This is the kick off  to our annual January Blog Challenge: 31 Days To Clean Up Your Blog. What better time than January to sit down and review your blog? Over the 31 days we'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to deal with all those pesky maintenance tasks, take steps to grow in the new year and make blogging easier. This is Day 4.

 31 Day Blog Challenge Day 4: Make Subscribing Easy

Day 4: Make It Easy To Subscribe To Your Email List

Consistent readership and communication are important keys to growing a strong core of fans and a community.  One of the easiest ways to encourage that is by making it easy for readers to subscribe to your email newsletter list.

If you don't have an email newsletter list we have an entire series on email subscribers - why you need them, how to get them, what to send them and how to look after your list.

RSS Feeds

When we first wrote this article back in 2013, everyone wanted people to subscribe... but to their RSS feed - either with a feed reader or an email update. Every time you wrote a new post, they would get a notification! RSS feeds are still a thing and you can certainly give your readers an opportunity to sign up for yours.

Our RSS subscriber list is still a decent source of traffic for us but we don't promote it. If it's not a significant source of traffic for you, you may choose to remove that sign-up option from your site and focus entirely on an email newsletter that has a weekly update of your latest content.  If you're a newer blogger and you're not too sure what we're talking about, here's a brief overview:

All blogs have RSS capability.  RSS stands for Real-time Simple Syndication - basically you're giving readers a way to subscribe to your blog and never miss a post and you don't have to do a thing other than the initial setup.

At one time, a lot of brands would want to know how many RSS "subscribers" you had to better understand your overall "reach".  So a tool like Feedburner or Feedblitz  was beneficial to help set up a feed.  Both give you access to simple reports and subscriber counts

Feedburner is a free service offered by Google. It gives you the ability to create a simple RSS feed link that you can attach to an icon just like you would for your Facebook or Twitter social media icons.  It also gives you the ability to offer email subscription by providing simple widget code that you can add to your blog's sidebar.

Here's a simple google tutorial to add a feedburner feed to a Blogger blog.  And this one will help you out with WordPress.

Feedblitz is a paid service that does everything Feedburner does but with more bells and whistles, including the ability to email market to your email subscribers.

RELATED:  Creating a Business Plan For Your Blog

However, nowadays brands are far more interested in your email newsletter lists than in your RSS subscribers. Your email list is also something you own and have control over and it gives you so much more flexibility in how you communicate with your readers so, if you're a newer blogger or just starting out, we would recommend focusing on an email list over RSS feeds.

Email Newsletter Lists - Make It Super Simple to Subscribe.

Today, most bloggers put their efforts in growing their email newsletter list subscribers over their RSS subscribers and this is the path we recommend.

But you need to make it easy for people to subscribe!

Add a very visible email subscribe box to your sidebar.  Your newsletter provider (mailchimp, convertkit, flowdesk etc) should provide easy tools you can use to make this happen. If you offer a freebie to your readers, make sure there's some beautiful graphics to entice people to sign up.

A lot of people hate popups (those boxes that "pop up" when you land on a website asking you to subscribe) but the reason people use them is because they do work! They require a reader action one way or the other to get rid of them so there's no way they can miss the fact that you're asking them to sign-up.

There are different ways to use a pop-up - some are less intrusive than others.  Find one that works for you and monitor your subscriber rate to see if it works for you.

Other options are to insert a subscriber box into the bottom of each blog post or to put a sign-up box in your blog's footer or header.  Don't be afraid to switch it up from time to time - people tend to stop seeing things when they're in the same spot or have the same images every time they visit!

Subscribers are usually loyal readers and can become super fans. That's the type of audience you want to work on building.  So take a few moments and make sure you have you're making it very easy for your readers to subscribe.

If you want to get all of the 31 Day Blog Challenge Updates in your inbox you can Subscribe by Email.

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Ack! Thanks for bring to my attention that my RSS feed link actually led people to this non-sensical XML page! I’ve got things all set up with Feedburner now 🙂

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