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Site Sketch 101 has slowly been evolving into the beast that you see here today. During its nearly two years of existence, it’s acquired about 4,000 subscribers.
That hasn’t happened by accident, but rather, from an intentional effort to provide great content, to engage with the audience as much as possible and much more.
Subscribers come and go, but if you want more to come than go then pay attention below to the 15 reasons people unsubscribe from your RSS. As I write and work here at Site Sketch 101, I’ve found that keeping these concepts in mind have helped to make this site what it is today.
- You only publish partial posts – Quite often, publishers release only an excerpt of an article in the RSS in an effort to force readers to click through and read the rest of the article at the site itself. This can lead to an increase in daily visitors and page views, but it can also lead to an increase in reader annoyance.
- You post way too often – There are very few sites that have the creativity and variety to be able to post dozens of articles each day the way that Mashable does. In fact, even though I love Mashable, there’s no way I’ll subscribe to their RSS. My feed would be bombarded with their updates.
- You don’t post often enough – I guess you could say it’s a balancing act. Too much content and you’ll end up scaring them away; too few articles and you’ll bore your readers into unsubscribing. No one wants to have a feed in their reader that never gets updated.
- You post repetitive content – In a world filled with millions of blogs, it can be difficult to create unique, original content…but it’s vital. If you’re posting the same opinions, news and articles that every other blog in the blogosphere is writing about then folks will quickly get tired of your redundancies.
- You overdo the hard sell – Nobody can kill a party faster than the guy who stands around talking about himself nonstop. You’ve experienced that feeling, looking around looking for a way to get away from the boring, egomaniac. Don’t be that guy. Stop talking pitching yourself and your products so much.
- You no longer fill a need – Often a user will sign up because they’re interested in a topic that’s relevant to them at that time in their lives. Perhaps they find they’re no longer interested in under water basket weaving (or whatever you write about) and as such, they move on and unsubscribe.
- You don’t write well – Even the most intelligent and informed author can appear to be ignorant if they’re not able to write well and there are few things that turn readers off faster than the glaring distractions of a poor writer. Pick up a copy of James Chartrand’s Write for the Web and take it up a notch today.
- You don’t entertain your readers – Humor cannot be undervalued. The teachers, authors and educators of our world who are able to aggressively grab the attention of their audiences and convey the truths that they’re teaching are the ones that we don’t soon forget. Are you educating your readers or putting them to sleep in the attempt?
- Your titles don’t entice readers – An article’s title has to put on the gloves and go head-to-head with dozens of other post titles in people’s RSS readers, email accounts, search engines, Facebook timelines and Twitter streams. It’s your job to get your post title ready to perform like the champ it has the potential to be.
More on this: 15 Tips to Awesome, Eye-Jerking Post Titles
- You’ve shifted direction – Often throughout the life cycle of a blog, the author may choose to shift focus. Although this is most often a good thing as a writer matures and hones their abilities, it can often leave some longing for the content they originally signed up for.
- Your content is offensive – I’ve never met someone who is offended by folks who don’t swear or who don’t tell off-color jokes, but I have run into a lot of people who are offended by those who do those things. Play it safe and keep your content appropriate for as many audiences as possible.
- You’re not as helpful as they thought – I often sign up for updates from a site only to learn that the person I’m following isn’t nearly as authoritative, helpful, or informative as I had originally thought.
- You advertise in the feed too much – We all need to make money and we all understand that you’ll have to create a few inconveniences to your users to accomplish it. However, in the end, if you want to make some money from your efforts you’ll have to learn how to balance great content with a light amount of ads.
- Your content is too long – Most readers are working to consume as much information as possible and they’re quick to pass over your article if they see that it’s going to set them back a few extra minutes on their quest to get to the next post in their reader.
- Your feed isn’t loading right – Using Feedburner is a great way to optimize your feed, ensure that it’s not loading any errors and make it compatible for as many different readers as possible.
If you’re serious about increasing your subscribers then take these reasons seriously and take real action on them today. And if you’re looking for more great advice for improving your blog, be sure to check out Blogging to the Third Power.