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Increase Your RSS Subscriptions with RSS by Email

written by John Chow on October 8, 2007

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As part of my competition with Shoemoney over who can get the most new RSS subscribers in a month, I’ve been experimenting with various ways to boost my RSS count. I’m hoping all the methods I’m employing will not only help me win this competition but it will also allow me to share the information with you so you can use it to increase your subscriber base. One of the more successful methods I’ve tried so far has been to offer RSS by Email. Since I turned this option on three days ago, I’ve picked up 119 new subscribers.

What Is RSS by Email?

RSS by Email is a feature of FeedBurner. Instead of a reader subscribing to your RSS using a feed reader like Google Reader, they subscribe using their email address. Any new posts published will then be sent directly to the reader’s inbox. It’s a very convenient way for readers to subscribe.


To access RSS by Email, go to the Publicize tab of your FeedBurner control panel and activate Email Subscriptions. Once activated, you’ll be given customization options like subscription management, communication preferences, Email branding and delivery options.

Customizable Sign Up Box

Enter your email address:

FeedBurner gives you the codes to add a RSS by Email subscription box on your blog. If you do not have a place for the subscription form, FeedBurner allows you to link directly to a subscription box.

The sign up box is completely customizable. You can see how I’ve integrated it by looking under “subscribe to John Chow dot Com” at the top right of this blog. I placed the sign up box directly under the RSS button.

Getting Unconfirmed Subscribers To Confirm

Before FeedBurner delivers your RSS by Email, a reader must first verify their subscription. If they don’t, then they will never receive a single Email. I’m happy to report that I have only ten unverified subscribers. However, many blogs have upwards of 50% unverified and sending everyone a friendly email to verify their subscription can be a tedious task.

To make things easier you can try the Notify Unconfirmed Subscribers WordPress Plugin by Techie Buzz. This plugin will send a personalized email to all unconfirmed subscribers asking them to verify their subscriptions. It’s very important to get everyone to verify their RSS by Email subscription because if they don’t, they don’t get counted toward your RSS total. If you’re one of the ten readers who have yet to verify your subscription, then please do so now.

I believe RSS by Email is going to be a key factor in my battle with Shoemoney. If you haven’t added it to your blog, you should. Offering more subscription choices can only help you get more RSS subscribers.

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Ritu October 8, 2007 at 5:32 pm

It also makes it easier to contact your subscribers directly through their email address if you have some thing going on, like the contest with shoemoney as in John Chow.com

baloot inc October 9, 2007 at 8:53 am

yeah.. sure..

but my blog subscribers only 30-50 only..
damn it..

Garry Conn October 10, 2007 at 6:51 pm

RSS by email is a solid way to go. I have seen a big increase in my numbers over the last few days by offering the email subscription service.

Good luck with the competition John.

Wahlau.NET October 11, 2007 at 12:03 am

yup…this way jc can sell more stuff via email and blog

SEO Optimization October 8, 2007 at 6:15 pm

The email subscription is just one sweet feature feedburner has released, if now they could just give you the ability to specify after how many posts you want an email to be delivered would be even better (for those that like to subscribe by email to several blogs).

Rob Schultz October 8, 2007 at 6:19 pm

A good idea…until you started posting about RSS, I was completely ignorant to just how many people didn’t know what it was. I’d love to see a breakdown of your subscription at the end of this competition alongside a timeline of your blog posts. It’d be really interesting to see just how your posts helped…thoughts?

Chris Jacobson October 8, 2007 at 6:24 pm

I’ve noticed this method has worked for me too. That plugin is great – I installed it last week. Too bad it couldn’t let you know automatically about non-confirmed subscribers without having to check it.

Click for NIck October 8, 2007 at 6:25 pm

Yeah I am sure you will win… I signed up for the RSS and told all my friends to sign up. I might even add a signup for your RSS on my blog http://www.clickfornick.com : :mrgreen:

Luke October 8, 2007 at 6:27 pm

I use this on my post and I find if I have a good traffic day I automatically gain subscribers. Good stuff John.

Cash Quests October 8, 2007 at 6:29 pm

I wonder if continually writing about RSS actually increases subscribers? With the amount of posts about RSS this week, if you subscribed you’d just be subscribing to more posts about how should subscribe.

lyricsreg October 8, 2007 at 11:28 pm

Ha ha … How many would you post if you could win a link from shoemoney ? :grin:

bob cobb October 8, 2007 at 6:29 pm

I wish they sent out emails more than once a day.

LeGo October 9, 2007 at 11:02 am


soccer dvd October 9, 2007 at 10:14 pm

for me sent email wise i wish its not once a day, its turning into spam if the blogger updates daily

why not get a reader, that would be a better option?

Neil Duckett October 8, 2007 at 7:40 pm

Emails only going out at 1 pre configured time per day is my only complaint, other than that it’s a great tool.

Etienne Teo October 8, 2007 at 8:06 pm

email or rss, i come here daily..rain or shine..lol~ :mrgreen:

max October 8, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Oh yeah, this is a great idea, I did this too for http://bedzine.com/blog . I don’t know the effects of it but a lot of people still do like the e-zines via e-mail over RSS. Heck, 90% of the population probably still has no idea what RSS means.

AsiaPartTime October 8, 2007 at 11:01 pm

This feature is there since i join Feedburner. You are too late to notice it :P

Blog Contests October 8, 2007 at 11:07 pm

Already running it, every blog should be

Making The Money October 8, 2007 at 11:38 pm

I used e-mail subscription from day one, if you the publisher is looking for a little bit more flexibility in how your content is delivered via e-mail then Zookoda is worth a try.

Starfeeder October 8, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Cool, trying this out…

Home Recording October 9, 2007 at 5:44 am

It is critical that verification is done. The route advised is good and worth following.

Liberty and New Creation October 9, 2007 at 5:47 am

Email subscribers don’t seem to be as fickle as normal RSS either. Your total number will stay more consistent the more email subscribers you have.

Richard Miller October 9, 2007 at 7:27 am

Don’t the recipients find these kind of offers intrusive?

soccer dvd October 9, 2007 at 9:54 pm

the thing is, if you update daily, your user will have emails sent daily and some might find it as spam

if only feedburner have the to option to send emails on a weekly or fortnight basis

Poker October 10, 2007 at 4:36 am

@Soccer DVD: you are right. I would like that option too, nice request going to Feedburner:)!