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I've got a gaming site that hosts After Action Reports (AARs). From my traffic logs, I know that these AARs are far and away the most popular part of the site with my members.

Members typically post 2 or 3 AARs to the site per day, but we do occasionally have zero days.

As a service to my members (and to myself, as I enjoy them too!), I'd like to implement an RSS feed that announces the publication of each new AAR.

There's only one problem - the demographics of my userbase skew towards nearly or already retired men who are not tech savvy at all.

I know how to implement RSS... but I'd like suggestions on how to get my users to adopt it themselves.

From direct communication with my core members, I know that they're highly receptive to the concept of RSS, but hesitant to jump through the hoops of learning to use yet another web thingy. (It's simple, I know, but these folks are old school)

Has anyone else been faced with a similar challenge? (clear benefit, resistant-on-principle userbase) How'd you overcome it?

UPDATE EDIT

I've gone the Big Honkin' Icon approach on the site's main logo/banner thingy. I plan to let it run for a week or so to accrue items and then post an announcement and a how-to article with screenshots for the brave who want to go down the RSS rabbit hole.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Firstly, I would create your feed, but point the link to at Feedburner. That will handle a lot of the heavy lifting for you in terms of making sure that it's RSS and Atom as well. Also, it makes it very easy to subscribe in quite a few different web-based readers.

As for getting people to use it, make sure that the link to the feed is blindingly obvious, maybe a nice large icon for it.

I think the phrase here is: you can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. You can make it easy for people to access the RSS feed, but you can't make them use it.

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I found that the most effective method was an "Add to Google" button for the feed. In my experience, a lot of older users use iGoogle as their startpage.

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Why not use a simple email subscription? In the same way on the Stack Exchange sites you can be "notified daily of new answers" you could send out emails of new items. It's something nearly everyone understands.

Keep the RSS feed too, of course; there will be users who prefer that method.

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Personally, I hate it when I get "updates" in my inbox. I like my mail to be mostly personal, so having another way to stay in touch with non-personal contacts is appreciated. –  DanMan Feb 12 at 13:02

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