The Power of Feeds
I can't say that I am an expert on getting subscribers. I only have about 160. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it. But I do know a little about feeds. I know that feeds can be useful to a site if you don't get one subscriber.
Just looking at this chart on Wired will give you an idea of how far a feed can travel. The more distance you get out of your feeds, the bigger the payoff in traffic and backlinks. A link to your site is one thing. A feed provides a new distinct link to your site each time you post. Multiply this by the amount of sites republishing your feed.
A note to Feedburner Users: I started this post and was tracking down some of the sites that pick up my feed when I realized that the links from most of these sites went through Feedburner. Knowing that this could be good or worthless and defeat the whole purpose of this post, I went searching to see if Feedburner links pass rank. It turns out they do and they don't depending on how they are set up. And mine weren't currently set up to pass rank. Stupid me. So that now that that is fixed, I can go on my merry way. This supposedly can cause a issue with tracking but Feedburner causes enough of it's own issues and I will stick with my choice.
I really can't wait to see what that does. If I look through Google Webmaster Tools, a lot of my old posts have more links to them then those after I switched to Feedburner.
Ping Whatever You Can
This has issues though. Feed directories and aggregators come and go quickly sometimes. Keeping an updated list of sites to ping is a pain in the ass, so sometimes I don't keep it updated for months at a time.
The alternative is a service to ping all the sites for you. Pingoat pinged the most services the last time I checked and AutoPinger will check your blog at regular intervals and ping only when there are new items.
<h3>Submit Your Feed to Feed Directories</h3> <p>This is pretty straight forward. Find a directory that will accept your feed. Enter your details and hit submit. Then move onto the next. The way these directories mash up your feeds varies and we can get into details of which would be more valuable, but will only take a minute of your time to submit to a directory anyway.</p> <p>I didn't have the foresight to break up my <a href="http://www.stephanmiller.com/my-link-lists/264-places-to-list-your-blog/" target="_blank">blog and feed directory list</a> into feed directories and regular directories. But if you are starting out with a new blog, I would suggest hitting the feed directories first because they are more worth your while. So here are some lists of purely feed directories:</p> <ul> <h4><a href="http://www.dotsauce.com/2007/06/06/55-active-rss-directories-to-help-promote-your-feeds/">55 Active RSS Directories to Help Promote Your Feeds!</a></h4> <h4><a href="http://www.jasonbartholme.com/2007/09/07/45-working-sites-to-quickly-submit-your-rss-feeds/" target="_blank">45 Working Sites to Quickly Submit Your RSS Feeds</a></h4> </ul> <h3>Mash Your Feeds</h3> <p>Since some of the sites in this category aren't exactly feed directories and they aren't exactly the same, I have listed them here and they can be some of the best places to submit your feeds and then be active in the community. This is an evolving, ever changing category as new sites redefine what can and can't be done with feeds. I could have put this article off for months and it would have done no good. More on this after the next section.</p> <p><u>The Wordpress RSS Widget</u></p> <p>You can see this in action on my <a href="http://wp23.com" target="_blank">Wordpress Site</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zimbio.com/member/eristoddle" target="_blank">Zimbio</a></p> <p>These backlinks count with Google even with my Feedburner feed messed up. I checked. Zimbio collects your feeds and republishes each item into various webzines with other users feed items.</p> <p><a href="http://twitter.com/eristoddle" target="_blank">Twitter</a></p> <p>I used to joke that the transition from a blog to Twitter suggest that your posts would eventually become "I am typing words into a text box". I am stupid at times</p> <p><a href="http://stephanmiller.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Tumblr</a></p> <p>I forgot I had this account until the other day. With it I can mash all my feeds together along with my delicious bookmarks among other things.</p> <p><a href="http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/members/eristoddle/" target="_blank">MyBlogLog</a></p> <p>Their new dashboard is cool. If you opt for the paid service, they update the feeds on your community page.</p> <p><a href="http://www.blogcatalog.com/user/StephanMiller" target="_blank">BlogCatalog</a></p> <p>Their new dashboard is cool. Their community is more community-like than MyBlogLog and more complex.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bumpzee.com/users/view/naphets66/" target="_blank">Bumpzee</a></p> <p>I think has the most features in place. Not much activity though.</p> <p><a href="http://www.squidoo.com/ClickbankAffiliateSchool" target="_blank">Squidoo</a></p> <p>An experiment I left on the back burner a while back. I'll let you pick it up if you want. Wordpress categories have their own seperate feeds of just posts in that category. Write two or three flagship posts about a category of your blog. Add them to a Squidoo lense. Mash it up a little with a few of the modules they have available. Then add the feed of that category to your lense.</p> <p><a href="http://technorati.com/people/technorati/naphets66" target="_blank">Technorati</a></p> <p>Duh!</p> <p><u>Facebook</u></p> <p>I will let you figure this one out. I <a href="http://www.stephanmiller.com/facebook-blows/" target="_blank">have my own opinion</a>.</p> <h5>Let Scrapers Steal Your Feed</h5> <p>I like most scrapers sites. They can be good. They are always around. They can make it a long time without Google noticing them and decreasing their rank. I have seen a few sites with a Pagerank of 4 or 5 that I would consider scraper sites.</p> <p>One of the first programs I bought when I started affiliate marketing was Traffic Equalizer. Yes, I built a scraper site the hard way. I didn't know php at the time. And I only built one site with the software.</p> <p>It worked. I got traffic and started making sales. And then I went back in and slowly replaced all the scraped pages manually.</p> <p>All Traffic Equalizer did was grab search engine result pages and use them to build keyword based static pages on your site. I noticed a pattern after a while. As my ranking went up in the search engines for specific keywords, other scraper sites picked up my pages from the search engines they were scraping and it increased my rank even more.</p> <p>Now it is easier with feeds. I even built a couple of these. They are not active now. I was just testing some results. One result: too much traffic for the server.</p> <p>The scraper site/blog relationship in a symbiotic one. It's a win/win situation. The owner get's some spam past the search engines and you get a link most of the time.</p> <h3>Search and Ye Shall Find</h3> <p>If I search for my name in Google, I find sites that pick up my feed. If I search with the titles of my past posts, I find more. You could reverse engineer this on any blog you choose and see how they get some of their link juice. Or you could use Yahoo Webmaster Tools.</p> <p>This post is far from exhaustive and that's not my point. It will be outdated by next week because this is a very fluid environment. Bury your head in the sand and your brain will explode when you pull it out with all the changes you have to adjust to. I should know. I have been M.I.A. from current technologies for months at a time. A habit I hope to never repeat. Every next big thing has the potential of being the biggest thing at what it does.</p> <h3>A Snake Swallowing It's Tail</h3> <p>Your blog has feeds right. So do some of the mash up sites I listed. You submit your blog feed to feed directories. You see where I am going with this. But if you look around, other sites have feeds. Stumbleupon has feeds. This tangent was an attempt to see if I would start chasing my own tail. I stopped it right there.</p> <h3>Duplicate Content from Feeds</h3> <p>I may not be using the term correctly and have be jumped on in comments for doing so before, but I don't really care as long as you get the point. Terms have no meaning if you don't get it. Sites that republish your feeds essentially are duplicating the content on your site. But you published it first, so no worry. The worst that could happen is your feed page on the directory won't pass any rank to you. But mashups can have powerful effects. The more you stir up content, the less duplicate it seems to search engines, at least in my experience. Some of these sites put more than your feed on your feed page. That's a good thing. It's all in the percentages.</p> <h3>NoFollow</h3> <p>Does nofollow matter? First answer these questions. How long does submission take? Are there active community members? Does the site get a lot of traffic?</p> <p>After answering those questions, you should be able to come to your own conclusions on a site by site basis.</p> <h3>Back to Subscribers</h3> <p>I need to research ways to get more subscribers. It's usually a gradual process and eventually a post like this comes out, but for now, I will refer you to Mert Erkal who has some <a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/publishers/pingshot" target="_blank">news about Aweber and feeds</a>. And while you're there, download the next Bloghology. I'm in it. And I think I will take the day off tomorrow.</p>