A lot of the blogs that we read haven’t been showing up in our reader lately. We use Bloglovin’, and it can be rather finicky (so can Google Reader). A lot of a blog’s most loyal followers use readers, and readers rely on a valid RSS Feed, which delivers new content. If your RSS Feed is not valid, it can be easy for even your daily readers to just assume you’ve fallen off of the face of the planet because your blog won’t seem to be updating. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have a VALID RSS FEED at all times. You work hard on your blog content, make sure your followers are seeing it!
Just one simple error, like a mis-typed link, forgetting to put the correct ending on a line of HTML code, or otherwise incorrect code can cause your RSS feed to become invalid.
So how do you make sure that your RSS Feed is working?
Firstly, if you’re a WordPress user, I’d like to recommend that you install my free RSS Feed Checker for your WordPress dashboard. This way, you’ll see if there’s a problem right away.
For everyone else, go to http://feedvalidator.org/. Enter in your blog URL with a /feed on the end. (So, for example, we’d put in http://www.thenerdnest.com/feed to check our RSS Feed.)
After you enter in your URL, the validator will then show you if your feed is valid. If it isn’t valid, the reader will tell you where your problem code is occurring. Even if it is valid, it might suggest a few improvements you can make (in fact, we just caught a few mistakes while writing this post).
The results can look intimidating, but just look for the highlighted bits of code. Those are your problem areas. When we looked at our problem areas, we found a missing carrot (>) in one line of code, and a missing space in another. (Both posts by Megan, I might add.) Fixing these problem areas might seem a little scary, but it’s worth it!
*Note: Another reason your blog might not be showing up in readers is an invalid URL. Many bloggers on sites that are not self hosted purchase domain names that redirect to their blog subdomain. In English, that means that many bloggers that are on platforms like Blogger and Typepad purchase URLS so they don’t have to have the .typepad or .blogspot in them. When we were on Blogger, our address was www.nerd-nest.blogspot.com, but we purchased our http://www.thenerdnest.com domain from 1 and 1 (we still use this URL for our current self-hosted WordPress site). If we were still on Blogger, but didn’t pay our domain name, then readers that used the “thenerdnest.com” wouldn’t see our feed anymore; only readers that used the “www.nerd-nest.blogspot.com” domain would. Make sure that all of the URLs you give to readers are going to be around permanently, or you might loose a few folks in the process!
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