I’ve heard a lot of people constantly struggling to increase their RSS subscriber count. But before complaining often people aren’t aware there are few very well reasons for such things happening. In this post I wanted to take a research on many different, design related blogs and investigate their best practices how to use RSS buttons, where to place them, how to stand out and make that RSS button easy to notice and use.
First of all you must write regular, valuable and unique content to get attraction! No one likes to read the same stuff over and over again, because they now how and where to get good information. Also don’t write one day about Windows media player and next day about tips how to attract women – have a clear focus, so you can attract people directly interested in your topic and would want to subscribe in return to get more.
Through investigating all those blogs I came to several tips what you could do to increase your RSS subscriber count:
1. Place RSS button above the fold.
Usually RSS button can be found on the top right area, which in my opinion is definitely the best practice. When I am visiting blogs I like, I always look on top right for RSS button and rarely I don’t find it there! Don’t forget about using catchy RSS icon or maybe use textual RSS subscriber count instead of default one.
Place RSS button somewhere near logo or above the header, so people would be able to recognize subscribe button right away!
2. Place RSS button in the sidebar
Yes, you’ve got one RSS button on the top right of your blog, but still there are people, who want some more advanced features or even they don’t know what the heck is RSS! Use words instead of just plain RSS icons in the more descriptive way. Offer people subscription through e-mail and it is great practice to also create separate RSS page, explaining to other visitors, what RSS stands for!
3. Place RSS button under the posts
This tip is one of the most important ones. You must think like new visitor- let’s say it’s the first time you visit blog, read some article you take interest in and after finishing reading it, you think about what to do next? You can scroll through related posts, read comments, but one thing you’ll notice will be RSS subscribe button – asking to you “If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to our RSS feed for FREE!!!”. For example, if I would be new reader on that blog, I enjoyed article I read through, I would definitely click on that button and subscribe! All you need to do there is ask and present proposal in eye-catchy way to grab that moment of attention!
I also like using word FREE, because some of the visitors don’t understand this RSS thing so well and word free definitely grabs attention!
Now scroll through all those many different practices and see how it looks on other popular sites. Of course, you always must think about your design and layout dividing accents and colors in smart, professional and good looking way. It is also good practice to use also heatmaps after some time when you change new design to see how design and placements works out for your visitors!
Problogger website as professional it is, there are very good “Subscribe to Problogger” section. You have all the most important features there – Subscribe button, individual page explaining what RSS is, if you do not know it yet, Twitter button and subscribe via email field. Everything in one place and above the fold, very good example.
Very good solution, subscribe background is in grungy orange color and above the fold top right placement. When you mouseover RSS feed you also can see textual message how many subscribers there are.
I think this is one of the best solutions, where little RSS button is on top right section, which is easy to find. But also in sidebar you’ll find Updates section, where you can see how many RSS readers there are and again with option to subscribe.
RSS icon in Speckyboy’s blog is extremely small, but on dark background that orange icon really stand out!
Very clear RSS message with different subscription options all in one place.
Top right and above the fold as expected – very clear message, for advanced options there are extra RSS buttons in footer.
Notice how only thing in sidebar with dark orange background is RSS subscribe section, which makes it great, yet subtle accent since every article title is styled the same way.
11. Mac Appstorm
12. Ars Thanea Blog
Something a little bit different, though I think it would be better if at least mouseover would be in orange RSS descriptive way.
13. Phodana Media
Just mouseover RSS feed button and get advanced feed options.
14. Design Bombs
15. I Love Colors
Unique 3D RSS box and really nice rollover effect and good thing is RSS button is easily observable.
Here you’ll find RSS butons in two places as well – I think it’s a really good habit.
Simply a little bit lifted out RSS button creating subtle and elegant accent.
20. EPaper Central
Dark background and three bright buttons easily approachable and understandable!
21. Pro Blog Design
23. Design Disease
24. Viget Extend
25. Coda Blog
Dirty grunge style design with interesting approach, where RSS subscribe button is sort of combined together with logotype.
28. Viget Labs
One of the rare examples where RSS buttons aren’t in above the fold section, but somewhere middle. Different approach also not by using classic orange color, but green one.
30. Cats Who Code
Very good example with two RSS buttons, where first two links on the top are in orange color, describing RSS and also there is counter to see how much people actually have been subscribed.
31. Catalyst Studios
32. Gisele Jaquenod
33. FreeLance Switch
Scroll down the page, but RSS button always hang on top right welcoming new readers to subscribe.
35. Kultur Banause
37. Natalie Jost
38. Veerle’s Blog
There are two RSS button placements on this site as well. Above the fold and in sidebar!
40. Blog What Design
41. N.Design Studio
Sometimes with such small RSS icon can be enough.
42. PSD Rockstar
Everything in this site is really gorgeous and professional, but I really think they should create those RSS, Twitter buttons more appealing in order to get more subscribers. I like rollover though.
44. Adii Rockstar
On the left side Adii keeps the most important things like logo, description, projects and welcoming RSS subscribe button which is light grey standing out on the dark background.
47. We Function
I consider this as good RSS displaying way – simple options and button above the fold and scrolling a little bit down, you’ll get to expanded RSS options, explanation link what RSS is and actual subscriber count!