When you create the blog for your blogged book, you must immediately create a way for readers to subscribe to your posts. Some readers prefer to follow your posts by showing up when they have time. Others want to receive posts in their email boxes so they don’t have to bother checking to see if you’ve published something new. Still others like to read your posts in syndicated fashion in a reader. You need offer all these choices.
Subscribers of any type allow you to track the popularity and growth of your blog. They indicate if you have an audience—and if that audience likes what you publish. The more subscribers you gain, the more successful your blog, your blogged book and your eventual published book.
Google Reader’s Demise Makes Choices Necessary
Yesterday, on July 1, 2013, one RSS subscription choice disappeared: Google Reader. This sent many bloggers into a frenzy as they worried about lost RSS blog readers and subscribers and tried to find ways to remedy the situation prior to Google Reader’s service discontinuation. Now, there are other ways for subscribers to read syndicated posts, such as Feedly, Live Bookmarks, Pulse.me, or Flipboard. In his post on this topic, Daniel Zeevi at Dashburst.com explains that RSS, known as Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication is “a family of feed formats used to publish frequently updated works like news articles and your blog entries. These RSS feeds benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically in a standardized XML file format that allows the information to be published once yet viewed by many other different programs.”
I’m no expert on this whole loss of Google Reader problem and how it might affect your current subscribers or your subscribers in the future, though. If you want to learn more about the Google Reader/Feedburner issue, I suggest you read MaAnna Stephenson’s post on the topic. Caleb Wojcik also has a post worth reading.
I did nothing to retain my Google Reader subscribers. I had heard more about the loss of Feedburner, another Google service, and I was focused upon that.
Retain Your Email Subscribers
I can tell you that after reading the three posts I’ve mentioned, though, I was confused. I’m not sure I can do anything about my Google Reader subscribers; I assume if they really want to read my posts, they’ll find another way to subscribe—or I hope so.
Here’s what I do know: Experts continue to speculate about the eventual demise of Feedburner, which provides blog readers with a way to choose email subscriptions or RSS feeds, and this concerned me enough to start exploring how to import my Feedburner email subscribers into my email provider list at Aweber. I’ve created new blog broadcasts there to provide subscribers with the same basic service and they now receive a post each time it is published. (I’ve been asking readers to subscribe to posts there for several months. See below.)
I will likely import my Feedburner subscribers into Aweber, and switch my Feedburner service over to Feedblitz, which unfortunately is a paid service. Feedburner was free. But that’s the problem with free services; they can disappear. And the fact that Google simply took away Google Reader means it could take away Feedburner, too. I won’t have Feedblitz collect email addresses, though; I’ll collect them through Aweber and provide the blog broadcasts into subscribers email boxes myself.
How Will Your Readers Subscribe?
If you are just setting up your blog for your blogged book, lucky you! You can make some choices that will save you time and effort later based on what you now know and see happening. I suggest you:
- Use Feedblitz from the beginning to manage your RSS feeds.
- Open an account with an email provider like Aweber and create a list there for email blog subscribers; this allows you to also contact those subscribers with email or a newsletter.
- Turn off the email subscription function on Feedblitz so readers only have the choice to subscribe to emailed posts via your email provider.
Of course, don’t just take my advice, since I am not an authority on this topic (as mentioned). I’m basing my advice (and my own decisions) on that of the experts I trust. Read the blog posts I’ve provided and do your due diligence by researching other options. But don’t just do what has always been done before. In this case, that is definitely not the best choice.
Do make a choice about how to provide your readers with subscription options. Your list of subscribers represents one aspect of author platform. You want it to grow just like your unique visitors. It shows that readers like your content enough to want to be notified each time you publish a post.