What does “subscribe” mean?
How to increase your blog subscription rate by 254% suggests you shouldn’t use the word “subscribe” to entice people towards your RSS feed.
Bloggers are used to the word and know what it means, especially when accompanied by an orange icon with two curves and a dot. How many other people understand it? Tech-savy people probably have no problem with the concept of RSS, even if they don’t blog (oh dear, it seems “blog” has become a verb now!). Unless you’re writing for nerds, what good is their knowledge to you (or your readers)?
The dictionary on my MacBook says that subscribe means to
arrange to receive something regularly, typically a publication, by paying in advance.
RSS feeds are similar to traditional subscriptions…
A good way to understand RSS feeds is to think about how magazine subscriptions work: rather than having to frequently visit the newsstand to check for a new issue of your favorite magazine, you can just subscribe to it and sit back and wait for the new issues to come to you.
From Library 2.Oakton
RSS is free
Yet, RSS feeds are different too. You don’t need to pay in advance… or at all.
When I first saw “Subscribe for free” on Logo Design Love. I thought it was a bit weird, but now that I realise there’s an association with subscriptions costing money, it makes perfect sense.
I’ve changed my link to say “Free updates” (pretty much all I could fit on without changing the font size). Feel free to suggest phrasings that are even simpler, or self-explanatory. I’ve also introduced email subscriptions through FeedBurner; for those who don’t use an RSS fetcher or reader.
Why you would use an RSS reader
Do you have sites that you seem to come across regularly in your searches? Do you see sites and think “Ooh, I’ll have to remember that one.”? Do you have an enormous list of bookmarks that you get lost wading through?
Even if the answers are no to those questions, you’ll probably benefit from using a feed reader. RSS isn’t only for blogs, it’s available for news sites, forums and any other site that offers it. Since using a feed reader I’ve been able to keep track of news headlines, tech news, as well as all my favourite blogs and the blogs I kinda like… and the blogs that I’m testing out to see if I like them.
Feed readers save time by alerting you when a site is updated, and save you the disappointment of visiting a site only to find it hasn’t been updated. I’ve also learnt an enormous amount, about a whole range of topics by following a bunch of different blogs. It’s pretty sweet.