When you have a site that posts regular content, you need a way for users and clients to be notified when that content updates. This best practice will make the users’ experience easier and drive traffic to your site.
Subscribing to receive content updates allows users to get your content pushed to them. There are multiple ways to offer these subscriptions, including offering an option to subscribe via RSS.
What is an RSS Subscription
An RSS subscription, also called an RSS feed, posts new content to a user’s reader. RSS is sometimes referred to as Really Simple Syndication. There a variety of applications that will capture RSS feeds including Google Reader, Bloglines, My Yahoo! and Microsoft Outlook.
Why offer an RSS Subscription
There are a variety of ways to offer subscriptions to your content. While you may prefer one subscription option, it’s important to remember that this is a very personal decision. The subscription option you prefer may not be what all your users prefer, so it’s best to offer multiple options.
So why offer RSS subscription? Using an RSS feed means that any time new content is published, it will appear in a user’s reader. They don’t have to go looking for new content; it comes to them. No matter if they prefer Google Reader, Bloglines or something else, users can visit just one place and see everything that is of interest to them.
How to Set Up an RSS Subscription
There are many free RSS subscription options out there. Two of the more popular options are Feedburner and Feedblitz. Both sites allow you to claim your RSS feed and provide code to let you install an RSS subscription link on your site. Feedburner is a free service offered by Google. Feedblitz has some costs associated with it but offers some usability options the Feedburner does not.
We recently mentioned that Feedburner and Feedblitz can be used to setup email subscriptions. This is also true for RSS subscriptions. Both Feedburner and Feedblitz manage feeds, and how you allow your users to subscribe to those feeds can include both RSS and email options.
Using an RSS Subscription Offers Users Options
There are many services available to provide an RSS subscription. However you choose to do it, this subscription option will allow your users an easy way to interact with your site and receive all content updates.
I totally agree about the RSS feed. I use Feedburner, but it wasn’t until I added the Feedburner FeedSmith plug-in that I was actually showing EVERY person who follows my RSS thread in Feedburner
FeedBurner FeedSmith Originally authored by Steve Smith, this plugin detects all ways to access your original WordPress feeds and redirects them to your FeedBurner feed so you can track every possible subscriber.