Lee Odden

RSS Buttons for Your Blog


When reviewing search marketing blogs each week for inclusion in our big list, one of the most consistent problems we see is that blog owners don’t make it easy to subscribe. Either there is no icon for the RSS feed or it’s hidden way below the fold.

Something as easy as adding a prominient RSS button near the top of the blog template with the word “Subscribe” near it can increase the number of return visitors substantially. We’ve done this ourselves and we’re now just under 6,000 subscribers.

A study by Yahoo and Ipsos Insight supports the need to display RSS subscription options as blog readers were found to be far more likely to subscribe to a blog if they say a familiar graphic for their favorite RSS reader, whether it was Bloglines, MyYahoo or Google Reader. One solution is to use our free RSS button tool which has been used by over 50,000 blogs so far.

The popularity of this button tool also caused some traffic issues for our current blog host. Several months back we made sure all the RSS subscription buttons for the various feed readers referenced the original sites rather than being hosted with us. However, the tiny RSS button icon was still hosted by us and that one graphic has been hotlinked by a huge number of sites.

As a result, we’ve had to update the RSS Button Maker tool so that blog owners will need to host that little RSS icon on their own site rather than linking to the graphic on our server. Anyone who has used the TopRank RSS Button tool should revisit the page and update their code along with downloading the RSS graphic for placement on their own site.

Additionally, if your blog does not place a RSS graphic high on the page, then you’re missing out on a substantial amount of return traffic and visibility. Use the free RSS button tool and make it easy for your readers to subscribe to your content. You can output a list of RSS reader graphic buttons or just display one large RSS button as we do at the top right of this page.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Awesome tool, it is true that many blogs don’t have the RSS feed buttons in places that are easy to find.

  2. If you’re using wordpress I really like the Chicklet Creator Plug-in http://www.twistermc.com/shake/RSS-index.php
    it automatically gives you a choice of rss feed buttons and individual reader buttons, although since each one is a link out I would limit how many you turn on. As an alternative to creating a page with a list of feedreader subscribe buttons, I like to pick a few important ones (google, yahoo, bloglines etc) to display below a subscribe heading the side bar. Maybe I’ll also add a more link that includes a giant list of feed readers, actually I ust put that on my to do list this weekend.

    As an aside, did you get a chance to check out my exchange with famous marketer Seth Godin? I think you’ll find it interesting. He gave some bad SEO advice in his blog, I wrote about it (got published on webpronews) and he responded. I need to write a follow-up because that post sparked a bunch of responses including one from Mike Levin of HitTail, who also published some things I need to address.

  3. Solomon, the Chicklet Creator and the RSS Button tool are pretty much the same thing. Both were made by TopRank’s Thomas McMahon.

  4. Avatar Chris Dohman says

    I think you are making a good point here Lee. I always look in the address/url bar for the dandy orange rss feed graphic to see if a feed is available but it makes sense that not all people look there. A well placed rss graphic or 2 with a “subscribe to this feed” link can only help.

    Looks like I should make my rss links more prominent. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Excellent! I been using that plug-in in all my latest wordpress installs. Congrats to you and Thomas McMahon for making them available. I hope you’ve attracted a fair amount of links for that effort.

    If I was going to request something though, it would be to add a “more link” of some type which would go a page or perhaps an ajax popup that contained a huge list of all the feedreader buttons, but I don’t want the links to count as outbound on each page (like a drop down menu does) or have to use rel=”nofollow” incorrectly. I’m probably going to have to manually create this unless someone knows of an automated solution that DOESN’T run through a third party website (I’ve seen a few of those running around)

  6. We’ve been creating the separate page of RSS readers manually. One of the important benefits of our RSS button maker is that it doesn’t send readers to a third party web site.

  7. Avatar Brian Zimmerman says

    Lee — good point you made about the various feed readers out there. Here’s FeedBurners input on web-based feed readers, “FeedBurner’s View of the Feed Market” (Feb ’07) http://blogs.feedburner.com/feedburner/archives/2007/02/feedburners_view_of_the_feed_m.php

  8. “far more likely to subscribe to a blog if they say a familiar graphic for their favorite RSS reader”

    Lee – I totally agree with you. Ever since I started using your drop-down RSS tool, I have seen a nice uplift in my sibscribers. It went from 0 to like 6. lol.


  9. Hello there, how did you get that button so big button, I would like one for myself also ? Mine one is so small…..