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RSS feeds are not enough

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday June 16, 2006 )

Many blogs offer RSS feeds only – no email updates. I think it’s important to offer email subscriptions to a blog as well, and it will continue to be an important feature well into the future, for the following reasons:

a) There’s still many people who aren’t RSS feed savvy or comfortable with the concept.

b) Even for those who do utilize feeds, life gets in the way and they may not fire up their reader service/software regularly – but you can practically guarantee that email is something that they do check often.

c) Email newsletters/updates offer another opportunity to capture the attention of readers who may have glossed over a post.

d) Email newsletters remind people about your site, even if they don’t open the email.

e) An email is easily forwarded to others – it’s a more “viral” form of promoting your blog to others via your subscribers.

f) An email list can help add value to your blog should decide to sell it in the future

g) Like forums, blogs have many “lurkers” – those who read but don’t participate in commenting. Gathering email addresses can give you a better idea of the types of people who have expressed an interest in your writing, especially when your target is other business owners.

h) Some actually prefer email updates over RSS, they find it more personal. I still enjoy receiving email newsletters and often file them away to refer to later.

i) By including a list of links to other, perhaps non-blog, items on your site in each email update, you expose your readers to other content that may be of value to them.

An email newsletter doesn’t have to be a hugely time consuming task. Include an excerpt/summary from each post over the previous 1 – 2 weeks to stir curiousity, plus a brief editorial, and it can create a quite valuable and appreciated resource for your readers. It’s just another way of helping to keep the existence of your blog fresh in people’s minds and encourage return visits.


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