December 18, 2009

5 ways to increase the reach of your blog or RSS feed

survival-guide-toDeltina HayYou may be losing out on opportunities to improve the reach of your RSS feed or blog.

These optimization tips can help:

• Burn your feed to Feedburner.com. Take advantage of the optimization and analytics features they offer.

• Offer alternate ways for readers to subscribe to your feed. Use FeedBurner tools like email subscriptions and subscription buttons like the ones on AddtoAny.com to offer more choices for your readers.

• Add your feed to as many feed directories as you can. Don’t assume that just because a service is being pinged (notified) about your posts, that your feed is listed in their directory. Start by claiming your blog at Technorati.com. Then use the toprankblog blog directory list to find more.

rss_logo• Import your feed into your social networking sites. Facebook allows you to import RSS feeds into your profile and offers applications for you to import feeds into Facebook pages. LinkedIn offers an application to include your feed in your profile. And you can use a tool like HootSuite.com to import your feed into your Twitter account.

• Create a lifestream or social page. Start an account with a lifestreaming service like FriendFeed or create a page on a social site like Squidoo. Import your feed into your new accounts along with relevant information from your other social Web accounts.

Though these tips will help improve the reach of your RSS feed or blog, the best way to get more subscribers is to regularly generate as much quality and on-topic content as you can.

Previously in this series

May 31, 2009

Tim Ferriss: Tips on what works in a blog

Tim Ferriss

JD LasicaYesterday was my first WordCamp, held all day at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. I’ve been caught up by WordPress fever since early this year when I switched from TypePad.

Some 730 people turned out at WordCamp, about double last year’s number. Here’s a Flickr set of WordCamp photos I took.

The biggest learnings came right at the outset, when Tim Ferriss (pictured above), author of The Four-Hour Workweek, gave a deep dive into what has worked and not worked on his well-trafficked blog. (I finally got to meet Tim and invited him to attend a future Traveling Geeks trip abroad.)

Learnings: What works in a blog post

Ferriss’s suggestions were useful not just for beginning bloggers but also for veterans who like to pick up a trick or two.

• He uses CrazyEgg (which has plans at $9, $19, $49 and $99 per month) and Google Analytics for all his blog metrics and checks them religiously.

• For archived blog posts, just a simple change in the title wording from the default “Categories” to “Topics” increased click-throughs significantly. (I did this on my blog years ago.)

• Tim uses Slinkset as a polling mechanism to ask his readers questions, and they in turn vote options up or down. He calls it “a personal Digg.”

• He finds RSS “less and less valuable” because it reduces traffic (and thus, presumably, the potential for advertising income) and gives uers an easy excuse for staying away from his site.

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