When it comes down to it, one of the primary reasons blogs exist is to gain readership. There are many obvious reasons why a blogger wants to bring in visitors: to share information, to build a community, to make money, and so on. Once the visitor is on their site, most bloggers want to make sure they coming back for more. One of the ways to do this is to convert new visitors into loyal readers by having them sign up for an RSS subscription via email or through one of the many popular online RSS readers so they will be notified each time there is a new post.
The more subscribers a site has, the more credibility the site gains, hence why many sites use the FeedCount chicklet from Feedburner to display the number of subscribers to the site.
Courtesy of Malevi4a
But what happens when the number of subscribers starts to drop? A few readers here and there may remain unnoticed on sites with 10,000+ subscribers, but on small to medium sites, a drop of five to ten subscribers can feel like a major setback.
First, we have to think about the reasons readers may no longer wish to receive their subscription to a site. Last week, the question posed on my Fetching Friday post was what are some of the reasons people unsubscribe. Here are the two answers I received:
From Mitch at I’m Just Sharing
“I think the number one reason is that the content just doesnâ€™t suit what the reader is looking for. Like organizations, people join something for one reason, sometimes find out thatâ€™s not the focus, and decide to move on.”
“I un-subscribe from blogs either because they stop writing period or because the more I learn about them, I realize they may not be in line with my way of thinking, etc.”
Other reasons I have seen in the past include:
The topic of the blog changes
The feed is only an excerpt
The content is reproduced or stolen from other sites
Analyze what brought your visitors in the first place. Watch the comments – who regularly comments and the types of posts they comment on. Watch the numbers – specifically the number shift of your subscribers in relation to what you posted that day via Feedburner.
Stay on topic. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an occasional personal post, something which can actually be a good thing so your readers can get to know you better. But if your blog is targeted to readers interested in finance, and you find yourself writing movie reviews, then you will lose subscribers eventually.
Keep an even distribution of content. Or, contrary to the above, if you are like me, your blog doesn’t have one main focus. If you write about three topics that are typically popular, make sure an article related to those three topics appears each week. While I have no control over my poetic spurts, I do regularly have articles about blogging and social media, interspersed with photography and other topics such as motivation, productivity, and anything else that I think my readers would be interested in.
Produce original content. If you use other people’s content (photos, text, etc), be sure it is under Creative Commons or ask for their consent, and give the original creator the credit. Or in the case of my above image, if you can’t find the original creator, give credit to the location you found it.
Subscribe to your own feed. Subscribe in an RSS reader and via email to make sure posts are being displayed properly. I found out the hard way that some of the coding that did awesome things on the site displayed rather squirrely in the feed.
Publish the full article, not the excerpt. The motivation by only doing excerpts is to get your reader to hop onto your site, but this annoys some readers who like everything to be in one place. If your content is great, and you encourage comments, they will eventually go from the feed to your site – you do not want to force them.
Now I would like to know your thoughts – what would make you unsubscribe from a blog, and what can bloggers do to keep you reading?