Okay, I’ve heard a ton of people writing about the importance of gathering RSS subscribers on your blog in addition to email subscribers. I agree… both are hugely important and each have their own pros and cons.
However, have you ever wondered how many RSS subscribers a website has? Yes, of course many sites have the Feeburner icon that shows you exactly how many people are subscribed to their feed.
For instance, here are some popular RSS feed counts from bloggers you know that list their RSS feed stats on their websites (as of 8/16):
- John Chow: 28,102
- Shoemoney: 16,585
- Problogger: 50,590
- Tyler Cruz: 1,679
- Zac Johnson: 3,623
However, for those of us who are curious… we tend to want to know even more when a website hides their RSS reader count from the world. It’s that whole thing that we feel cooler when we know something that most other poeple don’t know.
Here’s How To Find Hidden Feedburner RSS Readerships
Want to find out what the RSS readership is for ANY website using Feedburner? Simple… head over to Feedcompare.com and give it a go.
For instance, I’ve always been curious (as have a ton of other people) about how many RSS readers Seth Godin has. Seth doesn’t openly publish his feed count… why, I’m not sure. Maybe he wants to be the “purple cow” and stand out by going against the grain (which is a good strategy). Or… maybe it’s the idea that if he doesn’t publish it that people (like me) will wonder… and come to conclusions on how many RSS readers they THINK he has. Who knows… maybe he really doesn’t care about it and hasn’t given it much thought. Anyhow, I was curious so I headed over to feedcompare.com and typed in Seths RSS feed address… here’s what I got:
As of 8/13, Seth has 290,440 RSS subscribers… not too shabby at all… especially for a marketing blog. You’ll see tech, celebrity, or political blogs well up into the high 6 or low 7 figures… but for a marketing blog that is stellar.
However, I was somewhat disappointed because for some reason I was thinking that Seth has much more RSS readers than that… I was expecting upwards of 400k. That’s one reason leaving it a mystery can be a good thing… people will often estimate higher than the actual number giving you a “boost” in the mind of the reader.
How You Can Use This Tool For Your Online Biz
While looking at peoples RSS readership stats is fun (for about 5 minutes)… it’s really just a novelty unless you use it to help you build your own business. Here are a few ways you can use feedcompare.com for good… rather than from a voyeuristic standpoint:
- Track the RSS readership trend of your competitors:
From this you can see if your competition is growing, staying stagnant, or declining. Then, you can head over to their website and match up the content they post with spikes and valleys in the RSS trend line. Also, if your competition is on a heavy upward trend… study their website to see why… and also leave comments on their blog to drive traffic back to your site.
- Compare your feed and/or the feeds of your competitors:
With feedcompare.com you can compare up to 4 feeds on the same graph. This is pretty cool if you want to see right there on the screen how you are doing against your competitors. If you both have spikes and/or valleys in readership at the same time… you should then look at the news/market to find out why. Sometimes the spikes/valleys can simply be a glitch in Feedburner… but often you can get great market intelligence out of these anomalies so you can better prepare for the future.
- See what days people are reading your content via RSS the most:
I think this one is huge… and it is pretty darn interesting too. Just like with email, people tend to read RSS more on some days of the week than others. In email marketing Tuesdays and Thursdays have traditionally been the best times to send out emails because email open rates are better. There are several reasons for this… but in essence, on Tuesday people have had a chance to get back in “work mode” and cleared out their inbox from the weekend… on Thursday people try to get their email inbox cleared out before they head off for the weekend on Friday.
Looking for Trends
I was looking at the RSS stats for Shoemoney and he has the highest RSS readership on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well… with Friday and Saturday being the lowest days. You can see that he has a spike on 7/29 which is a Tuesday. The next spike is on 8/5 which is also a Tuesday, and yet the last spike on the chart (actually it’s not on this one… I accidentally cut it off), is on 8/12… yet another Tuesday. As for the huge valley in the middle… that’s on a Friday.
By reading this you can see that the most important content should be posted on Tuesdays to increase the readership of the content. Knowing your market is a vital part of running a successful blog or website. Head over to feedcompare.com and check out your chart and the charts of your competitors. Then, use that information to get more mileage with your articles and to see what your competitors are doing right. A bit of legwork does magic!