‘Feed’ Your Audience!

rss-feedsYou want your visitors to ‘follow’ you and one of the many beautiful things about blogs  is that they have ‘Follow Me’ stuff built in.

RSS Stands for Really Simple Syndication and by ‘subscribing’ to your RSS feed visitors can get informed whenever you post new content automatically!

Hurrah! Looks like this RSS malarkey might be a good thing!

So they can click on that orange and white icon and add your ‘RSS feed’ to whatever program they use to store feeds from your sites and others.

That way they can mosey over to their Feed Reader of choice, every morning say, and see what you and their other favourite bloggers have written about since they last checked. There’s a short list of popular Feed Readers/News Aggregators below this post and if you haven’t signed up to one already you need to do so fast so that you too can ‘follow’ sites that you are interested in, or that are relevant to your ‘niche’.

Imagine having, say, your top 10/20/30/50 sites all distilled into one link clickable web page, keeping you organised. Make sense? So you need to offer your visitor the choice of adding your site to their Reader when they say…

“I like what you are doing on this site and want to be informed whenever you post new content.”

How cool that you give your sites visitors not just one but loads of opportunities to tell you this very thing!

Now not everybody understands how RSS feeds work or what a Feed Reader is and that is why all good blogs offer another option: a subscriber box where visitors are asked to enter their email address to be informed via email whenever you add new content. Easier to understand right? In fact even YOU don’t have to know how or why it works as long as you initialise it on your blogs.

We’ll talk about you making sure your blog is RSS compatible in the video tutorial further down the page but in the meantime here’s a YouTube video that explains RSS from a visitor’s perspective:

Once you start subscribing to some RSS feeds yourself you will see how useful they are in that they allow you to create your own online personalized newspaper in your Feed Reader of topics that you are specifically interested in.

Over and above RSS Bookmarking icons, like the ones beneath this post, are yet another way of  helping your visitors to save, bookmark or recommend your site.

It’s all about collecting, saving and referring information and making the WWW a bit more manageable.

Send to Facebook, Twitter – and on and on. Everyone has their own favorite way of saving stuff so you need to offer them choices on how they can do that.

In later tutorials we’ll talk about email subscriptions in more detail and how you can use them to monetize your site(s). But here, in these two videos, we’ll just discuss how having a Feedburner account lets you add both of those options to your site easily and fast.

In another tutorial we’ll discuss how to use RSS feeds to promote your sites by ‘Pinging’ – “Pinging?”, all will be explained!

Glossary of terms used in these tutorials:

  • RSS – Really Simple Syndication. A way for readers of sites to ‘subscribe’ to a blog or site by saving the RSS feed link to a Feed Reader – also known as a News Aggregator
  • Subscriber – somebody who has asked to be informed (via RSS or email) when new info appears on your site. They have also, perhaps, ‘opted-in’ to a e-mailed Newsletter or announcements from an Auto-responder such as Aweber ( more on that in another video).

Relevant Links:

  • Feedburner (you’ll need to have a Google Mail account to access Feedburner, as Google owns it, so go get one if you haven’t already – you’ll need it for other free tools in other tutorials
  • Feedburner plugin for WordPress
  • Here’s a link to a method I discovered after creating this video on using Feedburner to send, say, a weekly/monthly Newsletter to your subscribers. It does involve fiddling with code which is a little challenging for beginners.
  • Here’s another version of the method but using a WordPress plugin

Some Feed Readers ( you only need one!):

What’s your feed reader of choice?  Let me know in the Comments below…



Managing Director at Big Buzz Projects
Clive McGonigal is a full time Web Developer, Marketer, WordPress Evangelist and all round Decent Chap. He lives between London and France ( on a tiny rowing boat with an internet connection) and spends his offline time wining, dining and conversing with his dogs. He loves WordPress ( themes, plugins and tweaks) and blogs about them whenever he can.

Comments (5)

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  1. craig says:

    Clive, I followed the steps for the feedburner but when I go to my blog and link to Entries RSS I receive an error.
    “Invalid Feed Request”
    Is this a WordPress version issue or is there some other problem? I am using WordPress 3.0.1.

    • Clive says:

      Hi Craig, send me your RSS feed ( what it was originally + current Feedburner one) so I can check it out. I have found that it can take up to 48 hours when moving a regular feed to Feedburner for it to propagate as it should, so I’m hoping it’s something as simple as that.

  2. Peter says:

    Hi Clive

    I got all the google feedburner stuff sorted – much to my surprise! But…

    I decided to delete my feedsmith 2.2 before installing the new 2.3 one. When I did so the reinstallation went fine but then when I tried to activate the message “The plugin does not have a valid header” appeared

    I deleted the zip via Filezilla and tried again. I looked in htaccess file for inspiration, as suggested in the feedsmith helpfile, but saw nowt that looked feedish.

    I don’t understand the “You will have to reset your
    FeedBurner feeds to point to your standard blog feed address” either unfortunately.

    Any suggestions gratefully received.

    Peter from

    • Clive says:

      Send me your Login details ( or, better yet, set up a temporary ‘Admin’ access account for me) so I can check out what the problem might be.

      • Clive says:

        My initial reaction/response is to just ‘upgrade’ a plugin when prompted – rather than delete and re-install and thereby lose your settings.

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