Feedburner & RSS Help

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FeedburnerOnce you create your blog, you'll want to learn a bit about RSS feeds and how to mange and promote your blog's feed.

RSS stands for really simple syndication and it's a file (often called a web feed) that contains information about your most recent blog posts.

So if someone wants to keep up with your newest content, they can subscribe to your feed using their favorite RSS reader.

I use Feedly to keep up with blogs I follow, but there are a ton of free RSS readers available. The Firefox browser even has one built in to the Bookmarks feature.

What is Feedburner?

Feedburner (FB) is a free service owned by Google that tracks information about your RSS feed. It reports how many subscribers/readers you have and also provides ways to promote and display your feed content.

You can display statistics by simply copying and pasting the provided code. For example, see the number in the red box below?

This is how many RSS feed subscribers/readers I have on my blog today. The number updates everyday based on statistics Feedburner gathers about your feed's readership.

So Feedburner allows you to display this info on your site if you wish and you can customzie the color of the widget. Of course, if you'd rather not announce your stats to the world, you can view them privately in the comfort of your own Feedburner account.

What is My Feed URL?

Before you get started with Feedburner, you need to find out your blog's feed address.

1) If you are using Blogger, look at the bottom of your blog template. There is probably a link that says something like Posts (Atom). Hover your mouse over the link and right-click, then choose "Copy Link Location" or "Copy Shortcut".

2) If you're using WordPress then your RSS feed is probably something like
yourdomain.com/feed or blog.yourdomain.com/feed (if your blog is on a sudomain).

This is the feed URL of your blog and it's automatically updated when you make a new post.

Joining Feedburner

When you join FB, the first thing they will ask you to do is "burn your feed." This is where you enter the URL that I showed you how to locate above.

That means you are going to redirect this original feed URL to a new Feedburner address for tracking and reporting.

So instead of using the original blog feed address, you will use your new FB address for promotion. Now, when telling people to subscribe to your blog, you will send them to the FB address.

For example, the Feedburner address/URL for my blog is...

http://feeds2.feedburner.com/2createawebsite I now use that instead of

http://blog.2createawebsite.com/feed (my original WordPress feed that I burned to Feedburner.)

Of course, if anyone happens to find the old address, Feedburner will redirect that subscriber to my new feed and record the stats accordingly.

Now you're ready to start promoting your feed so people can subscribe to it.

Most people link to their feeds using the infamous, orange RSS icon and a hyperlink. An example is below...

RSS Subscribe to my blog's RSS feed

I would highly recommend making your feed link visible. If your audience loves your site, they'll be looking for this link.

Displaying Your RSS Feed Items on Web Pages

One cool thing about FB is that you can publicize your feed data very easily. Say you have a website and a blog and you want to show your most recent blog post titles on your website's homepage.

This is simple to do with Feedburner. You just go to the "Publicize" tab and select "Buzz Boost." Follow the steps, copy and paste the code into your site and your latest blog posts will automatically populate on your site.

Here's an example...

I used Feedburner to burn a feed from my forum. (vBulletin forums automatically generate RSS feeds for each forum.)

So if I want to display the latest posts from my Blogging forum, I just burn the feed to Feedburner, copy and paste the necessary code, and FB will automatically display my most recent posts/discussions from my forum's Blogging section.

See below...

Recent Blogging Discussions from WebsiteBabble.com

Styling Your RSS Feed Links

This video will show you how to jazz up your RSS feed display.

Hopefully you can see that Feedburner is such a valuable tool for tracking, reporting and promoting your blog's RSS feed. Sign up today!

Update May 2013: Is Feedburner Dying?

There are many reasons to believe Google may be abandoning Feedburner soon.

First of all, they discontinued AdSense for Feeds -- which allowed bloggers to make money from ads that showed up in their RSS feeds.

Then they announced they are closing Google Reader (one of the most popular RSS readers around).

Google is clearly getting out of the RSS game, which may mean Feedburner's days are numbered. Read my blog post on this.

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