Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'll Take That One, and That One, and That One...: Push Button Subscriptions

In the language of Homer Simpson: "D'oh!" Putting the 'subscribe to feed' buttons at the top of your webpage increases subscription rates--so I'm told.

The goal of utilizing syndication technologies like RSS and Atom is to get people to opt-in for the great content you're producing. It's so very much like the process we go through when we're subscribing to magazines. You thumb through the magazine rack, and then you decide to buy this one, that one, and the other one. Eventually you find the magazines ('feeds' in our analogy) you want to come directly to you, so you subscribe to them. Once you've done this, every new issue (or feed) comes straight to you in the mail (or feed aggregator/reader) is mailed directly to you.

As a marketer, the benefit of getting your new content in front of readers is obvious. When people subscribe to your RSS feed, every time you publish (or 'syndicate') new content to the Internet, your content is placed in the subscriber's reader. Unfortunately, many of us are content with 'hits' on our content instead of 'subscriptions' to our content.

A simple little pointer to increase the number of subscribers for your content is this:

Put the buttons to subscribe to your content at the top of your web page.

If you don't do this, many end users don't ever see the subscribe option because it's located too far down your page.

Here's a short list to get you the HTML code to place the 'Add to whomever' buttons onto your website for:

Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Google
Add to My MSN
Subscribe in NewsGator Online

These make it so easy to syndicate your content for those people who don't even have an RSS aggregator/reader, but make use of My Yahoo!, Google homepage, or My MSN. For RSS Pundit, three-fourths of my hits (not subscriptions) come from My Yahoo! and the like. Making it as easy as a button click to subscribe has resulted in a measurable uptake in subscribers.

Give these a try and move them to the top. You'll find that having people push your buttons isn't such a bad thing after all...

P.S. (from the ‘Brief Historical Note’ Department) My next post will be number twenty-five--watch for Silver Anniversary gifts (so to speak) from the RSS Pundit…


At November 30, 2005 5:19 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

This post couldn't have come at a more useful time. I just started to wonder how to do this on my newly created blog. Thanks!

At December 01, 2005 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's also a good idea to have a "subscribe in Bloglines" button. Lots and lots and lots of people use that service, though I far prefer Newsgator.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

At December 01, 2005 12:37 PM, Blogger Kip Meacham said...

Agreed. Bloglines and Feedster both...

I'll amend the post accordingly.

Thanks, Marshall.


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