4 Reasons to “Subscribe” via Email or RSS

Subscribe to eMarketing & New MediaSubscribe to eMarketing & New MediaMany don’t fully understand the concept of RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”) feeds. I won’t bore you with another description of what RSS is, as I’ve previously addressed that in a prior post, “Using RSS Feeds to your Advantage”. You can also learn how to use RSS feeds in unique ways with my post, “Six Creative Uses for RSS.” However, I would like to further explain it in a language more people may understand.

An individual can utilize sites that offer RSS feeds in two ways, through an RSS reader, or through email. When you subscribe to a feed through email, you receive an email message each and every time the site or blog you subscribed to is updated. Depending on how many sites you are subscribed to, and how often these sites are updated, this could lead to several emails each week notifying you of new content.

In comparison, a RSS reader is like a second email inbox (with no email address) for all of your educational content. If you frequently search the web for certain content, or are an individual who looks for email newsletters to subscribe to to receive information on a certain topic, then I strongly, strongly recommend that you sign up for an RSS reader. After a while, it’ll be the go to place when you’re searching for a piece of information.

Now, don’t forget, if you don’t currently subscribe to many blogs and do not have a feed reader, you can still subscribe via email.

So, without further ado, here are my top 4 reasons to subscribe to sites using RSS or email:

  1. SAVES YOU TIME: You don’t have to check each of your 100 favorite sites when you open up your laptop or turn on your desktop- your RSS reader / email will do it for you.
  2. YOU WON’T MISS ANYTHING: any new news will be in your RSS reader or email when you find the time to look through it. You won’t miss out on anything.
  3. TURN YOUR FAVORITE SITES INTO A SEARCHABLE DATABASE: With an RSS reader or a gmail account, you can search each and every entry since you’ve been subscribed to be able to find exactly what you know you saw.
  4. GET THE PERKS: Some blogs will provide their RSS subscribers (through a reader or email) with extra information and offers that those who are not subscribed can not access.

Also, be sure to subscribe to this blog via an RSS reader or email!

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9 thoughts on “4 Reasons to “Subscribe” via Email or RSS

  1. “An individual can utilize sites that offer RSS feeds in two ways, through an RSS reader, or through email.”

    Correct me if I’ve misunderstood you but I believe subscribing via email is completely separate concept than subscribing via an RSS feed. Whether a site offers a RSS feed or not does not always determine whether an email subscription is available. Sure Feedburner and other RSS online services can use an RSS feed to generate email notices, but that still remains a separate application. Here is a list of differences between the two on Wikipedia.

    On a separate note, my personal favorite RSS reader is Google Reader while Bloglines is another good choice. Both are free and both are utilized using a web browser.

  2. @Rich- great question! What I meant by that statement was that there are two ways to utilize the RSS technology- subscribing through an RSS reader, or subscribing through email. When subscribers receive these “feeds” through rss online services such as Feedburner, they are receiving the information through the RSS technology

    Email subscriptions on their own are indeed a completely different thing. Services such as Feedburner will use the RSS technology to deliver the new content to the subscriber in their inbox- taking care of all the legal matters that you would otherwise have to worry about on your own. Also, an email subscription without the RSS technology may require you to manually send an email to your list each time you update your site.

    Thanks for the comment, Rich- and I hope I better clarified the point I made!

  3. I think using the word “subscribe” in this context totally confuses the 95% of net users who have never heard of RSS and newsfeeds. A better approach might be to say something like “Get news by RSS” then add a link to your “What is RSS?” page and alongside that “Get news by email”. Obviously, you could tweak the wording, maybe saying “Read news by email”, “Grab updates with RSS” or whatever.

    I’ve tried various approaches and am seeing a steady increase on Sciencebase.com, which had a recent spike at 3054 RSS users, which ain’t bad for a niche science site.

  4. @Sciencebase- Thanks for the advice. I agree that the word subscribe may confuse people that have never heard of RSS. I’ve seen sites with phrases such as “Receive updates by email,” and “Join our mailing list,” with the field for the email right below it-which I believe would most likely be more effective. Thanks again!

  5. @ Sciencebase – I think saying subscribe to those who get RSS is pretty standard. This is why it is critical (in my opinion) to also offer a subscription via email. Most will not understand that it is an RSS based email subscription, but the good news is that they don’t have to. all they need to know is where to enter their email address and that they will receive emails from you based on your blogs posts. In fact, they may not even understand that (depending on your audience) – but let’s just say it is reasonable that they will expect to get emails from you if they give you their email address. I think site owner who are exclusive to the RSS buttons are selling themselves short. I log into my RSS reader maybe once a month, yet I read blogs daily via email subscription.

  6. @Anthony The word “subscribe” may be standard among us bloggers and SEO experts, but to the general public the word “subscribe” implies a cost. I had an example of this just today. Someone emailed me to say they’d clicked the button, received a confirmation and were happy to receive my updates but were worried that at some point they were going to have to pay! If only I _could_ charge my 3000 rss “subscribers”…maybe $1 an item? (I’d be posting 10x a day!)

  7. peter1@largefree.com
    @Anthony The word “subscribe” may be standard among us bloggers and SEO experts, but to the general public the word “subscribe” implies a cost. I had an example of this just today. Someone emailed me to say they’d clicked the button, received a confirmation and were happy to receive my updates but were worried that at some point they were going to have to pay! If only I _could_ charge my 3000 rss “subscribers”…maybe $1 an item? (I’d be posting 10x a day!)

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