like with the subscription box for your e-zine. If they don’t see it, they won’t subscribe. And if you don’t motivate them enough to check-it out, they’ll just ignore it.

A] Promote your RSS feeds directly below your e-zine subscription box, and always “above the fold”. Promote your RSS presentation page (telling your visitors that’s where they can subscribe to your feeds) on the most prominent locations of your site.

B] If you’re publishing more than one RSS feed, but rather a couple of focused topic feeds, promote each of them next to their topics. For instance, if you’re publishing an RSS feed on E-mail Marketing, promote the RSS feed at the top of the topic home page, and in every E-mail Marketing article you publish. These links should actually be direct subscriptions links to the feeds. Use this service to cover all of the important readers using just one simple button: http://www.methodize.org/quicksub/

C] Promote your RSS feeds in all of your e-mail messages and e-zine issues.

D] As for the content, don’t just say “Subscribe to receive news from my site”, but rather prepare compelling copy to specifically show your visitors why they need to subscribe to your content in the first place and why they should subscribe specifically to your RSS feeds.

3. ENABLE AUTO-DISCOVERY

Some internet browsers, such as Firefox, make it easy for their users to subscribe to RSS feeds. The browser actually asks the user if he wants to subscribe to the feeds the browser finds on the site the user is currently on.

Yes, this is even more powerful than your e-mail subscription form, since the browser in a way “pushes” the user with your RSS feed subscription.

But in order for the browser to do this, you need to help it out to find your RSS feed.

Just include the following piece of HTML code in the <head> section of your webpages and you’ll be all set:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="ENTER_RSS_URL">

There are many more techniques and opportunities available to you, from “direct subscribe” links to actually using opt-in forms, but these 7 steps should get you started in the shortest time possible, and help you achieve a better visitor-to-RSS-subscriber conversion rate than the huge majority of sites are achieving today.

About the Author:
Rok Hrastnik is the author of »Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS«, acclaimed as the best and most comprehensive guide on marketing with RSS by top RSS industry leaders, experts, developers and top marketers. Find out all you need to know about RSS and how to use it to get your content delivered, win back your customers, make more sales and increase search engine rankings http://rss.marketingstudies.net/index.html

rss specifications