What Is RSS? Avoid These RSS Feed Syndication Mistakes

Many blog publishers have put up RSS feeds to gain more readers. The importance of readers is that they are returning users of a blog. They read content, social-bookmark it, link to it, and tell their friends about it. They create the wagon for your blog to progress smoothly. But making mistakes with RSS feed delivery can alienate your readers. Here a few of them.

What Is RSS?

Thanks to my reader, Renee Lemley, who put in great effort to create the following presentation describing all aspects of RSS syndication. You can view her comment as the first below. Here is the presentation:

Here are the mistakes of RSS publishers:

1. Not Providing Full Feeds

Readers hate to read a summary and click on the link to reach your ad-rich slow-loading blog to read the full article. So, first step in alienating more than half of your readerbase is providing summary feeds.

2. No Email Subscription

Many readers don't know of RSS. They may find that reading the updates in email is convenient. Don't provide an email form and subscription button, if you wish not to tend to these readers.

3. Not Knowing Your Feed's Condition

If you yourself don't track your feed's availability and health, then who else will? Subscribe to your feed both in a reader and in email. In FeedBurner (FB), you can track the feed's health from FeedMedic in Troubleshootize tab in dashboard.

4. No Frequent Updates

Don't update daily or at least thrice a week, if you wish to get rid of your readers. A pretty good option for the bloggers who don't like reviews and criticisms.

5. Don't Describe RSS

Many readers know of 'subscribing', but they don't know of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). So, don't give a description of what RSS is, and you will successfully keep half of your blog's users at sea.

6. Create a Really Tiny RSS Feed Icon On the Bottom of the Blog

Create tiny RSS icons and email subscription forms, with little or no description, at the most insignificant part of your blog. Don't provide large RSS subscription banner in every post. Don't even tell them that if they subscribe to the feed, they will get updates daily automatically.


If you can share any such mistakes that can really drive your users away, please share them.

3 Opinions:

  1. The RSS feed is so incredibly (and IMHO critically) important to content management of both the casual web surfer and the avid online Internet addict. There is SOOOOO much content out there and we all need to consider the best ways to organize and consume it efficiently and practically.
    I have also come to find that while techies, wanna-be-techies and the like are all too familiar with the RSS feed, the masses are not.
    Your post raises many important points, but I can't help but hone in on #5 as mission critical.
    If someone isn't familiar with what an RSS feed is and one hasn't explained it somewhere on one's blog, why would a visitor subscribe via RSS?
    To answer this question, which I am STILL asked so very often, I created a powerpoint deck that explains what an RSS feed is and why it's so important and posted it to slideshare.
    It's great now to be able to refer clients, friends, peers, etc, to the deck for an explanation. (If I may, http://www.slideshare.net/usegraymatter/rss-sos-a-how-to-guide )

    I would recommend that ALL bloggers who are writing to a non-techie audience provide an explanation of an RSS feed on their sidebar or at least give link to an explanation (so many are available across the web).

    I think RSS feeds are the best kept secret on the Internet. I say it's time to make sure we're all doing our part to let the cat out of the feedbag.

    Good post.

  2. @Renee: Thanks for that elaborate comment. It's sure taken much of your time. I visited the presentation, and it's done wonderfully well. It's so useful that I added it to this post. Look!

  3. Lenin,
    Thank you so very much. I have followed your blog for quite some time and value your insights. I'm on a big RSS education kick right now (as you can probably tell) as more and more non-technical people are entering the socialwebs and the blogosphere. I poll people regularly on whether or not they use an RSS...your post has inspired me to create a poll on my Linked In profile. So thank you for generating in my mind another way to raise RSS awareness and usability.


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