Throughout January we will be running our 31 Day Blog Challenge: 31 days to clean up, grow and improve your blog. What better time than the start of a new year to get things sorted and ready to go for a brand new year of blogging?
We'll be sharing 31 tips, ideas, and strategies for you to get things in order and make blogging easier. This is Day 4.
So far we've talked about making it easy to contact you and learn about who you are. Now make it easy for them to read.
Make It Easy To Subscribe To Your Blog
Consistent readership is the key 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 blog.
Give them the option of subscribing via email or with an RSS feed that they can access through a feed reader. Don't offer just one option - readers are pretty loyal to their way of following a blog's feed. Some hate email updates and others can't be bothered with a feed reader. Give them both options and... as we keep saying... make it easy for them to find!
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.
A lot of brands will want to know how many "subscribers" you have - both rss and email as part of understanding your overall "reach". So it can be beneficial to use a tool like Feedburner or Feedblitz to 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.
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.
There were rumors about a year ago that Google may discontinue Feedburner and many bloggers moved to a paid option. The choice is yours. It's unlikely google would disable Feedburner without considerable warning and it's likely you would have ample time to move your feed to a paid service if that happened.
Make It Easy to Find
Make it easy for people to subscribe. Make sure you have an icon for your RSS feed in with your social media icons. Anyone can subscribe to a blog through their browser but it's additional work. Give them a nice big button to click on that they can find without searching.
Add an email subscribe box to your sidebar. It's a simple piece of code that feed services will usually provide for you. You just need to copy and paste it in a text box.
Subscribers are usually loyal readers and that's the type of audience you want to work on building. So take a few moments and make sure you have your feeds running and that they're easy to find.