This is a guest post authored by Mike Scott from Port 16. The picture below is Mike along with his adorable sons.
I remember when Mike first stopped by this blog I called him Mike and then another Mike stopped by, so then in order to make some distinction, I started calling him Scott but then another Scott stopped by and at that point I had to ask what name he preferred to be called by! Mike told me it doesn’t bother him what name I called him by but that usually people go by Mike! That was fine and then one day I was on Pownce, and as usual, it was probably late in the day and I had really been devoid of sleep!! Had a hard time keeping my eyes open when Mike had written something about the guest post and I replied, “oh sure Mark, that would be wonderful” – and logged off! Next day when I read Mike’s response, I couldn’t stop laughing from embarrassment .. he sounded a bit frustrated and had written ” well, I can understand Scott, but Mark?? ” ^_^ Mike has been great support with all the technical issues I throw his way from time to time! Thank you Mike, for all your help and support! You’ve been a great friend!
Early on, when I first started Port 16, I had a reader email me, asking the one question that I don’t think any blogger wants to hear.
“How can I subscribe to your blog?”
Although I was really glad that someone wanted to keep up with my blog, it also means that this person couldn’t find the subscribe link easily.
After all, if a reader has to look for a way to subscribe to your blog, then they will quickly give up, and move on. If you received one email asking how to subscribe, then the chances are pretty good that other readers wondered the same thing, but just moved on instead of asking.
I really value my regular readers. I mean really, really value them. Visitors who come and go are fine, but my regular readers are the ones that really add to my blog. Their comments help create a conversation about the topics that I post about. I get ideas, feedback, and new viewpoints from them. My regular readers are the reason that I blog.
So the thought of losing potential readers really bothered me.
Where can I get a big honkin glassy RSS icon?
With that in mind, I decided to go look for some RSS icons that REALLY made it easy to figure out how to subscribe. The icon that you see at the top of this posting is what I use on my blog, and I feature it at the top of the page. It’s easy to find, and heck, its so big that people may accidentally click on it.
If you like that style, you can find a really large selection of Free Glass Style RSS / Feed Icons at the Bitt Box. The file is a 9.6 Mb download, which features the icons, available in 8 different colors, with or without a reflection, in sizes ranging from 128 pixels to 12 pixels.
But what If I don’t like the glassy look?
If you don’t look the glassy look, you still have some options. Feed Icons has a whole slew of icons available as well. You can choose from the standard orange icon, or download a package of 50 12 x 12 feed icons based on Adobe Photoshop’s color palate. The Developer kit offers the standard icon in various sizes, up to 128 x 128.
Some other suggestions
There are a number of ways that you can make it easier for your readers to subscribe to your blog. FeedBurner is now totally free, even the pro services. Their link makes it really easy to subscribe using any reader.
If you are using WordPress, there is even a FeedBurner plugin that will redirect your site’s feed to the FeedBurner URL. You can find a link for it on the “Quick Start for WordPress” page. Using FeedBurner also gets you some handy stats, as well as a whole slew of other options.
So go ahead, take a look at your blog, and see if there is anything that you can do to make it easier for readers to subscribe. After all, it can’t hurt.