Blogging Tips: Increase page views through a customized RSS feed

Are you a blogger?

Do you use self-hosted WordPress?

If so, this post is for you!

Getting more page views by www.SensualAppealBlog.com

As a blogger, you probably check your site stats consistently. It’s good to know the posts we spend so much time writing are actually seen by people out there in the world. While comments and actual feedback are, in my opinion, the best ways of being able to tell that people are actually reading my blog posts, I look at the stats as well.

stats

 

If you have added ads to your blog, you may be even more concerned with the traffic influx on the blog. After all, it is mostly the number of hits that count toward getting you paid. (depending on the ad service you use)

I have a number of people subscribing to my blog (and I love you all who do! You rock!)- whether it is by email, Google Reader, or Bloglovin‘. I was never concerned about which Reader people were using until I read an article about using Bloglovin’ by NutritonElla.

Follow on Bloglovin

The thing that really caught my attention is that using Bloglovin’ gives bloggers more page views. This got me thinking… clearly more people read my blog posts than the stats show because it is most likely they don’t even click on the post to get directed to the blog’s web page.

Because why would they?

I have been featuring my blog feed as a full post since the beginning so the readers would never have to go to my blog if they didn’t want to – they got the full content right on their Reader. And those views don’t count on the site stats. Which is unfortunate because that meant I wasn’t getting the hits to encourage me to keep going.

So I went through my Google Reader and paid attention to how other bloggers’ posts were showing up on the Reader. Some bloggers were using the full text on their feed (like I was previously) which was the easiest for us readers – we never had to click over to the blog and we could get all of our reading done in one place. Then there was the opposite option, the summary text which only showed the title and the first two sentences of the blog post and no pictures.

I have to admit, I have unsubscribed from blogs before because they had their feed set to the summary option. I usually did not click over because I was in a rush, or lazy, or the title was too vague to catch my attention. It was too much work.

I know, how sad – but it’s true, and I’m not the only one who feels that way. It’s extremely difficult to catch someone’s attention in mere two sentences especially when you are also subscribed to many other blogs! The title would have to be really captivating for you to actually stop and click over to read the whole post. This is unfortunate because I know I missed out on some wonderful posts from these great bloggers in the past.

Some examples of these type of posts:

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And another example:

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While these two recipes are amazing (depending on how much free time I had), it’s difficult to portray that in a summary feed post. It’s difficult to capture the attention of a busy reader with a only a couple of sentences which tend to also get cut off abruptly.

Additionally, as visual creatures we are driven by imagery.

WeSpeakVisual_FINAL

 

The summary feed option lacks any visual content to excite us to continue reading the post.

Then I also saw some bloggers that had their feed customized. It seemed like this was the case mostly with bloggers who were using Blogger.com. As a self-hosted WordPress user, I had no idea how they were making this happen but it seemed like a truly best option. They were able to control how much was being shown in the post feed and they included images, html links, and a “continue reading” link.

I found this to be the best feed option, especially for a food blogger – you get to reel the readers in through the text copy and the images. If the reader wants to see the recipe, they must click on over to the web page. I think it’s the most balanced way to satisfy both the readers and the blogger. We get our page views from the readers who click over because they are actually interested and the readers get their teaser content that allows them to figure out whether they truly do want to continue reading or not.

Great examples of the customized RSS feed option:

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Another example:

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So how can you do this?

How can you customize your WordPress RSS feed so that you get all of the page views you deserve without annoying your readers?

How do you hook your readers so they will actually navigate over to your web page rather than reading it all on their Reader of choice?

You’ve gotta find the right plugin!

This way you can make your post interesting and pleasant to look at so that your reader can make a conscious decision whether to continue reading or not.

tumblr_losky1nNkt1qcb5fko1_400.gif

I searched the Google world trying to figure out which WordPress.org plugin is the best to make this effect for me too.

I tested a couple of plugins and found that the best one for the effect I am trying to accomplish is mPress Custom Feed Excerpts. 

  • In WordPress dashboard, naviate to “Plugins” –> click on “Add new”
  • Type mPress Custom Feed Excerpts in the search box and find the one with that exact name (should be the first one) and click on “Install now”. Once the plugin is installed, click on “activate” to make the plugin do its work.
  • Then in your dashboard, navigate to “Settings” –> “Reading”
  • Find the prompt “For each article in a feed, show:” and make sure that the “Full Text” option is selected.

You’re done! Now when you draft your posts, your <more> tag will insert a “continue reading” link to your feed so that you have total control over how much is being shown in your feed.

Untitled-1jpggfdg

If you want the whole post to be shown in the reader, just don’t use the <more> page divider.

If you want to include it, such as with recipes, simply add the <more> tag to the post!

Since adding the plugin and using the <more> page divider, I’ve noticed my page views increase. I think it’s a great plugin to use and I recommend any and all bloggers, especially food bloggers, to use it!

Hope it helps!

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Comments

  1. says

    We do speak visual, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME… And inspiring me to put WAY MORE PICTURES and less WORDS in my next post!!! Actually, you just helped me stress a little less. I have so much work to do and I was bugging out about coming up with a blog idea for my next post… I am calm now – PICTURES IT IS!! :)

  2. apkussma says

    Here’s my problem. My work’s firewall blocks blogs generally (I don’t know how it determines what is a blog, but if it’s blogspot or wordpress hosted, fuggedaboutit). Strangely, I can read them through Google Reader. When I like a post enough, I mark it with a star, and come back to comment or whatever later at home, but most of them I just read. If they are summary only, they will most likely not make that cut.

    I feel bad for not giving hits, but ultimately, isn’t it our ideas, thoughts and opinions that we want to get out in the world? I figure as long as I’m reading, I’m helping the blogger. That’s certainly the view I take for my own blog.

  3. says

    You are all kinds of amazing. This is so cool. I still would feel bad having to make people click though. I think it’s tough as a blogger because you can’t please everyone!

  4. Kristen Daukas says

    Oh my!! A great find for me! I have been mulling over the fact that anyone who gets my posts via email never has to go to my site and how to fix that! Thank you so much!

  5. says

    Fantastic information, thanks so much. I use Weebly for my website and blog. It apparently works off a wordpress platform so I’ll have to see whether or not I can use the plug in.

    I had no idea that views via google reader didn’t count towards your blog views stats. I feel bad for all the blogs that I have been enthusiastically following that have not been able to count me. :(

    • Kammie says

      Aw don’t feel bad! It’s having an actual reader that really counts but it is nice to have views too but it is most definitely not the most important thing. Far from it. Glad I could be of help. I didn’t know weebly worked off wordpress!

    • Kammie says

      The more button does not do anything in RSS feeds, so like if someone subscribes to your blog via email or on Google Reader and you have your RSS feed option set to “full post”, it doesn’t matter if you have the “more” button that comes with WordPress in there, the full post will be shown in the Reader or email for the reader so the reader will have no reason to click over to your blog. Whereas if you use this plugin, the “more” button becomes a cut-off point for RSS feeds so if the reader wants to continue reading, they have to go over to your blog. Does that make sense?

    • Kammie says

      I actually am not sure, I haven’t checked how it looks like with Feedburner. As far as I know, there should be an additional option in Feedburner settings that allows you to create a custom RSS but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. If there isn’t an option like that there, then I don’t see how this plugin wouldn’t work.. But You can always experiment and see if it works. Let me know!

  6. says

    Thanks for this plugin! I installed it last night and it works! I have a question – do you, by any chance, know how to change the “continue reading” where you put the page break in? I want it to say something specific but cannot figure out how to make it say something different. I just was curious if maybe you knew?
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Amaretto FudgeMy Profile

    • Kammie says

      I do actually!
      1. Go to your dashboard and find your installed plugins
      2. Find the mPress plugin and click on “Edit”
      3. You will see a box with a lot of coding in it. Scroll down to the bottom of the coding box. There’s a part that says:
      public function continue_reading_link() {
      $link = ‘ ‘. __( ‘continue reading’, ‘mpress-custom-feed-excerpts’ ) .’‘;
      return apply_filters( ‘mpress_custom_feed_excerpts_continue_reading_link’, $link );
      Replate the ‘continue reading’ (which is right next to the ‘mpress-custom-feed-excerpts’) with whatever you want it to say instead of the continue reading. Make sure that you don’t change anything else! The words must still be in the apostrophes and make sure the apostrophes are attached as you see there.
      Once you put that in, click “update file”
      It should now say whatever you put in there instead of the “continue reading”
      Let me know if that worked for you!

  7. says

    Ever since feedburner crashed, I have been trying to figure out what to do to get people to be able to subscribe to my blog easily. I think I may have to switch to wordpress. Blogger doesn’t have plug ins for this.

    • Kammie says

      I always vote WordPress! I think you can do soo much with it. Sorry to hear about Blogger and Feedburner crashing, I didn’t even realize Feedburner crashed – that’s not good! I have some subscribers through that too! :/

  8. says

    Sweet! It even adds the (read more) to the landing page. I’ve been trying to figure that one out. Thank you!
    Now I’m gonna have to check out blogloven’
    Sarah recently posted…BookwormMy Profile

  9. says

    Hallo Kammie

    Thank you for a great post.
    I have tried the plugin and unfortunately the post where i use the “more” a adsense box show up.
    Do you have any idea why?
    Thank you so much.

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