How I Broke 31,000 RSS Readers

The blog hit another milestone today by breaking 31,000 RSS readers. Right now, the Feedburner counter shows 31,028. I really didn’t expect to hit 31,000 this fast. It was only 17 days ago when I wrote how I broke 29,000 RSS readers. At this rate of growth, I’ll pass 33,000 by the end of the month.

The Most Effective Way To Build Your RSS

Over the years, I’ve found many ways to increase my RSS readership base. However, one method has stood out heads and shoulders above the rest. Shoemoney started using it last month and went from 16,000 to over 21,000 readers in less than 20 days. The method works extremely well at getting new visitors to sign up to your blog. The system is based around incentive marketing. Here’s the step-by-step.

Create a Free eBook or Free Incentive

If your blog has been around for a while, chances are you have more than enough content to create an eBook out of it. Do you have any multi-part posts? Why not put them together into an easy to download eBook and offer it as an incentive for readers to subscribe to your blog?

My eBook, Make Money Online with John Chow dot Com, has been my best marketing tool to date. Not only does it increase my subscriber base but the book links back to my blog from every page so it’s a also a great source of traffic. Many readers who’s downloaded the eBook pass it around to their friends and that brings more visitors. The best part is, it didn’t cost me anything to produce. I just picked some of my best make money online posts and repackaged it.

If you don’t have enough content to create an eBook, you can use a free articles service to make one. However, I don’t recommend doing this because it doesn’t work as well from a marketing and branding standpoint. It’s always best to use your own content. You don’t really need that much content to create an eBook. I’ve seen eBooks as short as seven pages. Those are marketed as “Special Reports” and work just as well get getting readers to subscribe to your blog.

Sign Up for Aweber

After creating your eBook (or even before), the next step is to sign up for Aweber. Aweber is a newsletter and email marketing service. As a blogger, you’ll be interested in their blog broadcast feature. A blog broadcast allows Aweber to take the contents of your RSS feed and turn it into a newsletter that summarizes the past few days or posts that was written on your blog.

Here’s the key. Turning on blog broadcast adds all your newsletter subscribers to your FeedBurner counter because Aweber reports subscription information to FeedBurner. If you ask Shoe how many newsletter subscribers he has, you’ll find it’s surprisingly close to the amount of his recent RSS increase.

Use The eBook To Get Readers To Subscribe

The last part of the formula is to use your free eBook as an incentive to get readers to subscribe. My Aweber is set up so once a reader confirms their email account, it will send them the eBook.

This method works really well for non-tech readers. Many people still do not know what RSS is but will understand what a newsletter is. People who don’t know how to sign up to RSS will know how to enter their name and email to sign up for a newsletter.

How well does this method work? My newsletter subscription base accounts for 1/3 of my RSS readership. Make an eBook, sign up for Aweber, turn on blog broadcast and watch your FeedBurner counter go up.

82 thoughts on “How I Broke 31,000 RSS Readers”

  1. Nice growth John. Seems like all of the top guys are sending out E-Books now. I wonder what the next trend is going to be

      1. Way to go John. I hear 32,000 RSS readers by the end of next week!

        1. He should get a contest going for when he hits 50K. Let everyone guess and the winner gets some sweet freebie. :mrgreen:

        2. Abdul says:

          Ohh… I wonder how long its gonna go!

  2. joe gelb says:

    good point. I noticed even feedburners email submit is effective as well for suckering er I mean entising people to suscribe to my feed. If my feed was power like john chows I’d be a billionaire too . That is why I read daily to make some cash online.

    1. The email is the best option because as long as you post, it emails out the new post(s), and counts those emails as readers.

    2. Yeah. It is always easy to make money with that many subscribers. But the depth of the struggle is getting subscribers.

      1. Abdul says:

        Yeah … unless you already have a high income, which gets more subscribers, then you show that off and earn more, by showing off the new income you again get more subscribers and this cycle never stops until the last person on earth feels fishy about the whole thing! 💡

  3. Awesome! I’m working right now on making a little ebook with some helpful hints and tips Ive already found for finding a job.

    1. Steve,
      I would love to see that book. You could definitely target students in colleges who are searching for an internship or an entry level position in their field.

  4. Good job John. However, due to the law of large numbers it would be much easier for you to gain 1000 more visitors from 31,000 to 32,000 than to me from 4 to 1000 subscribers 🙂

    1. Steve Wong says:

      It grows exponentially 😐
      JC has passed through the struggling period like us 😆
      Congratulations !!!

    2. I’d say that’s where Aweber comes it looks like its a paid subscriber service. I wonder how well they do on the actual number of site visitors vs. subscribers. They look like they’ve got some pretty good features that I might have to test drive 😎

    3. Lex G says:

      Good point … It becomes easier whenever you already have a large amount of subscribers … Take this into account in order to choose you most effective methods …

      Lex G

    4. Vlad Balan says:

      You have to think about it in percents, dude 🙂 While John’s subscribers’ numbers grew by 3 percent, but you’re looking at a 25,000 percent growth, which is pretty high 😀

      1. Vlad,
        That’s exactly what I am saying. It all depends on your base.

        Best Regards,

        Online Dividends

        1. Abdul says:

          Getting your first 100 readers and then the next 1000 readers and so on. Every milestone is hard to cross, but once you do the rest is all simple!

  5. Rebecca says:

    Wow, that’s quite an impressive number of subscribers!
    I will start working on following those steps. I have aweber but need to go set up that blog broadcast!

  6. Naveen says:

    Cheers Man.. U can move upto 50k easily

    1. Abdul says:

      Yeah and unless this was Google’s blog he could move up to 450K EASILY! Google blog has a current subscriber base of 449K and thats a LOT!

  7. BlogSavvy says:

    Congratulations John, it did seem like it went pretty fast, tahnks for sharing the tip.

  8. Great formula! I’m already giving away a free ebook for those who join my mailing list, but I use a mailing list plugin rather than aweber. Wasn’t aware that they reported to feedburner. Looks like I might be changing soon.

  9. Vlad Balan says:

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply for all blogging domains. For example, my most important blog is a news blog, so pretty hard to do what you did. But I was thinking of getting someone to write an ebook for me…any idea where I could fine someone and how much would that cost (nothing extraordinary, just a regular ebook)?

  10. Yolanda says:

    Excellent post. I was thinking about this very concept last night. I’ve just started a blog and know that many family and friends do not know what an RSS feed is or how to use it. Using the aweber feature of turning into a newsletter allows for a bigger reader base especially for non-techies. Thanks. You just saved me some research time!!!

  11. SEO Genius says:

    Congratulations mate, i hope i can get to that point one day 🙂

    Good points too.

  12. Jake says:

    Solid method, mate. The only thing, I’m not that convinced is the blog broadcast feature. We bloggers – being more technically endowed (brave word) – follow RSS-feeds and having a rerun of old blog posts in my email is not my idea of readable content. Works much better with ol’school email readers.

  13. Nebraska SEO says:


    How does 31k RSS readers compare to your opt-in list driven by the free e-book? Also has the email list has a corresponding growth path to the RSS?

    I know things are seldom absolutely an either or situation, but would you prefer to have a large RSS reader base or your list of email subscribers? I think I know the answer, but I’d be interested in hearing your answer in terms of monetization.

    1. John Chow says:

      I would rather have a big email subscriber base. It’s a lot easier to monetize email than RSS.

      1. Nebraska SEO says:

        That’s what I thought.

        I have to imagine that the large RSS reader base is a definite selling point for on-site advertisers.

  14. Zac Johnson says:

    Awesome feat! Congratulations…. here comes 50k!

  15. Lawrence says:

    It’s not so much about RSS subscribers, per se…that’s an indirect to general website promotion

  16. Reed Floren says:

    Very impressive. I’m going to go learn some more about the blog broadcast feature in aweber I just found this on it

    this one might help too

    Comes at a great time for me since I just started my blog, so thank you 🙂

  17. Here is how you broke 31, 000: Smart, great gameplan, good marketing, and a do whatever it takes mentality.

  18. Well I’m still a small blogger, but a right contest and marketing can definitely increase your RSS feed count. It’s been weeks that I wanted to break even a 100 record. My last contest added about 30-50 new subscribers 🙂

    Haven’t had a thought of an e-book yet, though

  19. Ganesh says:

    Hey John. It would be nice if you offered a free John Chow t-shirt to a random reader of your blog. :mrgreen:

  20. Nice going, John. Good tips also. I’ve yet to try Aweber, but I keep hearing good things about it.

  21. Squeaky says:

    This is a very good post and I do see how an e-book could help get more RSS subscribers. I am close to one year for blogging experience and my Feedburner readers are very small, while my Feedcat readers are 12X over Feedburner. Still, can’t figure that one out.

    Thanks for the ideas…

  22. 100kjob says:

    Fantastic John, any prediction when you will surpass TechCrunch?

    1. John Chow says:

      I say another year. 😈

  23. chris says:

    Thank you john, it is so cool that you share your secrets with the public.

  24. says:

    I signed up snd tried aweber’s blog broadcast feature. It is a great feature but unfortunately Aweber does not handle foreign languages yet. does though.

    I will play with it a lit bit more to see if I can go around their restrictions.

    Thanks for great info.

  25. Rayni Rijke says:


  26. al says:

    thanks for the information…

  27. 100kjob says:

    sometimes its nice to have new source of income…

  28. says:

    Happy to hear that… 😎

  29. ian says:

    OK. I’ll make a free ebook. For the aweber, it is too expensive. I’m making my own aweber system, and hopefully can beat aweber in the future. 😀

    1. In my opinion AWeber is pretty reasonably priced for the service they provide.

      1. ian says:

        I just give standard service with lower price. At first targeting the non-pro user.

  30. Tyson says:

    Thanks for these tips… I guess it’s always easier to retain a returning ‘customer’ as compared to a new one.

  31. Great plan, John…I like the step by step approach. I notice you use aweber and feedburner subscriptions together. Is that just to give readers a preference, or is there more to it?

  32. AverageGal says:

    Congratulations! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and insight! I can’t wait to implement some of your ideas 🙂 I look forward to seeing bigger and better records!

  33. car blog says:

    John Chow become bigger and bigger..
    Congrats from me…

  34. AverageGal says:

    John, or any other member, have you ever ran a contest to increase RSS subscribers. For instance giving away a product or service for any one that signs up for RSS over the next 24 hours?

    1. John Chow says:

      Yes, I have done contests to promote my RSS. It works quite well.

    2. I like the idea of a contest . Do you give those who sign up a prize or some form of incentive?. . Also, has or does anyone read seth godin for any marketing ideas?

  35. AverageGal says:

    John or anyone for that matter, any idea why my Mybloglog photo shows up under recent readers in the footer but not next to my posts?

  36. John, this is a great idea you’re right.

    Just wanted to let everyone know that if you don’t want to write the book yourself you can also use public domain books or books under the creative commons license. Some of the best books ever written are now in the public domain.

    Here is an article I wrote on how to get them:

    I give away three of the top 10 books every written on how to build wealth on my site, and it has worked well:

    Think and Grow Rich
    The Way to Wealth by Ben Franklin
    The Richest Man In Babylon

    These are still top sellers on Amazon that people pay good money for, but it’s legal to give them away for free. In this case I think it has a higher perceived value than something I wrote myself.


  37. AverageGal says:

    Think and Grow Rich is a good read. I’d recommend that one as well.

  38. Congrats John. You will surpass Tech Crunch if you continue to get RSS subscribers at this rate.

  39. dede says:

    John, you know something…I started blogging after i read one of your article about making money through internet/blog. I have no background on wed thing. so i just try learn from other sites. Of course, the reason why i do blogging because i need extra money. How to speed up to earn money, even small amount to start? FYI, i start blogging since jan 08. Thanks and regards

  40. Great job John!
    You ve got more readers than my hometown inhabitants has

    Greetings from Switzerland

  41. Congratulations John on reaching such a milestone, let’s see if it will be at 50,000 by Christmas :mrgreen:

  42. titan says:

    i also do this idea at my blog. Its work. but i don’t know when it will reach 31k subsriber. Huhu.. :mrgreen:

  43. gLENN says:

    very impressive john.. your site loads very fast now. congrats to the 31K subscribers.. count me in 😉

  44. Hussein says:

    I can;t see 31k subscribers but instead 32k+ HAHA. Great job How I wish my subscriber count is also like that :))

  45. Ganesh says:

    Its become impossible to accurately know the number of subscribers with Feedburner. Feedburner’s messing up, real bad.

    One day, the stats show 30 readers and the next day 10.

  46. Thanks for the info. WIll start doing this right away. Well after I create the ebook. Great post.

  47. Keron Calame says:

    Gonna try exactly what u said, if it doesn’t i am planning a bomb on ur site! oh this isn’t an airplane lol Just kidding y’all John Chow U R the man, i hope i will meet you when i visit Canada

  48. As soon as I get enough content..the book will be great

  49. Tushar Dhoot says:

    Wow John, you’re almost at 33K now, only 15 days later.

  50. ahmike says:

    This is Awesome , John!

  51. Jagadish says:

    I downloaded the e-book, adopted you as the Guru and I’ve decided to try and implement everything you say and see how best a site can be monetized.

  52. at the time i m posting the comment you have already surpassed 32200 readers. congrats for that john.

    Anyways why dont you think of posting out a new ebook on google adsense. i want to really monetize up my blog.

  53. mohan says:

    your subscriber Count made me weird ….

  54. DNfer says:

    Congrads John!!
    my way of setting targets is acheive double of what is now in three months. Im fine with it as I am dealing with very small numbers 🙂
    but anyways I can see you crossing half a hundred thousand mark very soon

  55. jobucks says:

    Yeah, thats a very good idea to increase our readership, I will apply that tips sooner as soon as I have alluring content in my blog, i just only set-up my blog yesterday and it has many more things to do with the installation, yes aweber is the best the industry but their monthly subscription fee is quite big

  56. Well done John, the next goal then would be to brake the 50,000 readership!

Comments are closed.