Delegate, Focus, and GROW Your Business

Lions, Tigers, RSS, Mailing Lists and Updates… Oh My

It’s confusing! I know!

So many people don’t even realize that there are different ways to gain a subscription to a blog. Let me take a minute to explain the three most common ways and how two often get confused or interchanged.

1. Subscribe to a blog via RSS

RSS is the nifty orange icon that every blog has! RSS stands for Really Simply Syndication and in a nutshell produces a feed of your content so that your users can subscribe and have it delivered to them.

You subscribe to an RSS feed using a reader. Also known as a News Aggregator, some of these readers are software that is installed on your computer, some of them are web based that you log into. Many email’s software have readers built in.

This is where it gets confusing. Just because someone subscribes to your RSS feed does not mean they get it delivered to their inbox. Even if they use Outlooks’ reader, the feed gets loaded into a different part. They can choose to read it when they want to. They can unsubscribe at anytime. You do not have a way to reach them except by adding something to your feed (i.e. such as blog post).

You must have an RSS feed on your blog. If you think you don’t, you probably do and just aren’t aware of it. Most blogging software has some type of feed page built into it. I personally like Feedburner.

2. Subscribe to blog via Email

This is where it gets confusing. Subscribing to a blog via email or better described as Subscribing to Blog Updates Via Email is when the subscriber elects to enter their email address to have blog posts delivered via email (probably because they don’t have a reader or don’t want to use one) rather than subscribing via RSS.

3 very important things to note:

1. This is not your list. This person is subscribing to your blog only. While you may have access to their email address based on whichever program you use to manage this (i.e. Feedburner), these subscribers are not opting in to receive an email newsletter or other offer from you; only to receive your blog posts via email.

2. It is possible for someone to subscribe via RSS and Email both. These are not the same things, even though it is more common to use one or the other, not both. They both deliver the same content; your blog posts or your feed, but they are delivered by two different formats.

3. Some people don’t understand what we are stating right now! That is right. Some people do not understand when they see a Subscribe for Updates like above and then something like a list subscription that they are two different things. If you have both they may subscribe to your blog updates thinking they are subscribing to your list or vice versa. I find the way to combat that is to use Feedburner and utilize their email by a subscription option. This will add that option to the RSS feed. This means that on the website we only have the link for the RSS feed. But when people click it they have the option of subscribing via email. This way there are not two email subscription sign up forms on the site.

3. Subscribe to the List

This option is when you use a third party service such as Aweber, Constant Contact, iContact or many others and you are asking people to opt in to your list by placing their name and email address on your list.

You may be offering your newsletter, an ecourse, an ebook or any number of things. Once they enter their name and email address they will receive an email to confirm (aka a double opt in) to your email list. Once they confirm they will start getting the email broadcasts or autoresponders that you send them.

We hope this helps you understand the different subscriber options that you should offer to your readers when planning your blog layout or sidebar!

Posted on October 14th, 2010 by Rachel Braam, Office Manager

1 Comment »

Beverly says:

First off I want to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Kudos!
Beverly´s last blog post ..night time skyMy Profile

Posted: October 27, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

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