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!