Preparing for the End of Google Reader
Photo by futureatlas.com
If you were a regular user of Google Reader, you’re probably saddened by its impending demise, but you’ve moved on. You’ve migrated your account to a new reader, and while you expect a few hiccups when you finally give up your Reader habit on July 1, you don’t anticipate any serious problems.
But if you’re a blogger, or run a site with RSS feeds, the end of Google Reader means more than just losing an easy way to access blogs. If your RSS subscribers don’t migrate their Google feeds to another service, or if they give up on RSS altogether, you stand to lose a reliable source of web traffic. In many cases, these dedicated readers also provide you with some of your most interesting traffic, as they share your blog posts with their colleagues, friends, and followers.
While it’s easy for you to prepare for the end of Google Reader as an RSS tool, it’s more difficult to determine how to survive the loss of your RSS subscribers. Here are a few tips to keep your site strong even after you lose your Reader traffic:
Know Your Google Reader Traffic
This is an obvious point, but before you worry too much about losing traffic from Google Reader, you need to find out how much traffic you actually have. With analytics software it’s easy to determine where your traffic originates, and whether that traffic leads to good outcomes. If your Reader traffic is dead, you won’t need to worry when Reader dies too.
Let your subscribers know what to expect
You might think that everyone knows about Google Reader’s impending demise, but don’t take it for granted that your readers are up to date. Keep them informed of Reader alternatives, and spread the word across your social media outlets, from Facebook to Twitter.
Get Started on Google +
Even if your visitors are being forced to abandon Google Reader, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to leave Google. While you probably haven’t spent much time on Google+, it’s worth setting up an account and, through their settings, adding your authored content into their system. If Google introduces other Reader-like services in the future, you’ll already be set up to take advantage of them.
Try a Newsletter
If you’re used to delivering news to readers via RSS, a newsletter might be a great way to deliver occasional content to your customers. We like MailChimp, which can automatically email your blog posts to your readers by drawing from your RSS feed.
Invest in Social
While Google Reader and RSS was great five years ago, Google dropped Reader because people aren’t using it as much as they used to. While you don’t want to lose traffic because you failed to keep your RSS feed running, you might also use this time to transition to a social media-based blog strategy. Use your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other accounts to promote your blog posts.
Although RSS allowed you to post once and forget about it, with a social media strategy you’ll want to promote each post several times over a number of days, as you never know which teaser will attract the most attention. In addition to keeping up your blog, you’ll have to continue to promote it to ensure you don’t get lost in the shuffle.
The end of Google Reader signals the end of an era, one in which the RSS feed made it easy for bloggers and blog readers alike to keep up with the world around them. While RSS might survive the end of Reader, you’ll want to develop strategies that will allow you to seamlessly transition to the social media-centered news world that many of us already inhabit.
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