Should You Work on Building Your Email or RSS List?


The above Twitter question from Lyndon Reid is one that I get asked quite often. Bloggers are always wondering if they should concentrate on building their RSS subscriber base or their newsletter list. We all know that a large email list is worth big money, but displaying a big number on your FeedBurner chicket is great social proof.

If I had to make a choice between email or RSS, I would pick email every time. There is just so much more you can do with email that you can’t do with RSS. Your RSS just rebroadcasts your blog posts. You can’t use it to send out notices and special offers and you certainly can’t make $4,000 in a single day with it. Fortunately, you do not have to choose between email or RSS. There is a way to do both at the same time.

The Aweber Blog Broadcast

One of the coolest feature of Aweber is it allows you to build your email and RSS subscription at the same time. You do this with the Aweber Blog Broadcast feature. A blog broadcast is a fast and easy way to create content for your newsletter. What it does is allows Aweber to take the contents of your RSS feed and turn it into a newsletter that summarizes the past few days of posts that was written on your blog.

The really neat thing about the blog broadcast is it will increase the RSS counter on your FeedBurner chicklet. This is because Aweber reports subscription information to FeedBurner. So, if you have a mailing list of say 1,000 readers, setting up blog broadcast in Aweber will increase your FeedBurner RSS counter by an additional 1,000. Of the 50,000 RSS readers displayed on my FeedBurner chicket, 18,000 of them are from Aweber.

With Aweber Blog Broadcast, you don’t have to worry about whether you should concentrate on email or RSS. Just get your readers to subscribe to your newsletter, turn on the blog broadcast feature and your RSS number will increase with your newsletter number. Below is a screen cast on how to do an Aweber Blog Broadcast.

Set Up Your Aweber Mailing List Here

48 thoughts on “Should You Work on Building Your Email or RSS List?”

  1. Farrhad A says:

    This is a question i too keep thinking of.
    Now I am definitely going in for awber.

  2. Pheak Tol says:

    Im only a few months into actual blogging, but i’ve been doing other means of generating online income (though its nothing like yours, not even close)

    i’ve also found out that an email list is far more benifitial than RSS. of course one is because you’re able to generate a better income. so my choice is the email list as well

  3. Nice post John. I never know Aweber can help to increase our feedburner count.

    1. fas says:

      But Aweber is kinda expensive. John how much do you pay per month for 50000 subscribers?

      1. Yes, and do you think it is better to start out with another service while your blog is smaller? I think most of my readers would benefit from a free service to start out..

        BlogTipsForBeginners’s last blog post: Why YOU Should Start A Blog – The Top 10 Reasons And 26 More

  4. with all the talk of email list building, is Aweber the only service to go with? It seems like the only one I hear about.

    1. John Chow says:

      It’s not the only one, but it’s the best. And they’re the only one who can increase your FeedBurner counter.

      1. Does Aweber have an easy way to port in email addresses from feedburner or other services if you have just signed up with aweber and you do not want to have to make all of your old subscribers double opt in again?

        1. John Chow says:

          No, any new list you upload, no matter where it comes from, must opt in again. This is a legal requirement of the canspam law. That’s why it’s best to go with Aweber from the get go.

          1. Agent 001 says:

            I want to use Aweber but I do not have a credit card. Is there any option for me?

          2. John Chow says:

            You’ll have to email Aweber and ask, but I think they only take credit cards.

  5. I like the email list better and encourage that on my site. I use Feedburner because it is easy but I may have to try Aweber. Any ideas on getting the email list to grow faster?

  6. Pete says:

    Emails are more effective than rss, hands down. Anybody can subscribe to your RSS, it takes those who are really interested in your content to give you their email address and subscribe to your newsletter, so of course they will be more receptive to any campaign you launch via newsletter vs. RSS campaigns.

    John Chow, now you need a follow-up (re)post to this — how to conduct a successful newsletter campaign! 🙂

  7. Tyler says:

    I looked at Aweber, and once i found out I’d have to spend money monthly, my readership isn’t that high to compensate for the monthly fee.

    It does look great though! Except for that when I signed up for John’s newsletter I kept receiving it twice….

  8. Ben Pei says:

    Yeah definitely a mailing list is much more profitable than an RSS. Its all within your control.

  9. Lyndon Reid is getting a lot of attention lately. I need to meet this guy… we’re in the same city! Hit me up.

  10. Karl Foxley says:

    I certainly agree, a list is the way to go. Having a combination is great but I’d concentrate on the list. Aweber is awesome and the features they include really take some beating (probably why in my opinion they have stepped ahead of other ESPs out there).



  11. EfitPedia says:

    thats great news

  12. Rhys Davies says:

    Wow John, What a useful blog post. I’ve not long started my blog but sure will start to use the information contained in this blog post.

  13. AHHH I knew it! I knew you wouldn’t just take a random message from a nobody on Twitter and just put it here 😛


  14. Melody says:

    So, I’m subscribed to plenty of different newsletters around the internet world, which all primarily use textual newsletters. I know some emails disable images but that doesn’t entirely keep me from wanting to make a visually appealing newsletter that stands out..So, would you vote against newsletters that include images?

    Opinions welcomed..

    1. John Chow says:

      Most everyone can accept HTML emails now. For some reason, email marketers keep the text only format because they think the internet hadn’t switch to HTML yet!

      1. Text only newsletters look so boring & generic.

  15. I didn’t know that Aweber feature. My list is very short so I am hosting in my own server for now. In few months I think I’ll have to transfer to other server and Aweber is a very nice possibility.

  16. To be honest with advertisers, you should report both on your Advertise page. Otherwise, an advertiser will think you have 50K RSS readers when In reality your have 32K and 18K aweber

    It’s small thing but the honest thing to do.

    1. John Chow says:

      50K is the right number. Those are RSS subscribers. They receive the RSS feed, just like they would if they sign up for the FeedBurner RSS by Email feature. This is the Aweber RSS by Email feature. If they don’t receive the RSS feed, then Aweber doesn’t report the number to FeedBurner.

  17. Matej says:

    I think that it depends on your blog niche. I really don’t have any idea why should I build email list in entertainment niche… To sell DVD’s on Amazon?

    1. John Chow says:

      How about to build traffic? 🙂

      1. Matej says:

        I have feedburner email subscriptions for that … works great , it’s automatic and FREE .

        I don’t want to pay Aweber money every month for that, if I can hardly profit

        1. John Chow says:

          Trying sending a newsletter with Feedburner. 🙂 I have over 4,000 people on the FeedBurner RSS by Email because I didn’t had Aweber at the time. That’s money lost to me.

          1. Matej says:

            Dude like you mentioned in the first reply, we are talking about traffic. And Feedburner does that for me – sends latest posts, every day, i get traffic.

            Aweber doesn’t do anything better, even worse because people usually send emails via Aweber 1 time / week or much less.

  18. Zander Boon says:


    Anyone got any views about Aweber vs Getresponse? Aweber seems very expensive if you’re not confident about how much revenue your list might generate.


  19. ron hekier says:

    The trick of doubling your feedburner subscriptions via AWeber is good to share. I figured that’s what Shoemoney did back when you guys had the subscribers competition. You were neck and neck and then he doubled his stats in the last day, LOL.

    1. John Chow says:

      No, he gamed Feedburner to get all those subs on the last day.

  20. I am with you John, I do prefer the mailing list over the feed count, even more not everyone signed by email they use RSS. They may take longer to check and will never know about your updates.

  21. Chris says:

    I’m still having trouble getting my links-especially footer email addresses-on my blog posts’ Blogger doesn’t seem to have and answer on how to make a link that isn’t a URL.

  22. Lyndon Reid says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the advice and link to my twitter profile. I am going to get FeedBurner setup today and get ready to roll wtih AWeber shortly (my blog is brand new, unindexed, and only has a couple of posts).

    Lyndon Reid

  23. Email list kills two birds with one stone.

  24. diabetic man says:

    aweber is very popular tools…with great result

  25. Merrill says:

    RSS list have the advantage of bein free…Aweber isn’t

  26. I’ve had a newsletter since the start of my site. Remember Listbot? That’s what I used to use years ago. I agree that a newsletter is way better than an RSS feed. However, I still provide both because there are some people that just care about the interviews & don’t want all the other hoo-haa.

  27. We can all it as a assets which you earned through your hard work for past years.

    This is reflecting your goodwill … I must say.

  28. I believe RSS is also great to have more aside from it being free.


  29. Mike says:

    Awesome post and video. I watched it when the post first went live, but really didn’t understand the use. However, rewatching this morning and it has my head spinning with ideas. Thank you.

  30. Farai says:

    Good post John. I would love if you do a review of Aweber Vs Getresponse.


    Farai’s last blog post: A glimpse at world Poverty Stats

  31. Trigunner says:

    Hi John,

    This is a very interesting and useful article. Specially for starters like me. You mentioned that when you sign-up for aweber users need to opt again. Does this mean that they have to subscribe to the news letter again even if they are already subscribed to feedburner?

    Thanks again

    Trigunner’s last blog post: Dr. Lawrence Kutner from The Right Stuff to Simple Explanation

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