A friend of mine just asked me how many RSS subscribers I had on this blog. Instead of answering him right away, I told him I couldn’t care less, and why he shouldn’t either…
An RSS feed is a great tool to help you spread your content online. You can have your latest posts linked all over the place since there are tons of sites that allow you to add your feed address. (Someone already went to the trouble to compile a list for you – Blog Directories & RSS Feed Directories).
So that was the first good thing about RSS.
Reading RSS feeds through an RSS-reader saves me so much time. I wake up, log in, scan post titles, and select a few posts to read. All in all I don’t spend more than 30 minutes a day on this. So much better than having to go to each and every blog that is in my bookmarks.
That was the second great thing about RSS
So here’s why I don’t care about how many RSS readers my blog has:
- People that read a blog in their RSS readers don’t actually read my stuff half of the time. They scan and skip.
- People that read a blog in their RSS readers don’t see any ads I have on my site. Advertisers don’t get enough ROI and stop advertising.
- People that read a blog in their RSS readers hardly ever feel the need to engage in the comments. They read your post and move on. WFC about commentators, right?
- People that read a blog in their RSS reader do not contribute to your pageview statistics, making it harder for you to sell space to advertisers at a good price.
- Some people canwill steal and copy your content. They are called scrapers, and we all hate them. They don’t care.
So, having said that, there is one huge advantage having a large number of subscribers – Social Proof. It will definitely give you an established and authoritative image. If new visitors see that you’ve got the attention of thousands of other people, chances are that they will come back again. This is excellent, until they too start reading you in a RSS reader.
Yes, you could argue with me and tell me that an RSS subscriber is great if they read you through an email subscription instead of a reader. I agree, but list building is an entirely different topic.
To end this post on a more positive note; Don’t worry too much about all of this. I found this graph on mashable.com (Google Images actually). It looks like there aren’t a lot of ‘normal‘* people that use RSS. Most RSS users are Internet savvy people. Most likely yourselves, affiliate marketers, designers, programmers and developers.
*Disclaimer – By normal people I mean Joe the plumber. People that will actually buy your stuff. Trying to sell something to an affiliate marketer is like…well like selling something to an affiliate marketer! Oh, and I would just like to say hi to my 16 RSS subscribers. Hi guys!