Related Posts in Feeds With UTW – How to Encourage RSS Subscribers to Visit Your Blog

Ninety Percent of your readers might be using an RSS reader or email to browse your content, and whilst your subscriber base is growing, your page views are remaining fairly static unless you receive a burst of traffic from Digg or another social bookmarking site.

Even if Robert Scoble includes one of your posts in his shared feed, the majority of people who will read that content will be in a feed reader rather than on your site.

So how do you attract more people to your site, or to subscribe to your feed?

Content Strategies

I actually started writing this post yesterday, and decided to “sleep on it” and add some more content. It seems Darren had the same idea for a post so I have deleted this section and you can read his list instead. As my blog has always been more technical in nature, I am going to go into one specific feature from the list which is what I started off with yesterday.

Related Posts in Feeds With Ultimate Tag Warrior

I know lots of my readers are now using Ultimate Tag Warrior, so they will find this very handy.

I have previously posted the code needed to insert UTW related posts somewhere on your blog. It was quite a short piece of code, but sometimes UTW can seem daunting.

Adding related posts to your RSS feed is also very useful, because the majority of your regular readers will be subscribing to your feed, and reading your content in a browser.

There are various “related entries for feeds” plugins available, but they normally depend on simple page analysis to determine a relationship, or use the Yahoo API which for me always returns fairly poor relationships. With extensive use of tagging you can define relationships yourself, thus articles really are specifically related, and not possibly related.

I have seen various hacks to add UTW Related Posts to feeds, but they involved playing with core WordPress files. Whilst I am happy to hack themes, I avoid anything to do with the core files, at least on this blog. WordPress is frequently being updated – 2.1.1 and 2.09 are just around the corner and thus hacking the core files should be left to those comfortable using SVN and working with “bleeding edge” code.

Today I noticed a new plugin for adding Ultimate Tag Warrior Related Posts to your RSS feed. For me this has a number of advantages.

  • New Subscribers – I am often asked to point out recommended reading to new subscribers so they can “catch up” on what has been said before.
  • Click-throughs – more chance a reader, even a long-time reader will click through and read an older article.
  • SE Spiders – they will have more paths to follow from your feed
  • Syndication – another chance of a lot more links – sometimes it is “legitimate”, for instance
  • WebProNews asked permission to syndicate my content and I have approached a few more sites to do the same. Other services and sites aggregate content, and sometimes don’t provide good links back to the source, but often overlook additional links in the content. You can always block trackbacks if they are not playing fair. I normally gain a benefit from it however they handle my content.

I have now found a simple solution, a plugin to add UTW Related Posts to your feed. It is quite a simple plugin, but ultimately I like simple solutions rather than hacking something myself.
It creates a nice neat tidy list in your feed:-

UTW Related Posts in Feed

Despite Darren’s misgivings about cluttering up your feed, I can highly recommend it. I have been using it for only a couple of days and I have already seen an increase in clicks through to older content and I am sure it will also help with backlinks from sites syndicating my content.

I should also re-emphasise that this blog is experimental – it is not perfectly optimised from the start and this allows me to measure how small improvements increase performance.

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  1. says

    I’ve noticed the related posts while reading your entries in my feed reader, and was wondering how that could be done without any tweaking needed. Overall, it looks fine to me as well.

    I have intentions to use this plugin, but suppose it might take a while to fully implement it. As this plugin relies on UTW to get the related feeds, I would first have to add tags on all those previous entries again, since they were lost while switching domains.

  2. says

    Leonard I am not sure how you handled the move in the end, but UTW stores its information along with the rest of your wordpress data, in the same MYSQL database table, so you shouldn’t have had any problems with UTW working after a domain switch.

    As far as I know there are not fixed paths used in the tables

  3. says

    I’m going to guess that you’re not real surprised that I read you in a feed. I don’t think the plugin will increase me clicking through to older content, but then I have you set up in a Google search too because sometimes I go looking for older information on your blog and that’s the quickest easiest way to it.

    As you know, my approach to feeds is different, supplying only the excerpt and making people click through if they want the full story. Actually the thing I’d like in a feed plug in is a second set of “feed” permalinks that lead to a counter and 301 redirect so i can track links from my feeds automatically.

  4. says

    Feedburner are meant to provide some kind of SE friendly redirect if you read the pro service.

    Also you have probably been reading my blog, and vice versa for longer than most (all?) of my current readers, so those extra links don’t help quite as much.

    I suppose it wouldn’t be too hard to create such a plugin.

  5. says

    Weird though. I employed WordPress’ import and export feature but it appears the export didn’t include UTW. I may or may not have done in correctly, I don’t know. But since it has come to this, then I suppose I’ll just have to add them manually.

    Thanks for letting me know however. Perhaps next time if there ever is a switch of domain with another site, I’ll know what to look out for.

    • says

      There is a plugin for the WASABI plugin, or based on it to give you related posts in feeds, but I don’t have a URL off-hand – I use UTW on all my blogs.