We Need to Promote RSS, Part 2

So I asked my buddy Kim yesterday if she would ask her readers why only 4% of them subscribe to her RSS feed. She has a devoted following, so we know it wasn’t because they weren’t interested in her blog. Hers is also a largely non-technical demographic, too, so I knew it would be revealing if we could get some comments out of them.

Well, the comments are rolling in. You can follow the dialogue and learn along with me what keeps people from subscribing.

Here are two things that haven’t come out in the comments, though.

First, Kim herself doesn’t actually subscribe to any feeds. She had tried one or two feed readers in the past, but they weren’t useful when she hit a certain level of subscriptions. I have her trying Google Reader now, though, so we’ll see how that goes :)

Second, someone else emailed me to let me know that they felt bad subscribing to the feed because the blogger didn’t get credit for a hit each time they read a post, and clicking through each time was just too much of a nuisance. I told her, though, that we have to look at the big picture. Of the blogs you subscribe to, and visit every so often, how many would you be visiting if you hadn’t subscribed. As I revealed in Part 1, there’s only one blog I read that I would remember to visit on a regular basis were it not for my subscriptions. Up close it may seem like feeds are an unfair way to enjoy someone’s writing, but it’s actually a great thing for everyone involved when all things are considered.