Posts Tagged ‘Subscribing to Blogs’
So you’ve started a blog, you’ve given some thought to your blog design and creating a brand image, you’ve set up your RSS feed so that people can follow you and keep up to date on your blogging; now you need readers. You need people who will pop by your little piece of cyberspace and read what your write. In an ideal world, you’d like a few of them to stick around long enough to maybe comment on what you’ve written, or even subscribe to your content so that they can continue to read more of what you do.
Developing and growing a readership is a funny thing. Different things work for different kinds of blogs.
Family and Friends
If you are happy for family and friends to read your blog then they can be a good place to start. Tell them you blog, tell them the address. Friend and family are likely to be invested in your blog right from the start because they already know you.
If you chose to be anonymous, or simply to not share your blog with your real life friends and family, then you are starting from scratch in finding ‘friends’ for your blog. Social media is going to be a good place to start.
Open a Twitter account for your blog, find other bloggers who blog about similar things and follow them. Get involved in conversations, ask questions and on the most part you’ll find that they will follow you back, help where they can and welcome you with open arms to the blogging community. Tweet links to your new posts telling people a bit about what you’ve written.
Have a Facebook page for your blog. Twitter is fast moving and links get quickly lost in a busy timeline, Facebook on the other hand is slower. If you post a link to a new piece on your blog then people are more likely to see it.
There is also instagram, blog lovin and networked blogs plus a multitude of networks and online blogging communities which you can join to meet other bloggers; all of these things will help you broadcast your content. Make sure you have a link to your different social media accounts on your blog, and make it obvious and easy to find. These are all ways for interested parties to make contact with you and learn more about you, which is what may turn them into regular readers.
Reading and Commenting
But how do you find interested parties? By showing an interest in them first. The most effective way of finding really fans and readers for your blog, is to be interested in their first. Comment, comment, COMMENT on blogs you like. Make sure you leave thoughtful responses to their posts and not a simple “Loved this.” If you comment frequently and with sincerity then they will notice and will more than likely come and see what you are about.
Linky parties are a great way of finding bloggers with similar interests to you. Linkys are basically a collection of different bloggers links all in one place. Take the I Heart My Snap linky for example. Every Friday it opens up and you visit any time in the week to link up a picture that you love. If you pop round to the other people who have joined in and pop a comment on their post, then they will more than likely return the favour. The I Heart My Snap linky obviously brings together bloggers who like to share pictures, but there are linkys for all sorts of bloggers with all sorts of themes and topics. They are a great way of finding bloggers that share your interests and therefore may like your blog.
Make Life Easy
In reality the majority of people visiting your blog will be passing through. They won’t all stay. But some will. Some will like what they see, be interested in what you’re talking about and want to stick around. Make it easy for people to connect with you, by having your social media links clearly available, by offering your RSS feed in an obvious place. If I have to search too long for a way to connect or subscribe then I don’t.
The same goes for commenting on blogs. Make it easy for your readers and they are more likely to do it. Remove unnecessary hoops for commenters to jump through. Do you really need them to fill in a code in a box if you are going to moderate all comments anyway? Most readers don’t like too many security measures when they want to comment. It takes ages and they get bored and don’t comment.
Find YOUR Voice
Lots of people are fans of finding a specific niche for their blogs, but all to often a niche will restrict what you feel you can write about. Think carefully before you set yourself up as a food blogger if you also like to do arts and crafts and talk about music. Once you become established and have a regular band of readers and commenters it can be trickier to branch out and change your direction too much. So think about what it is that you love and what you want to blog about; what makes you interesting or different?
But most importantly, be yourself when you write. Don’t try and copy someone’s else’s style because people will see right through it. And don’t try too hard to be funny or cute or clever, just be yourself and you’ll seem more approachable and more authentic, plus your blog is more likely to be something which really makes your proud if you have been true to yourself. Try to think of your blog as your time capsule or diary and the sort of things you might want to see in 10 or 20 years time are the sort of things that your readers will like to read now.
When I was a new blogger I remember one thing that used to confuse me time and time again- RSS. I saw the term keep cropping up and I had no idea what it was all about. Yet actually your RSS feed is a very important part of your blog and one that new bloggers should be aware of.
Fear not, we are here to demystify it!
RSS stands for Rich Site Summary but is often termed Really Simple Syndication. That clearly means nothing to me so lets simplify it even further…
RSS is a nifty bit of cyber geekery that is being used by thousands of bloggers all across the world, essentially enabling them to keep track of websites and blogs that they love. That way they never miss a post. I remember the old days of copying and pasting website content into Word if I came across one I liked, or book marking or saving the page. With RSS you don’t need to worry about any of this- it automatically accesses new information and sends it to you so you can read it when you have a free moment.
I like to think of it like this. Say you really loved ‘Glamour’ or another monthly magazine and you never wanted to miss a copy. You could sign up for a subscription to the magazine and it would get delivered to your door every month. Perfect now you will never miss an issue. RSS is exactly like that. You subscribe to the blog or website you like and it will automatically get delivered into your inbox each time they write a new post or update their content. The only difference RSS is completely free!
How do I find my blogs RSS Feed?
Atom 1.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RSS 2.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Try doing it for your blog url and you will be able to find your RSS feed straight away. Another way you can find a sites RSS feed is by clicking on the right hand side corner of the url box…e.g
If you click on this you will be able to get the feed url from the url box. The symbol may vary depending on what browser you are using but the icon should always be on the right hand side.
It is always useful to know where your RSS is as some blog subscription services like ebuzzing or technorati need this in order to proceed with validating your blog. (Don’t worry more about these in a later post!)
Subscribing to another bloggers RSS feed.
Reading blogs and commenting and engaging with others is a huge part of the blogging community. Therefore you may want to subscribe to a few other bloggers RSS feeds. I have hundreds in my reader and try and read as many as I can in a week, but there are a few which I comment on all the time. However it is important to comment on as many as you can so you can involve yourself in the community.
There are a number of ways of subscribing to a bloggers RSS feed.
Firstly you can do it on the blog itself.
Nowadays there are lots of ways in which you can subscribe on the blog itself. You may have seen a number of different icons or widgets, there are lots of different types but basically they all do the same thing. Here are some examples of what you might see.
One big player in this market is Feedburner, I use this for my blog and it allows readers to use a widget box on my blog to subscribe via email. There are lots out there though so if you see something similar to one of the images above, just click on it and follow the instructions and you will be a subscriber in no time!
Another way in which you can subscribe to a blog is via a reader. There are a fair few out there but a popular one is Google Reader. Basically you can group all the blogs you like together in one convenient place, it works a bit like an email software- the unread ones are in bold and you can have the choice of reading them or skipping them and moving on the next one. You can read the post in the reader service, or you can click on it and go through to the actual post if you wanted to comment or look at more. Readers are a great way of getting to grip with RSS as they are really straightforward and easy to use.
Lastly you can follow the RSS feed by clicking on the right hand side of the url box (like discussed above)
When you click on the icon it takes you through to a screen which will look something like this (depending on your browser)
From here you can go down to the bottom right hand side and click ‘subscribe in mail’ or something similar. This is the way I use to read other blogs, it means that when I open Apple Mail I have all my blogs I read listed and I get daily updates depending on whether they have posted or not.
So there we have it. A really simple (hopefully) guide to RSS. I think sometimes these things are a lot less complicated than they appear to be. Hopefully now you will be able to find your RSS feed for your blog and also will be able to follow some other blogs as well.
By all means feel free to click our RSS button and subscribe to us or follow us via email. If you have any questions about RSS leave a question in the comment box and we will be sure to help.