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Growing subscribers of your RSS feed will expand your reach. Put the appropriate effort into marketing your RSS feed, so you can increase adoption and spread the message contained in the RSS feed.

Feed Validation

Make sure that the feed is properly formed. Some RSS readers and aggregators will be unable to compensate or read an RSS feed that is not correctly formed. There are both web-based and desktop feed validation tools available that can help determine whether an RSS feed is properly formatted or not. After you edit the feed, be sure to spend a few minutes validating the feed.

Properly Promote Your Feed

In order to increase the number of individuals subscribing to your RSS feed, take the time to properly promote the RSS feed. Just as a website requires promotion and marketing, so does an RSS feed. Here are a few tips for promoting your feed...

1. RSS Auto Discovery

Use RSS "Auto-Discovery" tags in the header of web pages. Many RSS feed readers have built-in technology that can auto-detect an RSS feed. But in order for the technology to detect your feed, you must have auto-discovery tags in place on your web pages. Using auto-discovery will let visitors know instantly and automatically that an RSS feed is available for the content.

2. Feed Icon

Include a standard RSS feed icon on the web page. The icon should be both visually appealing, and obvious. The RSS icon should appear "above the fold" on the page. That means that when a website visitor lands on the page, they should be able to see the icon without having to scroll up, down, left, or right. The RSS icon should link to the URL of the RSS feed. The RSS feed icon should be available on all web pages within a website, so that visitors can subscribe to the RSS feed regardless of what page they land on or navigate to.

3. Submit To RSS Feed Directories

Submit the RSS feed to the various RSS feed directories and RSS search engines. Many visitors search RSS feed directories for topical feeds that might suit their needs. This may be a way to attract a new audience.

Submit RSS Feeds -

4. Tell Email List That RSS Is Available

If you have a current email subscription list, be sure to inform your subscribers that an RSS feed is also available.

5. Send A Press Release

Issue a press release announcing that an RSS feed is available for the content on the website. In the release, describe the kind of information contained in the RSS feed, and explain how the RSS feed can assist interested individuals.

6. One-Click Subscription

Offer a one-click subscription option to RSS feeds, so your visitors can subscribe quickly and easily.

7. Communicate RSS Feed Availability

Exploit all channels of communication to let people know that RSS feeds are available. Include details of the RSS feed in forum and email signatures, and include a mention in any company or product newsletters.

Educate And Explain

RSS is still a fairly young technology, and while more and more people understand the power and capabilities of RSS, others may not. Be sure to explain to prospective website visitors how to subscribe to RSS feeds, and what the benefits of subscribing are. A little education goes a long way, and this can significantly increase RSS adoption.

RSS Content

The content of the RSS feed can be a wide variety of things. Here are a few tips regarding feed content...

1. Interesting Content

Provide quality content that will be of interest to subscribers. Like any other communication channel, you must engage the readers with interesting material in order to hold their attention .

2. Focused Content

Keep the content in the RSS feed focused. The theme of the RSS feed should be narrow, and should not wander too far from its original purpose.

3. New Content

Provide new content in the RSS feed on a regular basis.

4. Avoid Ads

Avoid inserting ads or self-serving content into the RSS feed. Advertising should be used sparingly. Balance content with advertisements.

5. Log Analysis

Examine logs to see what readers enjoy the most. If you discover that specific segments are very popular, expand on them by adding additional items that delve deeper into the topic of interest.

About the Author:

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

Published - January 2010

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