Every blog needs a feed and a newsletter. If you do not have a feed then readers will not have a way to subscribe to your site. If you do not know what a feed is then take a look at my post explaining RSS, Twitter, and Facebook.
Creating a feed is simple because feedburner will do it for you. All you have to do type in your blog address and it will turn it into a feed. To encourage readers to subscribe you can use an RSS icon that links to your feed. You can find over 800 free RSS icons at Naldz Graphics. You can also create free icons at feedburner.
Put your icon in a prominent location. You can also show how many people have already subscribed to help encourage readers to give you a shot.
A newsletter is a great addition to your blog. You can give your readers the option of receiving their feed through their email using feedburner, but it might be worth it for you to set up an actual newsletter. Newsletters help engage readers and allow you to showcase specific posts and sales. I really encourage this if you are selling your own product, but newsletters also have their place in non-sales blogs. I did not have a regular newsletter set up from the beginning and it is one of my regrets. I will definitely have it in place for my next blog. You can develop a relationship with your readers that you cannot get by simply posting and sending your RSS via email.
As far as good newsletter services go, AWeber is top notch. You will need a service that is not considered spam by email servers, and AWeber fits that bill. You can publish a sign up form right on your website, create auto responders, create templates, and create unlimited campaigns. Their customer service is excellent. The service does cost, but you can try it for one month for $1 to see if it is for you.
TASK: Set up an RSS feed and put a link to it on your homepage. If you want a newsletter then get it started from the beginning so you engage readers from the very start.
Tomorrow we will discuss important static pages that you should always have.