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RSS Hugger

Collin LaHay has come up with an idea called RSSHugger, it's a site that allows webmasters to promote their RSS feeds by adding them to the site. You can add your own page but it will cost you 20US dollars (10 is you blog about RSSHugger).

RSS Hugger seems to be a cross between an RSS directory and a wiki. Collin wants the directory to grow to 50,000 blogs which he claims is 0.00045 percent of the blogosphere.

The idea behind the new site is to create buzz and generate new RSS subscribers for RSS feeds that are added to the site. When you buy a page you basically get your feed headlines displayed on your own page within RSSHugger. Whether or not enough buzz is created to generate any new subscribers to members feeds remains to be seen.

Exchanging RSS feeds to increase subscribers

Before the days of RSS there were ezines, these were like RSS feeds except they were sent via email. One way ezine publishers increased their subscriber base was to swap ads in each others publications. You can do the same thing with RSS feeds.

I was reminded about this from reading a post in Googletutor and how Chris was exchanging ads with like minded RSS feed owners. The idea is that you place a link recommending another RSS feed at the end of each feed item. This makes readers aware of new feeds they may be interested in. In return the person you exchanged links with recommends your RSS feeds.

How to exchange RSS ads

You will need to be able to edit your RSS feed. If you are using WordPress 2 or newer then you can use the Feedvertising plugin from Text link ads. Feedvertising allows you to display you own ads rather than ads from TLA.

If you are not using WordPress 2 or would prefer an alternate way to display ads at the end of each post then you should search for plugins for your particular blogging or content management system. You can do this by going to the homepage of whichever platform you use and look for a link to plugins.

Who to exchange RSS ads with

You will get the best response by contacting feed owner who you already know or whose feeds you already read. It would be best to exchange with complementary sites rather than direct competitors. Look for feeds where you think the readers would be interested in your topic.

Once you have come up with some potential partners you will need to look at their subscriber numbers and frequency of posting. Ideally you would want to exchange ads on feeds with similar numbers of subscribers to make the exchange fair. If you wanted to exchange with a feed with a larger readership you could offer to display their ad X times more than they display yours.

RSS feed ad rotation

TLA's feedvertising allows you to rotate ads. If you had 3 different ads they could be displayed in rotation with each ad being displayed 1 third of the time. This means if you had 900 subscribers and you wanted to exchange an ad in a feed with only 300 subscribers, you could have your ad displayed all the time on their feed and their ad 1 third pf the time on your feed.

How should the ad look

You only need to display a small one line message. For example, our friends over at xyz.com have a feed about this and that, you can subscribe here. You can change the word subscribe to the feed URL of the site you are advertising.

Do not be tempted to place lots of ads in the footer of each RSS post otherwise you may end up annoying your subscribers. Having just one offer per feed post reduces clutter and reduces the risk of offending your readership.

RSS adgregation with Blogrush

I'm sure you have already read about Blogrush, even though it was released this weekend every major blogger seems to have written about it. The reason it has become so popular is because it's the next internet marketing bandwagon. It allows you to get traffic by displaying an RSS widget on your blog.

Adgregation

Blogrush works by displaying related items from RSS feeds within a widget that you display on your blog. In turn one of the items in your feed is displayed within the widget displayed on someone else's blog. The idea is that you are syndicating your RSS feed on other blogs. I have even coined a new term for this, it's called adgregation. RSS feeds aggregated together in what is essentially an ad.

Having related feed items displayed to your blog readers is a new spin on an old idea. As the widget only displays the RSS feed item title you are going to have to come up with some pretty eye catching headlines to attract click-through's.

Referral program

There is also a referral program which allows you to recommend this widget to others and in return you will get your RSS headlines displayed a greater number of times (assuming they also install the widget).

Conclusion

Whilst the idea of the Blogrush widget can be potentially beneficial in driving traffic there are a couple of points you may want to consider. Mark over at 45n5 has raised the point that displaying the widget on a blog that carries Adsense may be against their terms of service. Secondly you may be giving up a large area of blog real estate for a currently unknown return. By all means test the service but be sure to remove it if it's not working for you.

How RSS can help your sites authority

When you provide an RSS feed on your site you are allowing your site visitors to subscribe to your sites content and other sites to syndicate your content. Every time someone subscribes they are in effect voting for your site.

RSS feeds are a very democratic tool. A subscriber has complete control over whether or not they subscribe in the first place and whether or not they stay subscribed. This makes RSS a good measure of the ongoing popularity and quality of a site over time as subscriber numbers can go up and down.

RSS as a metric

Proving your RSS subscriber base is more difficult, luckily there are third party tools such as Feedburner that can provide these statistics for you. Having an impartial third party measure your RSS subscriber base makes your numbers more trusted.

Increasingly advertising agencies are starting to use RSS subscribers as a metric to decide the value of advertising on a site. ReviewME uses the number of RSS subscribers to a site as part of its metric measurements and converts this into a star rating.

Another site using RSS is URLfan that is using RSS feeds to find out which websites are being referenced most often. As more and more internet users become RSS aware it will become more widely used metric for measuring a site's credibility.

How to get more RSS subscribers

There's nothing like old fashioned back to basics straight forward thinking. One of the easiest ways of turning casual readers into loyal readers is by asking them to subscribe to your RSS feed.

I realised the other day whilst reading Mubin's blogs that many sites that offer RSS feeds (including Newsniche) forget to mention to their reads that they have an RSS feed to subscribe to.

Let them know

It's as simple as mentioning every now and again in your posts that you have an RSS feed. The less techie may have not even realised and it's in the readers interest as generally RSS benefits the consumer more than the publisher.

Promotion with RSS part 3

The final installation of the series about RSS promotion, this time we will look at the benefits of syndication. Syndication is where you are making the content of your RSS feed available for others to publish.

If you are at all familiar with RSS you will probably have realised by now that if you publish an RSS feed it will b syndicated whether you like it or not. The reason is that RSS feeds are easy to republish with very little technical knowledge.

RSS promotion, making the most of syndication

Now you could track down all the webmasters that are republishing your RSS feed and ask them to desist. Instead why not put your energies into making syndication work for you.

Luckily for you most webmasters that republish your feed will not read your content (the cheek) and publish your RSS feed verbatim. Don't worry, this is good. It means we can link back to our older content and get some free publicity and links pointing back to our site which Google loves.

How to link back in your posts

The thing to remember is to make any links back to your own site as natural as possible and do not over do it. As an example in this post I have linked to the previous posts in this series. This not only gives us links back to the site but is also useful for the reader as they can be made aware of other related posts you have made.

Promotion with RSS part 2

Continuing on from the previous post on promotion with RSS where we discussed on site promotion. In the second installment you will find out about promoting your RSS feed with some off site techniques.

Submit to RSS directories

The most obvious and popular off site RSS promotion method is to submit your RSS feed to directories. There are many specialist directories that accept only RSS feeds and lucky for you a list of RSS directories sorted by pagerank is maintained here.

When you submit your feed to a directory you are benefiting a number of ways. Firstly your feed will be visible to visitors who search such directories, your feed may even be featured if there is a section for newly submitted feeds or recently updated feeds.

The second benefit is a link to your feed or possibly even your site. The reason this will be beneficial to you is that as well as bringing traffic to your site it will also help your site with the search engines. Many search engines class links to your site, particularly from authority or established sites as a positive vote.

Promotion with RSS

Many webmasters might be wondering how you can get more visitors and increase your readership by using RSS. Read on to find out the ways in which you can spread your RSS fingers into other peoples pies.

Publishing a feed for promotion

By publishing an RSS feed you are syndicating your content for your readers and other webmasters to republish. The republishing of feeds is a whole other topic but for now we will assumes webmasters will republish your RSS feed whether you like it or not.

Publicize your feed

The first thing you should do is make your visitors aware that you have a feed to publish. Place a prominent link in your navigation so it catches the readers eye, using RSS icons are a good way to do this.

Make your site RSS aware, this will allow readers browsers to detect that you offer an RSS feed. To do this just place a single line of HTML in the header section of your pages to give your readers a one click RSS feed subscription.

Off site promotion

In the next exciting instalment we will discuss promoting your RSS feed on other sites including RSS directories.

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