Getting your Subscribers to visit your Blog

rss.gifHaving a high feed subscriber count is great from an ego and getting the word out point of view but not so much for your profit line. Feeds are notoriously hard to monetise well, whether that will change with Googles recent acquisition of Feedburner, time will tell. I find the best way to profit from feed subscribers is to get them to the site, which is what this post is about.

Links
Relevant internal linking is both helpful to your readers and will provide an easy route back to the site for your readers to follow. As well as linking to individual posts also link to categories e.g. “I came across this really cool traffic building tips“, this is also a great way to create keyword rich internal links that the search engines love.

An automated way to add relevant links is to install a “Related Posts” plugin, this will create links to related posts at the end of new ones. Most plug-ins only seem to this on the site and not on the feed so you might need to do a bit of manual tweaking.

Videos
The majority of feedreaders don’t show embedded scripts, which is a great excuse for a “Can’t see the video, click here” link.

Feedback (again)
Make you site encourage interaction, feedback via comments or polls again, need a site visit.

Titles, titles and titles
A fair few feed readers and RSS portals (like personalised Google homepage) can be set-up to just display post titles which link back to your site and actual post, so making attention grabbing titles will maximise the chance of getting that extra visitor.

Summary Posts
Depending on your post frequency you could do this every day, week or month. It’s useful for your readers as they might of missed an earlier story and it gives your site an extra post with more SEF links for very little effort. I do this on CG with an thumbnail image gallery (plugin for WordPress over here).

Whilst writing this post I wondered about coding a plug-in that would automatically create links based on textual content. So in an admin screen you’d enter phrases and corresponding links and then when any page is rendered it would automatically create those links for you. If anybody is interested in this let me know (via a comment ;) ) and that will be the push I need to do it.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. I dont really have that many feed subscribers at the moment so this isnt something I am pushing right now.

    I think including the links would be a good way though and especially related links. If the user is reading your feed then it doesnt mean he is not interested in visiting your site. It just saves him time so he can keep tabs on several sites with out having to load them up. Inviting the users there with referral links, videos and maybe the occasional competition would all (more then likely) get a nice chunk of feed visitors coming to the site.

    When I read feeds and see links I often click them to find out more.

    The plugin does sound like a good idea!

  2. People say that blogs are a very good way for user interaction

    However I am struggling with uses for it on my website. I am trying to maximise user interaction and I am working on a forum.

    Any ideas how?

    • I would argue that a blog is better for interacting between you and the visitors. A forum is much better for visitor interaction between themselves

      But if you can get an active forum going, that doesn’t need constant moderating, you have a money making machine on your hands

  3. For a few years from ’00 to ’02 I used a feed-reader, I found I was collecting more links for news than I could keep up with and found it a bit frustrating. I know they have become very common to use today. When firefox came out with the multiple tabs browser I noticed an option at the bottom of my bookmarks folders ‘open all in tabs’ so now when I want to add a feed I put it in that folder and then when I am ready to read my ‘feeds’ I open all the bookmarks in tabs. I find the rich interface of the actual web pages to be more pleasant to look at than a reader. I realized from your last posting here that I have probably not setup my latest site to optimize for readers! Add to ‘todo’ list.

  4. Hi Al and Scott,

    I’ve enjoyed you guys’ blog here. I actually went back and read every earlier post after I found it.

    I must say though, around 1/2 of you posts are an absolute waste. This post is one of them; this information is both obvious and non-unique.

    Meanwhile, some of your posts are BRILLIANT, like your actual case studies about your tattoo site, gadget site, and mini sites. The only downside is you often cut the stories into bit sized chunks.

    I guess my only request would be that instead of trying to spit out a new post ever day with insufficient content, you guys would just post the good stuff less frequently.

    • Thanks for the honest feedback Phil. I do find it difficult to judge what sort of knowledge level we should write towards, there are many things that others will find obvious that I do not and probably vice versa. I would be interested to hear other views on this.

      • Al, you definitely have one visitor for which a majority of this information is not obvious, but I have no idea how I fit in with the rest of your readers. A poll (see I’m learning :-) ) to find out more about this blogs readers would be interesting.

      • Hi Phil, thanks for the feedback, I think as Al said we all have such variety of backgrounds and knowledge levels so there are some experienced webmasters as well as some complete beginners which read the blog which means we deliberately try and keep the blog diverse for all levels. Better to appeal to 100% of the people with 50% of the posts than rule out beginners completely? maybe, maybe not, it’s a learning curve for us as well here so points noted.

      • That’s cool guys. Thanks for responding…I can understand your position better now.

    • I think it is really easy to get familiarity blindness when you’re blogging. I think that many new bloggers are grateful that people take time every now and then to go over the basics instead of delving into ever increasingly arcane detail

      Personally, blogging is one of the few niches where I am comfortable with deep detail. I know that if I went to say, a car blog, I would be mystified by half of what they were saying, but many of their readers would find it too simplistic

  5. If I know that a site has a good community of readers (and responsive authors) that tend to startup useful discussions in the comments than that brings me to the site directly. Otherwise, I stay in the reader.

  6. I’m still building up a readership, but do have the issue that the subscribers aren’t coming to the site. It’s funny, since I generally click through to the site from my reader almost immediately to read the article in its native habitat. The reader for me is just a reminder, “There’s a new article here.”

    • I am on the other side of the coin. I don’t want to take the time to load up a site unless the article is really good, or the community is very strong. Clicking through on everything I read, to me, is a misuse of my feed aggregator

  7. I really rely on my feed reader. One of the things I have noticed about my own habits is that I regularly click through to the sites I really like. On the other hand the sites on the cusp of being deleted or only casualy read I just read the feeder until I either get more involved or delete them.

    So, maybe if you can build some brand loyalty or interaction with the feed readers they will visit the site.

  8. I have been having some problems on relying my traffic on feed subscribers, as people tend not to to that on most of my sites. I don’t really get and explanation for that, but the their numbers keep fluctuating chaotically.

    So, do you have some advice on how to make people subscribe and then make them stick to your feed? I know, good content is a must, also the first impression on the site is important. But other from that? Maybe an article on this theme would be ok, ay? :)

  9. I really need to get around to adding that related posts plugin – do let us know if you notice an increase in page views since you installed it.

    - Martin Reed

  10. I hate to be a grammar pedant, but you said “might of missed”, rather than “might have missed” or phonetically similar “might’ve missed”

    Great post otherwise ;-)

    db

  11. I always visit the blog to read because I don’t like reading from the RSS reader.

  12. I know that for me, I want to be reminded to read a new article. So I will click to the site to see what it’s about. Rather than scroll down in my reader, therefore marking it read, and forget to come back later.

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