Building RSS

This is the list of tips that were submitted for points by participants in the Building RSS group writing project.

I’ve already bookmarked this list myself and you should do the same. Please share it with any blogger friends that want more RSS subscribers. Also, subscribe to our feed via rss or email to find out when the list is updated and to know when the even more comprehensive Building RSS e-book comes out.

These tips work.

Building RSS Group Writing Project

Thank you to our sponsors

This Building RSS guide of RSS-breeding tips has been made possible by the generous help of:

  1. Liz Strauss, among other things, author of the acclaimed The Secret to Writing a Successful and Outstanding Blog
  2. David Airey, designer extraordinaire and creator of Logo Design Love
  3. Daniel Scocco, blog maestro and recent author of Killer Domains
  4. Mirko Humbert of the newsful Designer Daily
  5. Simon Emery of OIOPublisher fame

Now on to the tips…

Subscriber Breeding Tips

I was going to quote and cite the blogger for each tip, but it made the list too hard to read. Instead I’ve only done so for the first tip and every additional tip simply has the blogger’s name linked to the corresponding post.

I’ve also edited the quotes to keep them as concise as possible. If you want more details on a specific tip, click through to the linked post.

The colored RSS icons correspond to each blogger that submitted tips.

The tips are divided into categories as follows. Click the link to jump directly to the category you want:


  1. Observe your niche – What different strategies are blogs taking in your niche? What’s working and what’s not? Do you see a lot of pretenders that are simply trying to duplicate the bigger blogs without much success? If so, you’ll want to avoid falling into the same trap. { Steven Snell, To Gain Subscribers, Focus on What You Do Best, Traffikd
  2. Think about what you can offer – …have something to offer to readers. What is it that will make readers want to subscribe to your blog? What is it that you do best? …realize what you have to offer that others are not providing. { Steven Snell
  3. Decide on your angle – Once you know more about your niche and where you fit in, develop a strategy of providing content that will attract subscribers and draw interest from other bloggers. Think about the types of content that you will publish, how frequently you will publish it, how you can get it in front of readers, and how it will help you to build a successful blog in the long-term. { Steven Snell
  4. Post remarkable content – Write articles that people will want to share with others. { Joel, Double Your FeedBurner RSS Numbers Overnight, So You Want To Teach?
  5. Celebrate feed subscription milestones { Joel
  6. What is RSS? – Devote a post or page of your blog explaining to your readers what RSS is. They may not subscribe because they do not know what it is, or what the benefits are. { David Shaw, 25 Ways to Increase Your RSS Subscriber Count, ProTycoon
  7. Post series – By writing a series of posts, people will subscribe so that they do not miss the next post in the series. { David Shaw
  8. Run contests – Run a contest that requires people to sign up for your RSS feed to join. { David Shaw
  9. Dedicate a page on how to subscribe { Becky S., Take a break from posting & your RSS subscribers may increase,
  10. Offer a competition to get people to subscribe via email. On FeedBurner you can easily see who these new users are. { Becky S.
  11. Write reference lists that will be updated – incite readers to subscribe by telling them they will get alerts when the list is updated. { David Bradley, Get Writing, Get Readers, Significant Figures
  12. Use multimedia to show how to subscribe for example, “a simple 5-minute video showing folks how to add the feed to a cell phone and to Outlook.” { David Bradley
  13. Write quality content – Provide useful information that people could use for whatever it is they’re doing. The more they find your voice helpful, the more they will subscribe. { Nepspeed82, 10 Simple Steps to Increase Your RSS Subscribers, ulupongdotcom
  14. Make catchy headlines – This is your article’s introduction… What do you think make girls buy glossy magazines just by looking at its cover? The same should also apply to your blog. Just convert buying into subscribing. { Nepspeed82
  15. Format posts for readability – Avoid long blocks of content…use bullets to enumerate ideas… use subheadings to break your train of thought in parts….use whitespace effectively. It’s all about making it easy for the brain to digest your information quickly. { Nepspeed82
  16. Write to encourage comments and conversation. { Brad Shorr, Attract RSS Subscribers with Quality Blog Content, Word Sell, Inc.
  17. Stay on topic. People are more likely to subscribe when they know what to expect. { Brad Shorr
  18. Edit your posts. Some bloggers spend as much time editing a post as they do writing the first draft. Careful editing tightens up and connects ideas, making it easier for readers to follow your thoughts. { Brad Shorr
  19. Support your ideas with examples and facts. Naked opinions don’t carry much weight. { Brad Shorr
  20. Tell stories. Blogs are an excellent medium for stories, and storytelling has universal appeal… { Brad Shorr
  21. Campaign for causes { Debi Zylbermann, 100’s of Tips to Increase RSS subscribers, Debi’Z QA Blog
  22. Make lists – { Debi Zylbermann
  23. Make “ginormous” lists, followed up with quality content { Vivien, RSS: Why, What and How, InspirationBit


  1. One at a time – Many of your direct contacts and friends will subscribe to your blog if they’re not already, especially if you focus your networking efforts to your niche… { Steven Snell, Gain Subscribers by Growing Your Network, Pure Blogging
  2. Quality over quantity – Subscribers that know you personally and have interacted with you will almost always be higher quality subscribers than someone who doesn’t know you… { Steven Snell
  3. Inbound links and personal referrals – …if you have two potential posts from other bloggers that you could link to for a specific topic, one of them you know well and one of the you don’t, who are you going to link to? { Steven Snell
  4. Social media votes – If you’re marketing your blog through social media, a strong network is priceless. Along the same lines as the previous point, most of us tend to vote for those that we know better than the typical blogger/reader relationship… { Steven Snell
  5. Guest post opportunities – One of my favorite methods for blog promotion is writing guest posts on other blogs. It’s an incredible opportunity to get your name and your writing in front of a targeted and potentially large audience… { Steven Snell
  6. Advice – I think we could all use some advice every now and then from others in our niche. I know on a few specific occasions I’ve been fortunate enough to get some great help and advice from my blogging friends, and I’ve had other ask me for advice as well… { Steven Snell
  7. Long-term benefit for your efforts – One of the things I really love about networking is that your network can help you for years to come. If you’re willing to take the time and make the effort now to get to know other bloggers in your niche, the long-term benefits could keep coming… { Steven Snell
  8. Can help you to get a new blog off the ground – If you already have a strong network of blogging friends, launching a 2nd blog can be much more successful. Not only will you have your own audience from the first blog to start off with, but you may get some links or mentions from others in your early days that could make a big difference. { Steven Snell
  9. Comment on other blogs in your niche { Steven Snell
  10. Reach out to those that you don’t know through an email or a contact form { Steven Snell
  11. Link out to others frequently { Steven Snell
  12. Invite guest posts { Joel
  13. Participate in feed exchanges – Join BlogCatalog and look for groups with threads that involve feed exchanges. Participate in the discussion and you’ll be guaranteed 20 or more new subscribers in a day… { Nepspeed82


  1. Advertise your RSS subscriber numbers { Joel
  2. Only display your subscriber numbers when high – A common mistake blogging beginners make is displaying their FeedBurner count when it’s low… humans work under the ‘flock’ principle … so when ever you see a small community you don’t really have any desire to join it… { Tibi Puiu, The 9 step ultimate guide on how to increase your subscribers, Lost Art of Blogging
  3. Make email subscriptions available { Joel
  4. Visible RSS Button – Make sure you have a visible RSS button on your site, make sure it is above the fold. The top of your sidebar would be a good place… { David Shaw
  5. What Would Seth Godin Do – This is a great little plugin that displays a small message to new visitors to your blog asking them to sign up to your feed. { David Shaw
  6. Subscribe Me – This plugin displays small chicklets on your blog, asking people to subscribe using their favourite reader. { David Shaw
  7. Subscribe Remind – ask people to subscribe to your feed at the end of each post with this plugin. { David Shaw
  8. Use a big RSS button { Becky S.
  9. Use the standard (orange) RSS icon – Most people who know what RSS is recognize the orange icon. { Karen, Where does the RSS Button Go?, Scraps of Mind
  10. Clearly mention the various feeds you host { David Bradley
  11. Get a clean and organized template – Before anything else, your blog must serve its primary function which is to “SERVE YOUR CONTENT” and not to forecast your city’s weather or watch your neon ads. Emphasize your content, subscribe widgets, search box, categories, archives and anything else that will point to what your blog has to offer… { Nepspeed82
  12. Place another RSS button near the end of your posts – A new reader is not going to be interested in subscribing to your blog feed until they have read at least one of your posts. { Karen


  1. Encourage readers to subscribe { Joel
  2. Encourage readers to forward useful articles to friends { Joel
  3. Encourage readers to invite their friends to subscribe { Joel
  4. Submit posts to blog carnivals { Joel
  5. Host blog carnivals { Joel
  6. Ask your readers to subscribe – …have a short message at the end of your posts which says something along the lines of “If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my RSS Feed, to keep up with all future updates”… { David Shaw
  7. Use forums – Answer questions on forums and include a link back to your feed in the signature. If people think you are informative and an authority in your niche, they may subscribe to your blog. { David Shaw
  8. Cross-promote – Once you have networked and made friends with other bloggers, you can then promote each others feeds. This can be done at the end of each others feeds, or by directly posting about each other. { David Shaw
  9. Submit your feed to RSS directories { David Shaw
  10. Enter/Make RSS competitions – Start an RSS competition with a blog that has a subscriber count close to yours, then encourage your visitors to subscribe to help you win the competition. { David Shaw, Top 8 Ways To Increase Your RSS Subscriptions, ProTycoon
  11. Encourage readers to use smart/live bookmarks – in Firefox and Safari, bookmarking an RSS feed creates a folder of bookmarks to each item in the feed. { David Bradley
  12. Use syndication services like BlogBurst { David Bradley
  13. Submit your feed to blog directories { David Bradley
  14. Submit your articles to social media like Digg, StumbleUpon and { David Bradley
  15. Piggyback on other high-traffic pages – create something like a plugin for wordpress, and mention your feed on those pages. { Becky S.
  16. Use the Comment Relish Plugin – thank people for their comment and tell them about your RSS link. { Becky S.
  17. Use EntreCard – convert droppers into subscribers. Just do your regular drops, and make insightful comments on the blogs you find interesting or relevant to your niche. { Nepspeed82
  18. Use offline opportunities to promote your blog – …like speaking at conferences… a couple of weeks ago I gave a conference talk, and included a competition where I told the attendees that the answers would be on the blog. { Debi Zylbermann

Blog Management

  1. Plan and track subscriber count goals { David Shaw, Analyzing Your Blogging Goals, ProTycoon
  2. Post Frequently – Once you are publishing good content, you then need to do it frequently. This will lead people to subscribe so that they do not miss any of your future posts. { David Shaw
  3. If you post often, keep them short. Few readers have the time to digest 500+ word posts on a daily basis. { Brad Shorr
  4. If you post infrequently, it’s ok to write long posts, as long as they have substance. { Brad Shorr
  5. Post Less Frequently – …I guess when people visit your blog, and they see that there are great posts on your blog, but you haven’t updated in a bit, they will choose to subscribe, so that they will hear about your next great post… { Becky S.
  6. Use Full Feeds – Make sure you show full posts in your RSS feed, there is nothing more frustrating than a site that uses excerpts in their RSS feeds. { David Shaw
  7. Enable Auto-Discovery – Auto-Discovery is used by browsers to find your feed. If found it will display the small RSS icon in the address bar. Many people subscribe using this method, so make sure the browsers are finding your feed. { David Shaw
  8. Give Something Away – Offer something free to people that subscribe to your feed, such as an E-book. Everyone loves a freebie. { David Shaw
  9. Make sure all subscribers see the same feed – Use the FD FeedBurner WordPress plugin to direct your subscribers… from your domain feed (e.g. to your FeedBurner feed. Thus your feed count will considerably grow and you can be rest assured that all your subscribers are accounted for. { Tibi Puiu
  10. Study the tactics of your favorite blogs – Try them out on yours. See what works for you, what felt right for you? { Vivien


  1. FeedBurner -FeedBurner reduces the steps need to sign up to your feed, making it easier for your readers to subscribe. { David Shaw
  2. Use Aweber for email subscriptions, especially if you already have a mailing list { Paul Piotrowski, Why My RSS Feedburner Counter Jumped Since Yesterday, How to Make Money Doing What You Love

Final Standings

  1. David Shaw, 18 points
  2. Steven Snell, 14 points
  3. Joel, 10 points
  4. David Bradley, 7 points
  5. Brad Shorr, 7 points
  6. Nepspeed82, 6 points
  7. Becky, 6 points
  8. Debi Zylbermann, 3 points
  9. Karen, 2 points
  10. Tibi Puiu, 2 points
  11. Vivien, 2 points
  12. Paul Piotrowski, 1 point

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