If you read it directly from jimsmarketingblog.com or a feed reader, like Google Reader, it’s possible you are wondering why I am even asking the question. You may assume, as many people do, that almost EVERYONE either reads blogs directly from the site of from a feed reader. If you do, here’s a statistic that you might find interesting.
If you write a blog or are thinking about writing one, what I am about to share with you could be enormously valuable too.
Over 60% of my subscribers now subscribe via email!
How easy do YOU make it, for people to subscribe to your site via email?
Do you have a large, clearly visible email sign-up box, or a tiny email RSS icon hidden away on your blog’s sidebar? With 62% of my subscribers now reading this blog via email, I could be missing out on thousands of extremely valuable readers, had I not made it super-easy for them to get the blog delivered to their inbox.
One of the most important elements of blogging, is to develop a subscriber list. Your subscribers are of enormous value to you. Not only are they your most loyal readers, they are also the people who you will still be able to reach, if Google decides to stop sending you traffic or your other sources of new readers slows down or stops. The fact that these wonderful people were good enough to subscribe to you, means that if you keep up your side of the deal, by providing great information, they will continue to read your content. Your email subscribers have the ability to unsubscribe at any time, so it’s not enough just to gain their subscription, you need to look after them too!
Which software to use?
The software I use for delivering my email (and regular RSS) is a free service called Feedburner, though there are lots of alternatives. If you do not already have a Feedburner account, you can get one here. The service is free and easy to use, though there are lots of videos on YouTube, which show how to set your account up, if you get stuck. Once you have your account up and running, it’s time to let people know!
Attracting new subscribers
In my experience, the best way to encourage people to subscribe to your blog, is to ask! Many bloggers use a simple signature file under each blog post, which asks people to subscribe to their blog. If someone sees that reminder, at the point where they have just read something really useful, it can be a powerful motivator.
If you have never subscribed to a blog via email before, here’s how it works. It’s extremely simple and takes seconds. For example, to subscribe to this blog via email, you click this link (it then opens a box) where you enter your email address. That’s it! Once you reply to the confirmation email, you will get future posts delivered to your inbox, ready for you to read at your leisure. What I love about this process, is that unsubscribing is just as easy too, so the subscriber is always in total control. That’s important.
As well as asking people to subscribe to your blog via a signature file added to your posts, I also strongly recommend having a BIG, easy to find email sign-up box on your blog’s sidebar. This does the same thing as that link I just gave you, but it’s very visible (as you can see from the top right hand side of this blog.)
It’s also extremely important that you let your subscribers know that you respect their privacy (and therefore will never share their details with anyone, for any reason.)
So, if you want to increase your readership based on quality as well as volume, make it as easy as possible for your readers to subscribe to you. Your subscribers are the most passionate members of your blog’s community and in many cases, they are your future clients and customers too.
In my experience, any time invested in developing your subscriber base is time well spent!
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