Video: RSS in Plain English

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I wonder how much a video is worth? It’s neat timing that Gary posted about RSS just as I was looking to do the same thing. Since he beat me to it, I figure I will try to one up him with this video that explains RSS in plain English.

As hard it maybe to believe, a large percentage of blog readers do not know what RSS is. If you can educated these readers to the advantages of using RSS, you stand a much greater chance of getting them to subscribe and increasing your RSS count. This video does a great job at that. As a matter of fact, I may add a “What is RSS?” link under my RSS button and link to this post. There’s another idea to increase RSS subscription.

Why The RSS Subscription Number Changes Everyday

RSS Counter

Every wonder why the RSS number changes everyday? Yesterday, the number was 9,135 and today it’s 8,863. Have that many people subscribed and then unsubscribed to the blog in one day? The answer is no.

The FeedBurner chicklet represents the number of people who read your blog with some kind of RSS reader in a 24 hour period. Subscribers is inferred from an analysis of the many different feed readers and aggregators (including RSS by Email) that retrieve this feed daily. Subscribers is not computed for browsers and bots that access the feed.

The number goes up and down because not everyone checks their RSS readers on a daily basis. The number generally goes down on weekends because people are out shopping/playing/doing whatever instead of being on the computer. A decrease in the number does not mean readers have unsubscribed from your feed. It just mean not as many readers accessed the feed that day.

In order for me to win this RSS competition with Shoemoney, not only do I need to get new readers to subscribe to my feed, I need them to check the feed everyday in order for them to be counted. I can get 100,000 people to subscribe to my feed but if those people don’t check the feed again within a 24 hour period, the feed counter goes to zero.

Now that you know how to counter works, please check my feed everyday! 😈

56 thoughts on “Video: RSS in Plain English”

  1. Thanks John, great info and video here. I had been wondering why the feed counts fluctuated like they do. Good luck with the contest!

    1. Turk Hit Box says:

      Same here, thanks for the info on the fluctuation

      1. DeboHobo says:

        Sounds like someone is begging. John are you begging for readers? 👿

        1. Googlelady says:

          with such competition I guess so 😆

    2. Wahlau.NET says:

      pretty cool explanation…..good time for you to blog about this for your competition

  2. S George says:

    I certainly disagree with John that the RSS count displayed on the blog is the number of people who visited the blog in the last 24 hours. The RSS count displayed on the blog is the number of subscribers to the blog and is not the number of visitors who have subscribed to the blog.

    When RSS is subscribed the bookmark appears on the browser. But when the visitor deletes the bookmark the count on the site reduces.

    1. What about those that use Outlook or some other program? I would think the RSS count would fluctuate depending if the reader pings the RSS server to retrieve new messages on those non-browser programs.

      1. Garry Conn says:

        First time I saw that video I thought it was great! Notice he said 50 million.. I think its up to 110 million now. 🙂

    2. John Chow says:

      I didn’t say the number is is the number of people who visited your blog in the past 24 hours. I said it’s the number of people who read your blog with some kind of RSS reader in the past 24 hours. They don’t need to visit your blog.

      When RSS is subscribed the bookmark appears on the browser. But when the visitor deletes the bookmark the count on the site reduces.

      That is incorrect. Someone can subscribe but if they never check your feed again, they won’t be counted, even if they haven’t unsubscribed.

      You can read how FeedBurner does its count here:

      1. S George says:

        There is a simple explanation for the fluctuation. Feedburner delivers your feed to a myriad of RSS readers. There are basically two types of RSS readers: web-based readers like Bloglines or MyYahoo and on-demand readers like FireFox Live Bookmarks. The web-based readers will pull your feed whether the subscriber opens his reader page or not, hence why the feed count for web-based readers is stable over the time. On-demand readers, however, will only be counted if the user actually accesses the feed on a particular day.

        1. Ades says:

          That makes sense!

    3. Googlelady says:

      RSS count when someone read your RSS not blog *JC mentioned already*

  3. Good info, I have actually learned something new from it – Thanks John!

    😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆 😆

  4. Yeah the numbers do fluctuate but it shouldn’t matter really because any fluctuations that are caused by somebody not opening up their reader for a day will be fixed the next time they do. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it will matter much!

  5. goldfries says:

    For web-based readers, I’d say NetVibes is easy to use. (yes, with a step-by-step guide on my post about RSS posted a week ago).

    Nowadays browsers like Opera, Safari, Firefox and E-mail clients like Thunderbird all have RSS subscription features.

  6. krillz says:

    I laughed when I saw the screenshots printed out… I bet he’ll get green peace after him for wasting trees hahah 😆

  7. Mubin says:

    Too. Much. RSS. Must. Stop. Talking. About. RSS. Why OH WHY!

    1. lyricsreg says:

      Ha ha … it’s that time of the year 🙂

  8. Alan says:

    Thank you john that answered a few of my questions from the previous post! I will take this all in when I launch my blog in the coming months 😉

  9. Kalle says:

    Hahaha 😀 You’re aiming high I see..

  10. donalyza says:

    I certainly DISAGREE on this JOHN CHOW! I have another site that no one knows it except me. I didn’t allow that site to be visible to everyone, including search engines such as Google. But I created a feed address for that. I have 4 emails that I don’t normally use and none of them is using or is integrated to RSS reader. Ever since I subscribed to that feed. I still have 4 subscribers, from the start up until now.

    1. Missylicious says:

      It could be bot or spiders that crawls your site for updated posts.

      1. donalyza says:

        So you’re saying i subscribed using my 4 emails and it showed 4 subscribers and those subscribers are bots only and not my subscription? :mrgreen: Is that coincidence? I don’t think so. 😆 I’ll subscribe again. I’ll see if it will increase tom.

        1. donalyza says:

          Updated: Hi I subscribed to my other site and when I checked my feedburner. It shows 5 subscribers…

  11. Neil Duckett says:

    Well worth posting on this for both the explanation of what RSS is and the fluctuation and way the number is calculated.

  12. mubin says:

    what I want to know is this; you said gary posted before you had a chance to, does that mean your guest bloggers re given carte blanche on when they can post, and what about? or did you just see an opening for another post about rss? 🙂

    1. John Chow says:

      Guest bloggers can blog about whatever they want.

      1. Googlelady says:

        and you approve them 😉

        1. The question is, has he given them enough access to publish posts without proper approval of admin, which I believe he has done to some of his trusted guest posters.

  13. ppnow says:

    may i submit this post to ?

    thanks. 😐

  14. Etienne Teo says:

    very strange indeed, i notice that everyone will commence the drop, and when it rises, everyone will get the rise..

  15. You are right – it is hard to believe bloggers don’t know what RSS is

  16. Dandruff says:

    Very nice video John. I always had doubts about what is RSS and surely after looking at the video all my doubts are cleared.

  17. RelaxMax says:

    Now I get it. That’s not so hard!

  18. tonyinabox says:

    The trick is,, if the reader use Google desktop or some kind of readers that fetch the rss feed every time when visit the site, that count too.

    maybe you can encourage your readers to install some new rss reader gadget in their google desktop. 😛

  19. Rookie says:

    So what!!!.. This is another piece of crap. I dont know all over the blog i see craps all around and i dont understand why people read craps. This is like showing off and forgetting the good knowledge we need to learn about making money on the internet???!!! Stop crapping

      1. Googlelady says:

        You have to stop being rude to win the competition this use has a good point of view but his/her way to write is a little bit “stupid”. I mean, if you want to increase your RSS stop “begging” and start posting some interesting (what your readers want) posts. Like what he said “make money online” you know most of your readers want to read about “make money online” and is because you promoted it in that way you made your readers believe in your “making money online” and not other topics. I am sure that if you don’t post about “make money online” in two months your RSS readers will lose interest.

        My suggestion is to stop posting about RSS and make some good post (like in the past remember?) about making money online (unfortunetly this is why your readers (some or the majority) comes to Johnchow dot com)

      2. Mubin says:

        Exactly to you don’t like what the Chow has to say than back the heck off, no one is forcing you to read.

        1. Googlelady says:

          Mubin, I think you miss understood what I meant. I said “Some or the majority” and if you follow my comments I wrote also that I like to read chow adventures 😉 I came to Johnchow not because the “make money online” but because his style to write I enjoy it, and I know there are many bloggers out there better than Chow in the topic of “make money online”

  20. max says:

    Oh yeah, this is a good video on RSS. I saw this on Google blog couple weeks ago. 🙂

    1. Israel says:

      yeah i saw this too a few weeks ago.

  21. Michael says:

    Stop Crapping
    Stop Reading
    Stop Blogging
    Stop Blinking
    Stop Breathing
    …and then you’re dead! :mrgreen:

    1. max says:

      Hmm…i think i am going to go hit my bong now…


      1. krillz says:

        That got me thinking of Peter russel’s stand up, Tap som bong. That cracked me up what a name to have 😆

    2. lyricsreg says:

      WHAT ?
      Stop Blogging ?? No way, no how 😀

  22. You have just made one ignorant blogger less ignorant. That is a very nice and simple to follow video. Thanks.

    1. Israel says:

      it wasnt his video, its some one elses video.

  23. maurizio says:

    check my blog to have a daily situation about the competition between John Chow and Shoemoney. Right now John is ahead!
    (actually let’s say he’s losing less than Shoe. But it’s just Monday so we need to wait tomorrow to see “real” numbers)

    You can actually take the code from it and put it in your blog if you wish. It’s just a line of javascript that read an html file on my server.

  24. MadDump says:

    Hey John 😉
    You should encourage people that subscribe to your RSS to use it on there iGoogle homepage if they already don’t, you will more likely get a a read when they open there homepage 😈
    (That’s if they use iGoogle anywhoo 😛 )

  25. this was a really good explanation on how RSS works.

  26. darwin says:

    nice post but i still dont know what the function of rss
    thank man

  27. I have to say I disagree with your description on why the RSS subscriber number fluctuates. I was under the impression this is only the number of people who are subscribed to your feed – not the number of people who are reading it. The number of people reading it is referred to as the ‘Reach’ – this is a separate statistic available when you log into your Feedburner account.

    – Martin Reed

  28. Scott says:

    I had seen that video a few times before but it is a good explanation of the rss basics, and it is especially good to send to those who know nothing about it.

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