How to Get 86,000 RSS Subscribers

How to get 86,000 RSS Feed Subscribers

As of this writing, the number of RSS subscribers here at Small Business Trends is 86,764.

About a month ago Yaro Starak recorded a podcast interview of me for his Blog Mastermind program.  In it I share some of my personal experiences in starting and growing the readership of my blog.  I talk especially about growing an RSS subscriber base. 

The thing is, I can vividly remember the day when the number of RSS subscribers first reached 100.  What a milestone that seemed like.  “Woo hoo,” I thought!  Never mind that back then (late 2004) most people had absolutely no idea what I was talking about with regard to RSS.  Or that it took over a year to reach that first small, but to me significant, milestone. 

I simply was thrilled to get this publication to 100 subscribers.  I quietly celebrated that first small milestone.  I say “quietly” because, heck, I was the only one who even cared that I had reached 100 RSS subscribers. But I needed to celebrate in order to give myself motivation to stick with it.

Then, after that, I celebrated each additional hundred subscribers.  Eventually the subscriber base hit 1,000.  Then in 2007 I finally was able to celebrate in increments of tens of thousands. 

RSS feed subscribers and the law of increasing returnsHere in the second half of 2007, an interesting phenomenon began. The pace of the RSS subscriber growth started accelerating much faster. For instance the RSS subscribers here have grown by almost 20,000 in the last month alone. Yet it took over 3 years to reach the first 20,000.

How can it be, you wonder, that an RSS subscriber base can accelerate and grow so much faster once it reaches a certain level? 

It’s a textbook example of the law of increasing returns.  Kevin Kelly defined the law of increasing returns in his book the New Rules for the New Economy as  “The value of a network explodes as its membership increases, and then the value explosion sucks in yet more members, compounding the result.” 

In other words, once you reach a certain point, the big get bigger.

So if the law of increasing returns applies, does that mean there’s no hope for those just starting out?  Of course not.

Every RSS subscriber list — in fact every business — starts with one.  One reader, one subscriber, one customer.  RSS technology may have been around for a number of years, but in terms of the public’s acceptance of RSS it’s still early days. There is time and room for up-and-comers to develop a substantial RSS audience. Just don’t wait too long.

Blog Mastermind Program for learning how to blog In Yaro’s Blog Mastermind podcast I describe how to motivate yourself through the early lean times to make sure you stick with your goal of building your RSS subscriber base. I also share some inside tips — including a few gleaned from one of my radio show guests (Marc Meyer, CEO of BlogRovr) on what you can do to accelerate the growth of your RSS subscriber base. Click the player below to listen.

Yaro is a dedicated Internet entrepreneur whose work I have been following for a couple of years.  He has graciously offered Small Business Trends readers a one month trial of his Blog Mastermind program for just $1.00. The special ends Wednesday, October 17, 2007.  Take advantage of it.   Try the Blog Mastermind Program.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

7 Reactions
  1. I have a question regarding RSS. What number should one attain before showing the RSS number?

  2. Hi David, I would say you should have at least 100, in order to start publicizing.

    Three figures is a nice substantial number and gets people thinking, “hmmm, this must be good, let me subscribe too.”


  3. Hey Anita ~
    I can’t see where to sign up for your rss feed…. help!
    Susan @ & member of Yaro’s BMM

  4. Hi Susan, here is the RSS feed address:

    (We had taken down the RSS subscribe box temporarily while we conducted a Google Optimizer test driving email newsletter subscribers. I did not want people to become confused with two subscription methods visible — we’ll be putting the RSS symbol back up.)


  5. I see, is all part of psychology =).

  6. Jason Bates -

    Its taken me a week to get over 1,000. On a brand new domain name regged only 8 days ago.