I was on your blog in 2012. Twice, actually. And I loved it. Both times. So why aren’t I a regular now?
I loved your quirky hunt for live spot prawns. That article about guinea hen dumplings changed how I deep fried forever. And those photos you take? Stunning.
I read your posts for two hours. They interlinked so well I opened seventeen tabs inside thirty minutes. You’re definitely doing that interlinking thing right. Who taught you that? And why didn’t they teach you the one thing that really mattered?
I wrote down your web address. It was on a strip of paper I tore from my to do list. Now, where did that little paper go? Maybe it fluttered behind the desk when I straightened up that day. Maybe that’s what that little piece of paper was. The one that shot up into the vacuum that Friday. I knew I should have double checked before I vacuumed it up. But I was in a hurry.
The second time I found your site, I was super enthused. Eureka! I had found it! Dijon chicken and bacon sticky buns, here I come!
My family loved the crispy eggplant, and I felt pretty cool. I couldn’t wait to look even cooler with your pineapple guacamole. I didn’t need to write your web address down this time. Surly I would remember it. And besides, your web address was printed on the recipe page.
But I loaned the recipe printout to my mom. She never did make that guacamole. Then she lost the recipe.
What was the name of your site again?
I haven’t found you since. I kept hoping I’d happen across it. I never did. Too bad too, because your site was awesome. I mean really, really awesome. You did absolutely everything right.
Except this one thing.
Now the bloggers I read each morning? They don’t do half what you do. They don’t have great pictures. Or they’re not as quirky-cool. Or they haven’t mastered the art of brevity. But you know why I read them and not you? It’s just one silly thing. Don’t hate me.
They offered email subscriptions. And you didn’t.
And once I left your blog, I forgot how to find it. And you never reached out to bring me back into the fold. We’re both missing out. Me on great recipes. You on another reader. How many more readers like me have you lost?
Google Reader’s Demise Proves RSS is Dead
RSS stands for “really simple syndication.” But, really, it’s just a way to get live updates from websites.
“That sounds like the perfect way for readers to follow my website,” I hear you saying. Shut up. You’re wrong. Here’s why.
Some readers are comfortable with RSS. Some aren’t.
With RSS, the work lands on your reader. Some will make the effort. Many won’t. What does that mean for you? Lost readers. I don’t pity you if that’s the case. No self-respecting blogger would make it any harder on their readers.
Treat your readers like royalty. Sure, they’re called “followers,” but that just means the hard work is on you. So work it, blogger.
If the death of Google Reader taught us anything, it’s that RSS is dead. If Google can’t make RSS happen, god probably can’t either. So what hope have you?
Don’t get me wrong. RSS has its die hard fans. And RSS has its uses. It adds Twitter feeds to home pages and filters the search for Justin Bieber’s nose hair. But it’s no way to reliably capture avid readers.
There is a better way.
Be a Kind Blogger. Offer Email Subscriptions.
If it’s easy to follow you, I’m more likely to follow you. Period.
Email subscriptions put the work on the blogger.
Will you condemn your readers to hours of research before allowing access to your posts? After she figures out what RSS is, how to set up an e-reader account, and watches the tutorials, your site has disappeared from her mind.
And will she ever dig out that e-reader again anyway?
But she’ll always check her email. I do.
It’s not all labor and no love for you either, blogger. Want to know how many readers you have? Check your email list. Have a great new product your readers will love? Send it to your email list. It’s a win/win for everybody.
But it starts with the list.
Email Subscriptions are Easier for Readers
It’s the highlight of my workday.
I’m not exactly the poster child for discipline. So how do I succeed as a freelancer when I’d rather sleep in every morning?
I roll over on weekdays, slap the alarm quiet, blink against the harsh morning light, and wonder why I should get up at all. Who would know? That to do list on my desk is already oppressive. I burrow further into the blankets. My chihuahua stretches, opens one eye with that it’s-too-early-to-get-up look, and falls back to sleep. He’s right. Why work? Sleep is better.
My dreams of freelancing would have died on day one if I didn’t have this trick. Want to know what it is?
Hot coffee and bloggers.
Every morning I get out of bed, pour a steaming hot espresso from the moka pot, and tuck in to read my favorite bloggers’ perfect prose.
It’s ideal because it’s a transition. At first, it’s just relaxing. Then I get inspired. Soon I’m fired up. And the rest of the day is easy. It counts as work, but it isn’t work.
I have an email account that I set up just for blog subscriptions. Want to know what it is? Be a fabulous blogger and offer subscriptions. That’s all it takes to get me on your list.
Oh, you don’t offer email subscriptions? That’s a shame. There’s plenty of room in my morning lineup. And I could always do with more inspiration.
I’m sorry if that’s you. Because if you don’t offer email subscriptions, the reality is that most people won’t remember your blog.
Someone you know would love to read this article. Be a bro and send it to them.
Decided to keep it all to yourself? That’s okay. Who doesn’t want to look like a natural? Don’t worry, I won’t tell. But don’t be a one hit wonder either. Get your writing tips on steady drip, and be the first to know when the next article goes live. Just slap your favorite email into the footer below.
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