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Why I Include My Feed in My Sig File

One Degree:Jordan, can you tell us about your .sig file and what the pros and cons of your approach are?”
I use the animated headline feature from “Feedburner”: in my .sig file, to publicize my blog. It is a very cool feature that I think everyone should try (provided they have a Feedburner feed associated with their site). The response to it has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have to agree that it does give my messages an extra bit of credibility than a static text “siggy” or even a company logo would.
Here’s a peek at what we’re talking about here:
Jordan Behan
778.840.TELL (8355)

Tell Ten Friends by Jordan
Jordan Behan: I opted to list just my url, and not a full company name and title, in exchange for less content to have to look at. I’m still pretty convinced this was a good decision, as it shouldn’t be too busy, in my opinion.
When people first see it, it’s not out of the ordinary for them to say “Wow, I want one of those!” But here is where I start to list the cons of this method. I do web marketing and PR consulting, specializing in small business. Many of my clients and prospects discover what an RSS feed is when I explain it to them, and not before. If you’re not already familiar with the use of feeds, then you might not understand the content that you see when you click the link in the animated .gif. I have yet to have anyone ask about the “site” they get linked through to when they click, but I have to guess that for some it is a bit confusing. They might have expected to be linked to my site, not the Feedburner feed.

That’s why I’m beginning to think (this exercise of explaining was certainly a catalyst) that I actually do need to add one last bit of info at the bottom of the .sig, for RSS newbies. Maybe something to the effect of: What’s an RSS feed? (With a link to a blog post explaining how to subscribe, etc.) Or, alternatively, just an extra link below that reads: Or click here to visit the homepage.
Still, overall I would have to say that the tool is very useful. It reminds people that I do have fresh content all the time, and even if it is a bit ugly, that content is available when you click through to the Feedburner feed, where you are just one more click away from the homepage, any given individual post or of course from subscribing. As the average end-user gets even savvier, this little tool will really begin to realize its potential.


  1. Ken Schafer - One Degree
    Ken Schafer - One Degree September 27, 2006

    Hey Jordan,
    Thanks for the reply. One fix you might consider is changing the HTML code so that clicking the gif takes you to your site instead of your feed. I know Feedburner wants people to go to their version of your feed, but I think your point is well taken and just changing that URL in the code they gave to point to your homepage will make a big difference.

  2. Barry Welford
    Barry Welford September 27, 2006

    I agree with Ken that the link for at least the next year or so should go to the blog rather than to the RSS news feed. There are too few people using the news feeds yet and you don’t want to lose all the others. It’s nice to have an image there but you should use a different one. That Feed image is supposed to signify a news feed. Perhaps if you have a favicon for your blog, you could use a gif version of that. However the basic idea is just great. 🙂

  3. Jordan
    Jordan September 27, 2006

    Not a bad idea, Ken.
    Ultimately, having both the feed and the blog site address would be best I think. It would be an equally confusing experience to get sent to my site if you were expecting an RSS feed.
    In the end, I want people to learn and understand (and subscribe!) what the RSS feed is all about.

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