Blogging Tips from The RSS Blog

Album Cover: Kid A

"We got heads on sticks. You got ventriloquists."
Radiohead / Kid A

Posted on December 28, 2006 12:29 AM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

A couple months ago I was getting quite a bit of traffic from an article at The RSS Blog titled Top 10 Mistakes Made by My Blogging Friends, which was linking back to one of my posts on Google Juice. Curiosity got the best of me, so I read the entire article. I had some thoughts on several of the points made in the article, so I figured I'd jot them down here:

Forfeiting Google Juice
I think the 301 Permanent Redirect option is a bit understated here. If you really care about your Google Juice, put in the extra research and put redirects in place. Relying on an h1 link seems too old school to me, and definitely too risky.

Forfeiting Your RSS Feed
Redirecting your feed may be a nightmare, but it really depends on how well you did your research. It is most certainly not impossible. Redirecting your feed is just as simple as redirecting individual blog posts, your entire blog, etc. Again, this is worth the effort, especially if you have a lot of people who rely on your web feed as consumers of your content. I'm still a bit bewildered why Robert Scoble never did this with his original web feed. Instead, he seemed to take the old school approach.

Invalid RSS Feeds
This is an important one. I remember there was a period of time where Ryan's web feed was down for several weeks. I just assumed he wasn't posting anything. Eventually I dropped by his blog to find that he had been posting for quite some time, and I had been missing out. Subscribing to your own feeds is a good idea (I guess that answers a long-standing question), since you'll notice before anyone else does that something's not quite right.

Making it Difficult to Subscribe
You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't make it easy for users to subscribe to your content. I've gotten used to copying and pasting web feed URIs into Bloglines, but don't expect your average Joe user to know how to do this, or to want to even if they know how. Now that Firefox has made the subscription process even easier, you really need to have something like the following in your blog's meta data:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Blog Feed" href="/xml/blog.xml" />

Not Reading Your Readers
This is another good point. If people are going out of their way to leave comments on your blog, it isn't a bad idea to stop by theirs every now and then and provide feedback or comments where you think it is relevant. People who show interest in what you have to say are probably interested in similar things (or the exact opposite, in some cases), so you're very likely to find something comment-worthy over at their blog. You might even find comments from other people who share similar interests. It's that whole six degrees of separation thing.

Putting Yourself on a Pedestal
Let your actions speak for themselves. I can think of at least one occasion where I was excited at the thought of subscribing to a particular blogger's feed and then quickly unsubscribed when one of the posts registered at Kanye West levels on the ego-meter.

Partial Feeds
You already know where I stand on this one.

All-in-all, Top 10 Mistakes Made by My Blogging Friends is a solid list of pointers, so definitely head on over and read the original article. If you've got any tips of your own, feel free to share them here in a comment.

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