Friday, April 21, 2006

Blogging About Blogging LXXXIII

Since I got my new laptop, I've fallen out of the habit of keeping up with the blogs and RSS feeds I used to follow regularly. So I just bought NetNewsWire for this machine and spent some time over the last few days subscribing to the feeds for the Fast Company Now blogroll.

To be true, I was surprised how difficult it was to find the feed links for many of the blogs. Very few had auto-discoverable feeds off the blog URL, and while many used orange RSS and XML icons near the top of their pages, many did not -- and there were many variations for lower placements. Some had the icons way down low. And some used plain text feed links. Those were especially hard to find.

So, some tips for making your feeds findable:

  • Use RSS icons, not text links.
  • Use the standard orange-style RSS icons.
  • Keep RSS icons near the top. Don't make people scroll way down low to find your feeds.
  • I'm not sure you need to offer every kind of RSS flavor. Don't overwhelm or confuse with choices people don't need.
  • Consider using Feedburner. I know I don't -- yet. But those seemed to be among the easiest to find and use.
  • Realize that many people don't know what RSS is yet. I don't recommend you go as simple as saying "Syndicate this feed," but consider pairing the traditional icon with auxiliary language like that -- or a "What is this?" link.
  • If you do the latter, consider linking to an explanatory page like that offered by FC Now (I wrote this, so I'm biased; it might not be the best) or the What Is Rss? lens in Squidoo.

This is all off the top of my head, so if you have better or additional ideas, be sure to let me know.

[Published while drinking coffee and listening to James Brown at Gorilla Coffee, which seems like my kind of place.]

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