Do you test your blog feed from time to time?
It is so vital to maintain an optimized feed on your blog, especially from a usability standpoint. Your whole objective when you blog is to increase your readership and keep them engaged. If something goes array with your feed think about the implications this could cause:
- Your content may stop being indexed by the search engines.
- Your content is not reaching your readers.
- Any new visitors will leave and may never come back if your feed appears broken.
So how do you know if your feed becomes invalid?
The first thing everyone who sets up a blog site should do to optimize their feed is burn it over at Feedburner. Once optimized I would make it a priority to schedule in time periodically to log in and check the status of your feed.
The second and obvious thing would be to actually click on your feed icon to see what happens. Does it open in a subscribe to feed window? Or, does is open in a window that indicates errors?
The best way to validate your feed to ensure it is working is to run it through Feed Validator. If you want to get really creative you could follow the steps to add the widget to your blog sidebar.
Again, refer to the FeedBurner Help Center – How did my feed become invalid?
One thing NOT to do is copy and paste text from programs like Microsoft Word. There are hidden codes that get copied to the clip board that if pasted in your blog can cause a lot of harm to your site. If you notice your sidebar pushed out of place or your feed not working this could be attributed to the Word codes.
Another great resource to learn more about your feed is over in the WordPress.org feed documentation.