I've been researching RSS feeds to prepare for my Google Reader Webinars and I've found some interesting things out there in the cyberworld. Here are two.
#1 - RSS Readers, like Google Reader, are becoming much more popular than email subscriptions because of their ease of use.
#2 - Do you know the number one reason that people unsubscribe to a blog's feed? It's because the blogger has elected to publish a "summary only" feed - meaning pictures and full content are not included in the feed, and the reader is forced to click to the site to see the content.
These readers are angry. The abbreviation "PITA" (pain in the...) came up quite a bit in the articles I read.
Remember - we are in a visual occupation. Art has to be seen, not read about. Make a splash in the reader and you've done what you wanted to do when you started blogging - connected with people who love what you love.
The bottom line is, the purpose of an RSS reader is to aggregate content. If people wanted to click to individual sites, they wouldn't have switched to a reader.
Countless times, after reading a summary, I've been on the edge. I think I'm interested, but not entirely sure. Do I click or do I keep scanning available blog posts. Sometimes I opt for the former, wishing I opted for the latter. Now, more times than not, now, I opt for the latter. If the summary isn't entirely convincing I won't click."The biggest misconception about RSS readers is that they do not "count" towards your site statistics. This is the reason most people put a summary feed rather than a full feed into their feedburner.
Not so. There are numerous ways to track ALL your site statistics. So if that is the reason you are potentiallly losing subscribers - there's still time to fix it. Here are just a few ways to get stats.
1) Feedburner. Most of you burn your feeds with Feedburner. It provides detailed statistics about the two types of subscribers you have - those who subscribe in a reader, and those who subscribe via email. It's updated daily.
This even shows you which RSS readers they use, and the nice pie chart shows you how many of them are subscribing via email vs. a reader. Since mine is about half and half - I certainly wouldn't want to alienate half of my readership by not providing a full feed.
If your interest is in advertising on your site, you can provide these reports to potential advertisers on demand. So any service you're using to track just clicks on your website, is doing you a disservice anyway. You're not getting the whole picture - for example, people who saw your content in a reader and DIDN'T click. So don't hang your readership on clicks.
2) Google Reader - set up a Google Reader account and subscribe to your own feed. After a few weeks, look at one of your posts inside reader and click "Show Details". You will see this handy dandy bar graph of your average number of posts - how many subscribers you have (via Google Reader) and a 30 day view of how many posts you had, and how often those posts were read.
Good stuff there. You will also be able to see how your post looks inside a reader and adjust if it's not reader friendly.
For example, I used to use a blue background that exactly matched the background on my blog because it made the photos pop out. However, in the reader, my cards with a weird blue border around them in a sea of white just looked ghastly. I wouldn't have known that if I weren't subscribing to my own feed.
3) Google Analytics - I love this. Like all Google products, it's free, and does heavy duty analysis on your site. For example, the dashboard gives you a great overview by whatever time period you choose. Total visits, where they come from in the world, what percentage of your visits are new vs. returning, etc. Critical info. Free.
Enough geek talk. This is just three ways to get site stats. There are a billion more. Don't lose your readers over statistics.
I'll leave you with this - the Stampin' Up! Statement of the Heart.
I do believe that this is the real reason all of my blogging buddies blog, whether they are with Stampin' Up! or not.
I think we are all teachers in our heart of hearts, and we love that fun moment when someone learns to do something they're proud of - that moment cannot be replaced by any other endeavor - it's wonderful.
So I hope you have a great night and that this information was useful for someone or saved you a reader!
Back later with a card.