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30 Days to a Better Blog: Add a Link To Your RSS Feed


30 Days to a Better Blog: Add a Link To Your RSS Feed

Getting people to subscribe to your RSS feed is extremely important for encouraging return visitors and keeping your readers informed. It’s on par with getting people to subscribe to your newsletter! So why not make it easy for them to subscribe, and keep track of your subscriber statistics at the same time?

What is RSS?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated sites in a standardized format. It benefits subscribers by allowing them to syndicate their websites automatically. It benefits readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from their favorite websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place by reading them on a RSS reader/aggregator.

How do I Find My RSS Feed?
Most blogging platforms automatically generate an RSS feed, but it may take some investigation techniques to determine the URL. In WordPress the link to your RSS feed could be http://www.website.com/feed or http://www.website.com/?feed=rss or even http://www.website.com/?feed=rss2! In Blogger the link is typically http://website.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default. For other platforms you’ll probably have to do a bit of digging.

Using FeedBurner
Once you know your RSS Feed link, you can add it to your sidebar and be done OR you can run it through FeedBurner to start obtaining stats and watch your subscribers grow! It involves a few extra steps (including signing up for a FeedBurner account and installing some code) but it’s well worth the hassle. Here are some tips for setting up FeedBurner on a variety of platforms.

Once you’ve added in your blog feed URL and information, you can click on the “Publicize” tab to get a snippet of code (including the universal RSS icon) to add to your blog. You can also embed the link yourself and use a different icon (you can grab some free ones here).

Subscribe To Your Own Feed!

Be the first to subscribe to your feed – and then check it out in an RSS reader. You may be surprised at how your blog looks outside of your own template! I follow a blog that uses a white font on a dark background, but in the reader the text is rendered invisible, so I always have to click through to the blog. Perhaps a good idea … but to me it’s just annoying!

Let us know how your RSS Feed installation went.

How to Turn Twitter into a Feed Reader


I hate feed readers. Always have. Frankly, I just don’t have time to read every single post by every single blogger I like, not even close, so I only log into my feed reader once every day or two. Because I follow so many people, that means that every time I log in, my feed reader shows a billion unread posts. Some days, it looks so daunting to clear ’em all out, that I just close my browser without reading anything.

I keep TweetDeck running all day though. I thought to myself recently, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could combine Twitter and feeds to make a column just for people’s new blog posts.

I mean, I know a lot  of bloggers out there tweet their links, but they often get lost in the shuffle of conversation. And not everyone has their Twitter account tied to Twitterfeed (or a related service). And some people tweet links to multiple sites, both their own and others, or tweet links from the archives, etc.

It gets confusing. Yet, somehow I don’t think it will work to contact every blogger I like and saying, “Hey, will you create a separate Twitter account JUST for your feed so I can follow that account and put it into a group just for feeds?”

But, duh…I can do this myself. Kind of. With a little hacking (and I use that term losely, because this involves no actual hacking, just ingenuity), you can turn Twitter into a Feed Reader!

STEP ONE: Create a new Twitter account. I’m using @allisonsreading, for example. If you don’t want people to see what you’re reading, set this account to private. If you make it public, I also recommend putting your real Twitter ID in the profile with a message that you won’t be replying/tweeting from this account – that it is purely links. DO NOT follow anyone from this account or you’ll be missing the entire point of setting up this account.

This is seriously how this idea makes me feel. I hate feed readers that much.

STEP TWO: Sign up for Twitterfeed, or sign in if you already have an account.

STEP THREE: Authenticate your new Twitter account with Twitterfeed.

STEP FOUR: Add a new feed by going to a site you like to read, clicking on the RSS button, and copy/pasting that URL into Twitterfeed. For most sites, the blog URL, followed by /feed works too.

STEP FIVE: Click on the advanced options link in Twitterfeed and add the site’s name or blogger’s name to the prefix box. This will make it easier to see who wrote the link that’s being posted. Personally, I also change the settings so it only tweets the title, not the title and description, but you can do whatever you want. You could also put the blogger’s Twitter ID in the prefix or suffix box so it pings the author, but that’s totally up to you.

STEP SIX: Repeat this for all the blogs you’d normally add to your feed reader of choice. Manually doing this is a total bitch. Someone out there who is smarter than me should totally run with this idea and automate the service, as I bet it would make a lot of money if marketed correctly.

STEP SEVEN: Open TweetDeck or whatever you use and add your new Twitter account. Create a new column for “all followers.” Since you aren’t actually following anyone, it will only show your tweets. AND GUESS WHAT? Your tweets are ONLY the feeds you want to read!

Voilà! Your very own feed reader directly within Twitter. I’m currently in the “add all my feeds to Twitterfeed” stage. Seriously, someone should create a service to automate this process and thread it through feedburner (so as to not mess up bloggers’ feed counts).

If there are certain blogs that you love so much you HAVE to read every single post or you like categories, you could easily make more than one extra Twitter account and have multiple columns going on TweetDeck.

There are definitely some downsides to this kind of feed reader. Definitely the manual input is a drag. Beyond that, you’re also likely going to miss posts as they fly by if you add more than a handful of feeds. This is more for someone like me who just wants a non-intimidating way to look at what was recently posted by my favorite bloggers when I have a moment or two to read something.

Fun Possibility: You could add this account to your blog’s sidebar instead of a traditional blogroll! I hate blogrolls because they get outdated to quickly and tend to grow at an alarming rate. This way, you don’t have to keep track of broken links and you’re still promoting the sites that you like to read. It also takes up less real estate on your sidebar and is constantly changing, so people are more likely to quit. I would LOVE to be on someone’s “blogroll” this way instead of being on a traditional blogroll.

Also…income stream possibility? Create an account just for Sponsored Feeds and place the widget on your sidebar (clearly marked as “sponsored” of course). People would pay for their feed to show up on your sidebar this way. This is just a really just a random thought I had – I haven’t looked into it at all to see if this would break any sort of Twitter rules or be a no-no with Google. Look into it before you run with that idea.

Will someone please pay me to just sit around and think of ideas? :-p In all honesty, I’m sure that some smart cookies out there are already doing this, but I haven’t seen anyone talking about it, so I wanted to pass on the idea! Hope it helps some of you – RT this post if it does (feel free to cc: @allison_boyer – I’d love to know who is using this idea!).

Quick Tip: Read Your Blog in an RSS Feed


This may sound like a no-brainer, but I guarantee some bloggers don’t subscribe to their own RSS feeds – and then actually look at their posts!

The reason behind suggestion that you do this- is that a post came across Google Reader, and I couldn’t read it. Literally. The font was white in color, and I couldn’t see anything until I moused over it! The blogger had changed the blog to a trendy new theme complete with a dark background and white font, making it invisible in the reader.

So test out your posts, check how images come across, formatting, font type and colors. And if/when you change your blog theme, test it all over again!


Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Change in RSS Feed


Just a quick notice to everyone who has subscribed to the BlogWorld Expo blog feed: You may need to resubscribe! We switched servers and the new URL is https://www.blogworld.com. Please spread the news.

We’ve been undergoing several other changes and look for an entirely new blog design in the next few weeks – at this same URL of course!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

5 Ways to Encourage Blog Comments


You’ve been blogging for months, but no one’s responding. It’s as though all of your great writings are wasted.

Shirley George Frazier of SoloBusinessMarketing.com Years ago, I found myself with the same problem, but readers started responding with blog comments when I tested ideas shared by BlogWorld Expo attendees.

So, before you ditch that blog, follow these five tips to get people talking.

  • Ask a question.

    Do you end posts with a summary statement or a method that encourages reader interaction? Questions get people thinking, and that makes their fingers type a response.

    All of my posts donít end with a question, but most do, and it’s almost guaranteed that someone will share their views or experience. Forming a question in the last sentence is just as easy as writing a statement. Try it in your next post.

  • Tell a story.

    There’s a reason why great stories are passed down through generations. People enjoy putting themselves in the storyteller’s shoes to virtually re-live the experience. This works best when describing a situation that relates to your readers.

    One of my highest-commented posts occurred because of my rant about running a business and sharing a car. The advice poured in. When readers relate to your story, they happily get involved.

  • Offer a prize.

    You’re thinking “this is bribery,” right? Not really. Prizes are linked to contests, and contests are a blog favorite to such a degree that the event can deliver huge notoriety through tweets and other social media postings.

    Ask readers to submit a comment or video about your blog’s topic, and add the prizeís value so that more people participate.

  • Critique another person’s post.

    One way to get people to visit your blog is to comment about a topic featured on someone else’s blog. Most bloggers allow this soft-siphoning technique as long as your feedback relates to the original post and doesn’t resemble a spam comment.

    This is one of the methods I trusted to bring readers to my blog, resulting in more comments and RSS feed subscribers.

  • Expose the truth.

    For years, I’ve encouraged my sister to start a blog about her expertise, which is the sweet-and-gentle craft business. “Everyone’s blog talks about how fun crafts are,” I told her. “Let your readers know what it’s really like to deal with unruly customers, horrible booth neighbors, and overnight security that helps themselves to merchandise.”

    There’s another side to every topic. If you uncover it, your blog will become a hot spot.

Which of these tips will you try right away to get blog comments?

Shirley George Frazier is chief marketer at SoloBusinessMarketing.com and author of Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business: Solutions You Can Use Today. Read Shirley’s Solo Business Marketing blog, and follow her on Twitter @ShirleyFrazier or Email info@solobusinessmarketing.com.

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