Is RSS Dead?

A couple of years ago RSS was THE big thing.

If you didn’t have RSS available on your site you were doomed to Internet Marketing failure.

I had multiple ways and places people could sign up to my RSS feed, and I used various encouragements to get them to do so.

Today I have only one place, and no encouragements.

Why the change?

RSS simply hasn’t become the ubiquitous service it was once projected to be.

It’s only people who are working online who are enthusiastic about it. People who don’t work online by and large don’t get it.

These days people can get your updates via Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed and probably a dozen other places – all intuitive and user friendly services for people who aren’t web-heads.

So is RSS now dead?

No – but the way I use it has changed.

I use RSS to get my blog posts onto Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo.

Once they’re on those services they’re seen and followed by many, many more people than I have subscribed to my RSS feed.

I do still have an RSS subscribe link in my sidebar.

But I also used to have one in my navigation bar and I also used to use the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin, which was designed to encourage people to sign up to my RSS feed.

I removed them, because I preferred to use the space for other things and because most non web-heads aren’t interested in subscribing via RSS.

They’d rather follow me on Twitter.

So should a blog or a website have an RSS feed?

Yes – because it enables you to syndicate your articles far and wide as a ‘behind the scenes’ distribution mechanism.

But I think it’s a waste of valuable space to spend too much effort encouraging visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed, unless you’re writing for a tech/web savvy crowd.

What do you think?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Angiel 18 December, 2009, 12:46 am

    No I don’t believe it is a waste of time and space to encourage RSS subscriptions, Martin. In my case, even after attempting to explain RSS, I’ve found that many of my readers prefer keeping up with my Blogs via email. And yet this is changing gradually – and depends on the Blog itself. Some people don’t “get” RSS, the way some people still don’t “get” Twitter – but it’s fun to watch someone finally get that “light-bulb” moment. Maybe it’s an “age” thing? Maybe the 50+ crowd has a bit of catching up to do? But still, RSS IS everywhere. Just because the majority of folks aren’t using it the way we (bloggers) imagined they would – doesn’t mean that RSS is not alive and well!
    .-= Angiel´s last blog ..Essential Small Business Start-Up Kit For 2010 =-.

    • Martin 18 December, 2009, 6:57 am

      Angie, hi,

      I agree RSS is alive and well – but I don’t focus on getting people to sign up to it the way I used to.

      I use it differently now from the way I originally intended, and I don’t ever see this blog having thousands of RSS subscribers as a result.

      But that’s fine, because people are seeing it via other channels. 🙂



  • Pam 18 December, 2009, 9:42 am

    Hi Martin,
    I just read your post on my Google RSS Reader 🙂 Although I am subscribed to a lot of blogs via RSS and don’t get to read them all in a timely fashion, I like the reader because I can quickly scan my favorites for new posts. Yours, Seth Godin and Jamie Varon are in my top ten, must reads and I have the reader as one of my default tabs on Firefox.
    I am glad to have everything in one place.
    Thanks for your always interesting topics.

    • Martin 18 December, 2009, 6:54 pm

      Pam, hi,

      Wow – I don’t deserve to be in the same top 10 list as Seth Godin! That’s truly an honour! (He’s also in my top 10 list, along with Darren Rowse, Men With Pens and CopyBlogger, plus a few other unmentionables 🙂 ).

      And yes – I also follow blogs via RSS (in Google Reader), but I still think people who don’t work online don’t use RSS very much. It’s really only us web-heads who use it as it was originally intended.



  • corrie 23 December, 2009, 3:45 am

    I haven’t been picking up a lot of traffic from Twitter, Facebook or other places.

    I’m assuming I have to build those “followers” and “links” too? If so, how do I reach people not already following me through RSS?
    .-= corrie´s last blog ..Football Interest Grows =-.

    • Martin 23 December, 2009, 6:55 am

      Hi Corrie,

      I’ve written a couple of pieces on using Twitter to help build up visitors to a blog – you can find them here and here.

      In the first one the best information is in the comments – which are way longer than the original article! So be sure to read all the way down.



  • maryann sumaraga 7 May, 2010, 3:56 am

    Thanks for the article on the RSS… twitter still seems to the way to go!

    • Martin 7 May, 2010, 7:00 am

      Hi Maryann,

      You’re welcome,