Bloggers and theme designers are always in search of ways to maximize the potential of screen space and improve the effectiveness of the blog as a result. Whether you’re working to improve your sidebar in effort to increase pageviews, adding related links at the end of your posts to build internal links, or improving your blog footer, there is an almost constant effort to get more out of the blog.
One area that is commonly overlooked is the feed. Much like the blog itself, the feed can be enhanced to make a blog more profitable or effective for subscribers. In particular, this post will look at the subject of the feed footer and how it can be used for something beneficial. If you’re like me you may have installed one of a handful of WordPress plugins to work with the feed footer, but neglected to keep this up-to-date and useful for subscribers.
10 Ways to Get More Out of Your Feed Footer:
1 – Add a Copyright and Link to Yourself
Most blogs have the feed stolen at least from time-to-time, if not every day. By having a copyright in your feed footer and a link to your blog you’ll at least be doing something to prevent others from taking credit for your work. Now when they scrape your feed they’ll also be publishing your copyright and your link.
2 – Include Ads
Ads in footers are used by some bloggers, but they’re still not that common. FeedBurner and Google offer easy options for putting AdSense into your feed, or you can sell banner ads or text ads. If you don’t have the option of the desire to sell ads in your feed footer, you could also include affiliate links or banners to promote specific products or services that relate to your content. Don’t expect any ads in your feed footer to have extremely high conversions, but you still may be able to get some additional monetization this way.
3 – Cross Promote Your Other Blogs
Many bloggers, myself included, run more than one blog. By promoting your other blogs in your feed footer you can help to convert some of your readers from one blog into readers of the other blog(s). You can simply link to the blog homepage, or you could point out popular posts from your other blog, but it’s also a good idea to include a link to your other feed so if people want to quickly subscribe without even visiting the other site, they can. Your loyal readers will value your content and they will be quicker to subscribe than others.
4 – Give Something Away to Your Subscribers
Feed footers are also a great way to provide a giveaway to encourage new subscribers. One example is Chris Garrett, who gives away a free ebook to subscribers. Chris’ feed footer includes a link to the ebook, so it’s an easy, hands-free way to use a giveaway to build subscribers.
5 – Link Exchange with Other Sites
This is not something I’ve ever done, nor am I aware of other bloggers that are doing it, but I think it could be a mutually beneficial situation for those involved. The idea here is to find a few other bloggers in your niche, preferably with roughly the same number of subscribers, and each one can include a short list of recommended blogs in their feed footer, with each one linking to the others’ blogs. Of course, if you do this be sure that you’re partnering with other blogs that you can honestly recommend.
6 – Point Out Popular Posts
Popular post lists are commonly used in blog sidebars to point visitors towards content that they’re most likely to appreciate, but they can also be used in feed footers. I used this method a long time ago on my primary blog with moderate success. While the listed posts didn’t get floods of visitors from these links, they did get some traffic, and it can be a helpful way to point out some of your older content to subscribers who may not have been around when it was posted. I think it’s key here to rotate the posts that are linked every now and then to keep it fresh and give subscribers something different to see.
7 – Sell Your Own Products or Services
If you’ve extended your blog to include products and/or services, why not use the feed footer to promote the products/services? This is not something that I’ve done in the past, but I plan to try it in the near future. your subscribers have come to know and trust you as they read your blog on a regular basis, so they’re probably a great market for your products or services. Including a brief promo in your footer is a rather subtle way to advertise yourself and it doesn’t need to come off as being to pushy to your readers.
8 – Encourage Social Media Votes
Many bloggers are interested in social media traffic. Why not put a brief statement in your footer to ask for readers to vote for your posts if they appreciate the information and if they think others would like it as well? FeedBurner’s FeedFlare can allow you to easily add some links for voting, but you could also include your own message to encourage votes.
9 – Promote a Newsletter
A growing number of bloggers are also building newsletters through their blogs. If this applies to you, you could gain some additional exposure for your newsletter by mentioning in your feed footer and giving some basic instructions for subscribing.
10 – Teasers for Upcoming Content
From time-to-time on my primary blog I’ve mentioned an upcoming post and asked visitors to subscribe if they wanted to be sure to not miss the upcoming post(s). From my experience this works fairly well for gaining new subscribers, but teasers in feed footers can also prepare those who are already subscribed for the upcoming content. Having subscribers is one thing, getting them to actually read your feed is another. If they’re looking forward to a particular post, the chances are much better that they’ll actually pay attention to your posts. Of course, if you do this you’ll want to be sure to update the teaser when it’s no longer applicable.
WordPress Plugins for Working with Footers:
PostPost – While there are a number of plugins for editing footers, PostPost was the first one I tried and I have never wanted to use another. It looks like this plugin hasn’t been updated in a while, but it still works for me on newer versions of WordPress with no issues. The reason I like PostPost is because it’s very simple. You have an options page in your dashboard that lets you control what is shown before and after your feed, as well as before and after your posts on your blog. The only option I use if after the feed. Simply enter the HTML code of what you want to be displayed, and you’re done. Links, banners, whatever you want, it’s very easy.
RSS Footer – Joost de Valk has a very popular plugin for this purpose called RSS Footer. Joost’s plugin will let you add whatever you want to your footer and it will default to a link back to the original post, which is great for fighting scrapers.
Feed Footer – The Feed Footer plugin has been around for a while and is another popular option. It works basically the same, add whatever you want to your footer.
How Do Your Use Your Feed Footer?
Now that we’ve looked at some options for how you can use your feed footer, please consider taking a moment to share your own experiences with your footer.