RSS: Make your Feed Link Obvious

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With the advent of new browsers, I was not too concerned about putting my RSS link within the content of my site. I’m starting to rethink that.

If you weren’t already aware, these new browsers can automatically detect an RSS feed as long as it’s identified within the header of the page. Clicking on the RSS symbol results in you ‘subscribing to that feed’ via your browser. So when you select the feed in your browser, you’ll be met with the list of active stories available via the feed.

Within the header of my site, I have the following code:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="" />

The browser automatically sees that code and provides an indicator that the feed can be subscribed to:
RSS Feed

Prior to the release of Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft met with the other browser developers and they decided that the universal symbol for RSS would be RSS.

For the last 6 months, I’ve relied on my internal RSS reference for folks to subscribe to my feed. However, I recently did a test where I put an RSS link in the footer of all of my pages. Guess what? Within a couple days my feed subscriptions have jumped about 20%! (I use FeedPress to track).

I realize this isn’t very scientific, but I’d recommend that readers have their RSS feed link clearly identified and available to your readers who utilize other tools that don’t automatically detect the link through your header code.


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    Another reason to do that: sometimes readers want to link to your subscription. When I read someone that I want to subscribe to, I’ll often include them in my links for the day with the note (Subscribed) linked to their feed. In Firefox 2 I have feeds configured to go directly to FeedDemon, so if you don’t have a link on the page that I can right-click and copy the link, then I have to View Source to get it.

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    That is how I subscribed to your blog via the RSS icon at the bottom. I never pay attention to what the indicators in a browser addressbar maybe but rather when using a browser; which isn’t very often, I always look for the Icon.

    another thing to remember as well is not everyone will come to your blog via a browser. Some will come via links in their non-browser RSS clients and very rarely will the builtin browsers of the client detect this way …

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    It was the RSS icon link I used to subscribe with – as I never pay attention to the addressbar for this plus I very rarely subscribe via a browser.

    I live in my RSS reader and as such all my links are basically found and added that way and very few stand alone RSS client have that type of feature.

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    Thanks for this post. I was discussing this topic with another blogger last month and I always wondered where was the best place to put a subscribe button. Currently on my site I only have the RSS icon in the browser address bar and footer, but I think one in the sidebar or header would be useful too, based on the comments I’ve read here.

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