As we discussed earlier this week, backlinks, Alexa ratings, and page rank, along with along with traffic and feed subscriptions, are some industry standards for evaluating blogs. Today, let's talk about feeds and feed subscriptions.
The number of feed subscribers to your blog or website gives you a good indication of the number of people who intend to come back to visit you. A feed subscriber has taken the extra step of adding your blog to their list of daily reads - many times, they're hoping for follow-up or similar stories to whatever post drew them to your site in the first place.
Traffic from feeds is usually return traffic - these readers are likely to comment, and maybe even to share your posts on their social networks. Basically, the higher your number of feed subscriptions, the better.
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no reliable way to find out how many feed subscribers another site has, for comparison, unless that website administrator chooses to share that information publicly. Since so many people use the Google feed reader, you can see how many people have signed up for the Google feed (instructions, HERE). This number, however, does not reflect Feedburner subscribers, which is owned by Google - but only subscribers who have actually subscribed with Google reader, rather than a different feed reader.
To increase the number of feed subscribers to your blog, you will want to make subscribing as easy as possible. Be sure that there is a "subscribe" option available in your header or sidebar, so that it will be available on every post and page of your site. Some sites also offer something "free," such as a training video, or a .pdf copy of a published report to new subscribers. You may also consider adding a link to a feed at the bottom of each post, with an encouragement like, "Did you like this post? Subscribe to our feed for more..." (or similar).
Tomorrow, we'll talk about traffic.
Also see: Writing for Feeds and Fun with Feeds
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.