RSS feeds is a way in which your readers, can be kept informed about the changes on your site, without having to come to your site in a daily basis, and they can have your posts in their favorite RSS readers, like Google, Yahoo, Firefox, Thunderbird, or any other they prefer to use.
The number of readers your site have also shows how interesting it is to readers, if they subscribe to your feeds is because they like your content.
There are some rules I think you need to follow to be successful in gaining RSS readers.
- Invite your visitors to subscribe to your RSS feeds.- At the end of each article could be good to add a message like If you enjoyed this posts, subscribe to my RSS and provide a link to it.
- Provide full RSS, there are lots of people who like to provide trimmed rss, where you can only see the title and a small introduction to the full post, this approach has its pros and cons.
- Pro: You will have people reading the introduction having to click to your site, to see the full post
- Con: Lots of people does not like this truncated rss and will immediately unsubscribe from your feeds
- Put a big RSS button, so everybody could see it, and easily subscribe to your news
If you want to know how many people is subscribed to your news you can use Feedburner, installing a small code in your site, you will be able to track how many people is subscribed, which are the most viewed items, and also you can monetize your feeds.
You can do this, by adding publicity to your feeds, actually Feedburner takes care of that, but you have the right to approve or deny the publicity that is going to be inserted in your site or in your feeds, this way to have full control on what is shown and what not shown on your site.
Feedburner has a lot of tools, you can track how many visitors come to your site, where they come from, which are the pages they land, and from which pages they leave your site.
They have also tools to publicize your site, to ping some other sites when there are updates on your blog.
As you can see rss feeds is a great way to increase the popularity of your blog, and Feedburner is a good complement to it.