RSS Feeds – Why Measure Your RSS Feeds

With any kind of advertising or marketing campaign, you measure the results. You analyse your web statistics. You should analyse your RSS feed results too. If you don’t measure the results, how do you know if what you’re doing is working or not?

There are three simple things you should be looking for when analysing your feed results and, if your results show people are unsubscribing, how to fix it!

Firstly, you need to know how many people are signed up, or subscribed to your feeds. Services such as Feedburner give you these figures. If you’re using Google AdSense you can find your subscriber figures there too. When you make an update, how many people have asked to be informed?

With that simple figure, you can use it against previous subscriber figures. If you’re just starting out, you can use it to monitor over time. Are the figures going up or down? Decreasing subscribers over a period of time are a cause for concern. That indicates there’s an issue. Check that the problem isn’t a technical one. Check you’re getting your own feed correctly. If not, and you’re using Feedburner, use its tools to analyse your feed for problems. If the feed is working correctly, then you must then look at likely reasons why people are choosing to leave your feed notifications and take steps to prevent it from continuing, It means your content is not attractive enough to keep your readers subscribed.

Here are nine reasons people unsubscribe from your RSS feed and steps to stop the problem.

1. Your topic isn’t exactly what they want. Are you making it too broad or too focused? Have you changed your topic from what it was when they subscribed?

2. Is your quality still the same? If you’ve lost quality in your thoughts, you’ll drop off readers. Make sure you keep to the same standard, or improve!

3. Try adding more suggestions on how to do things. People like step-by-step instructions on every topic imaginable.

4. Are your thoughts too impersonal? Or too personal? You want your personality to show, but not your whole life, unless that is exactly what you blog about. If your web internet site is a news internet site, analyze adding a few opinion articles to throw a personal touch. Include a personal note or describe how you’ve personally used a product to produce your thoughts an individual touch. Alternatively,if your thoughts are very personalised, perhaps you should study writing sometimes in the third person.

5. Are you publishing infrequently? If you’re not producing regular thoughts for your subscribers, they’re probably going to leave. If your RSS feed is only to update users on a particular piece of application, for example, that might not apply, but then you probably wouldn’t be reading a website article like this. You need to post at least one article a week to keep your subscribers happy. If you don’t have the time, consider hiring a ghostwriter or go copy and paste from article directories (leaving the authors resource box intact of course) as guest posts. Asking for guest bloggers is another way to get more content for your readers.

6. Are you over-publishing and overwhelming your subscribers? A news web site will publish dozens of new thoughts each day, but a general internet site should not. A couple of posts a day is more than enough for most readers. One is usually enough.

7. Are you rambling, in long, drawn out posts that take forever to read? If that is the style of your blog, then good, but make sure you have your RSS feed set to summaries, not entire posts. Why not try abbreviating your thoughts or breaking your thoughts into multiple posts.

8. Are you putting out really short updates of 150 words or less? Short posts should be sent to your feed in full format. Make sure you add a few regular longer posts to add quality content for your readers to appreciate. Your blog posts should not read like Twitter tweets! Your blog posts should definitely not be Twitter tweets. Leave them on Twitter.

9. Are you sharing yesterday’s news? Is what you’re delivering to your subscribers up to date and relevant? Make sure you’re keeping up with the trends. Outdated content loses subscribers.

There are other reasons that people unsubscribe, but the nine suggestions above are all things you can examine about your feed and make gradual changes. Try only one thing at a time and watch the statistics over a short period of time to learn if it makes a difference.

The second metric you want to know is who is reading the feed?

If your subscribers aren’t reading your feed, then your efforts are wasted. Are you using catchy headlines to your thoughts to draw them in? What about your first paragraph? Is it summarising the article in the most interesting way possible?

Finally, it’s good to know the click-through rate of your feed.

Are your subscribers clicking on the ‘read more’ button, or your ads? If they’re not reading more, then you’re missing out. Subscribers get the headlines and the first few lines of your website article and judge the rest from that.If they’re not getting interested from the lines, they won’t click through.

If you don’t get the time to use the statistics, you have no idea if your efforts are working. You have no idea if you’re being productive or wasting your time!

RSS Feeds and Search Engine Optimisation

RSS Feeds need to be optimised just like your HTML web pages. If you’re already doing any level of search engine optimisation, then you’ll find it easy to include your feeds into your projects. Better optimisation means better exposure and more subscribers.

Here are some simple steps to optimise your RSS feed for search engines.

TITLE

Like your articles, web pages and blog posts, the titles you use in your feeds should be keyword rich for search engines, while attracting people to read more.

LINKING

Links within a feed must use the full path, not a linked shortcut to ensure the link remains valid. If someone else is displaying your content, then there is always the risk that the link gets lost. If you’ve shown the full path, then a reader can copy and paste.

KEYWORDS

Keywords are not only for titles and within your content. Search engines like links to have keywords too. Ensure that any links to your website use keywords too.

SEARCH ENGINES

There is a secret to getting your feeds spidered fast by the major search engines. Create a personal account on My.Yahoo, My.MSN and Google+ and link your own feeds on the home page. Once you’ve done this, you can expect your feeds to be indexed by the search engines in around forty eight hours.

POPULARITY

Make your link popularity increase by submitting your RSS feeds, blogs and podcasts to directories. Go to http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm for a list of places to submit.

DESCRIPTIONS

RSS feed descriptions are short summaries of the article or blog content being listed. The purpose of the summary is to entice the reader to click on the link and visit the site containing the full article or content piece. Make sure you take the time to create quality summaries of your blog posts and articles.

ADS

You can use ads in your RSS feeds. Start with your logo on every feed. Branding is important, so make use of your RSS feed as another way to use it. If you’re using Google Adsense, then add it to your feed. Go to the “ads” section and click on “feeds”. Use a service like Feedburner to “burn” your feed, then use that URL as your reference, to ensure the ads get displayed in most readers.

SUBSCRIBE

A no brainer? Not really. Make sure you subscribe to your own feeds. An alarmingly large number of publishers don’t take this one simple step, so they don’t know what their subscribers are seeing. Subscribing to your own feeds lets you not only see how it looks, but you can work on formatting and adding other elements to your feeds.

A IS FOR SHOWING UP FIRST!

Feeds in aggregators are often listed alphabetically, so if your feed is called Zooligist Digest, it’s probably going to be at the bottom. You might not want to rename your site, but you might consider adding a keyword at the beginning of your name that moves it up the alphabetical list. Consider that you might rename the example to A Zooligist’s Digest to get it better placed.

Optimising your RSS feed is no more difficult than optimising any other part of your website and following these simple guidelines should help you to get your RSS feed placed better. Like all optimising, it’s an ongoing process and subject to the whims of search engine placement.

RSS Feeds and Article Marketing

RSS feeds are currently an under used way of marketing your articles. You can enhance your visibility and your readership through RSS feeds and gain more web traffic.

In case you aren’t familiar with RSS, it often stands for Really Simple Syndication and lets website owners quickly and easily publish syndicated content in real time. Though it’s been around for years, it’s popularity is still limited considering how practical and powerful it is. Not only can subscribers keep up with your content in real time, other publishers can link to your feed and use it on their site for up to the minute content.

Because of it’s sophistication, RSS is a powerful tool, still overlooked by many marketers. Because subscribers don’t share their email, multiple messages can be sent in a day, without being regarded as spam by an inbox monitor. Feeds are sent to a feed reader or aggregator and don’t use email addresses at all.

It’s not the purpose of this article to describe the full workings of RSS. If you do want to know, Wikipedia has a great, technical explanation. In simple terms though, a website author creates a feed on their website. They may use feed creation software, or they may use a web based resource like Feedburner to do it for them. Interested readers click on the link on the website. It might say RSS, Feed or XML. They then take the URL of the feed and paste it into a feed reader or aggregator, such as the web based ones found on My.Yahoo, My.MSN and Google +. The summaries of each post or update are then listed for the subscriber to read. If they are interested, they can click on the link and read the whole article on the publishing website.

How is Article Marketing achieved through RSS feeds?

As an author, create an individual feed for your site. If you’re publishing in article directories, it’s probably done for you. As a marketer, you need to take advantage of that and post the feed link to popular RSS submission sites. Once this is done, every time you publish a new article, it’s instantly added to the feed. In addition, add your own site’s feed link to every article you submit, creating more quality linking that search engines love, as well as encouraging readers to subscribe to your own site’s feed.

Using your RSS feeds via your article marketing efforts is an additional way to get potential new customers to your site. In addition, you can use Google AdSense in your feeds to gain an extra revenue stream.

The biggest advantage of using RSS feeds is that people who subscribe are interested in your articles and updates and want to know when you have published something new. It also can assist you with your website ranking in the search engine results, because search engines prefer sites with regular updates.

Now is the perfect time to start adding your RSS feeds to your article marketing efforts and start to reap the results.

Deliver Internet Content With RSS Feeds

RRS or Rich Site Summary, comes from way back 1995 out of the old RDF Site Summary that a guy named Dan Libby created with Mr. Guha at Netscape (wikipedia.org). Up to the present, there have been numerous changes in the structure of these types of files, to arrive at what we have now RSS Feeds also called Really Simple Syndication feeds to deliver internet content today.

These files (RSS feeds) are XML formatted plain text and are easily read both by robots and humans, can be retrieved by protocols http or ftp used by reading software to give the end user a neat display of the content.

Imagine RSS feeds like when you are reading a newspaper, concentrating only on reading the headlines to stop on the subject that you want to read further in depth. You are not interested in reading the whole newspaper because it would take a long time to do. Similarly, these files saves you time by not visiting so many sites to know their latest content.

When you go to the RSS Feeds website, they offer you 100% delivery of your content to end users who subscribed to receive your information. And many types of sites can receive the XML files, like blogs, news sites, networks and databases.

So who uses RSS feeds now? Virtually everybody that wants to put information out about their services and products. If you want to distribute your content to your end users to market your products, RSS feeds are a convenient way to get your info delivered.

And what content can you deliver via RSS feeds? Well, all types of content really, updates, announcements, articles, blog posts, software, news updates, press releases, emails and more, even radio shows, and bank percentages updates. Educational institutions also use such files to communicate exam changes and regulations.

Their feeds can be categorized and programmed to reach your subscribers at the correct time when they use their auto-responders to deliver the right marketing messages, so your customers are automatically updated at the correct time.

Whole blogging communities were introduced to RSS feeds and embraced the technology because of the benefits they have experienced using them. Bloggers now use this technology to keep informed rather than having to visit many different sites to gain the same information.

It is not just the blogging community that favor RSS but a whole range of big companies from the mighty Google to the most basic blog, simply because of its ease of use and efficiency.

Another way of enhancing your website, when it is a niche site, well themed about golf shoes, for instance, is to incorporate RSS feeds on the same subject. This way, the website is continually being automatically updated which the search engines like a lot and index well, without you having to write any new content.

Really the most important thing to mention about RSS feed is that they provide fresh updated content for your blog, which means that search engines spiders, will visit your site more often to spider your new content and with that give you higher rankings. You know that with better placing comes the opportunity of higher revenue.

No wonder SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts give a lot of value to the RSS feeds that bring fresh automatic daily content to the well themed blog around a particular niche, program or product. They are also becoming the choice of different publishers, ezines as well to get the content to their readers.

Add a spark to your marketing passion with the use of RSS feeds to bring targeted constant updates to your sites which your visitors are going to like as well as Google! and other search engines too when they spider your websites.

I’ll leave you with the fact that only using opt-in email and newsletters to have success in Marketing, is leaving money on the table. Just add RSS feeds to your online efforts because they are easier to use and faster as well as more straight forward to set up to communicate with your prospects.

To your success

German Calvo.