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Blog tips: Feedburner 101 – the basics

Today's post is actually a very long one, because instead of breaking it down I decided to just do a full post covering all the basics of Feedburner so that you don't have to be jumping post back and forth. I originally wrote this post about a year a go because a lot of my Design clients where having trouble understanding how to set up Feedburning and the importance of not having a “naked” feed.

Just in case you haven't heard about Feedburner before, you should know that it is one of the most popular and fully featured free service for syndication of your blog feed. Once you have set up your free Feedburner account, you can choose to redirect your blog feed through Feedburner, instead of simply offering the default feed which are automatically generated for your blog in either Blogger or WordPress.

There are many reasons why burning your feed through Feedburner will be beneficial for both you and your readers, and don't get me wrong Feedburner has had a lot of little issues in the last couple of years (then it became a part of Google) but for being a free service I totally give it thumbs up, I've personally tried other paid feed services and after a few weeks I always came back to Feedburner. Sometimes I hate it and wish they had better capabilities but overall they are a pretty awesome service and in this post I want to explain why and the basics to get you running =]

In this post I will cover all of the following:

Why use Feedburner?

  1. All of your subscribers will receive the same feed. If you are using Blogger, by default you are publishing up to three different feed URLs for your blog:
    • yourblog.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default (atom feed)
    • yourblog.blogspot.com/atom.xml (another atom feed)
    • yourblog.blogspot.com/rss.xml (an RSS feed)

    In WordPress.org feeds can be publish in all of the following:

    • http://yourblog.com/feed/
    • http://yourblog.com/feed/rss/
    • http://yourblog.com/feed/rss2/
    • http://yourblog.com/feed/rdf/
    • http://yourblog.com/feed/atom/

    However, if you choose to redirect your feed to your Feedburner syndicated feed, all of these feeds will lead to the same single online location:

    feeds.feeedburner.com/YOUR-FEED-NAME

    This also means that all of your subscribers will receive a feed with the same (possibly improved) formatting.

  2. Using Feedburner offers readers more incentive to subscribe, the Feedburner view includes the most popular feed readers, this makes it a lot easier for those interested to subscribe with their favorite feed reader.

    [Click on images to enlarge]

    The image on the right is an example of unformatted, default feed page which is accessed when feeds are not redirected through Feedburner. The image on the left is an example of a feed page generated by Feedburner. As you can see, this is much more visually enticing and includes easy subscription options for your readers.

  3. Offer Email subscriptions. If you are in Blogger you might have notice that now you can simply add a subscribe by email widget, well this is run by Feedburner, so if you add it Blogger will automatically burn a feed for your blog and enable the email delivery option. Email delivery can really increase the number of subscribers you have in your blog and with Feedburner you just set it up and forget about it =] I will explain how to customize the delivery later.

  4. You will have a better indication of your subscriber base. While many bloggers choose to add a Feedburner account and offer this syndication to subscribers, those who don't redirect their feeds through Feedburner or any other feed manager, will seem to have fewer subscribers! … Why? because it is almost impossible to know how many subscribers retrieve your default blog feed unless you redirect them through a feed manager, having your readers pull your content from a feed manager will help you know in a more accurate way the numer of subscribers to your feed, and after you figure out the number you can brag about it with a count widget 😉

  5. Monitor the growth of your blog using the subscriber count. As your blog matures and your posts reach a wider audience, you will undoubtedly notice an increase in your subscriber count. Using your blog's subscriber count is one method of analyzing your blog's growth, and can also offer statistics of page views and popular posts (Similar but not as detailed as Google Analytics ).

How to burn your feed

  1. The process to create a Feedburner feed depends on the platform your blog is using, but in order to start with any of then you will need to go to Google Feedburner Homepage and Login using your existing Gmail account or Google Apps account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can create one for free and sign into Feedburner.
  2. Identify your platform and proceed with the Google instructions for each case.
  3. In the instructions above remember that after you burn your feed you will need to redirect the feed from your blog to Feedbuner, in Blogger you do it from the Dashboard but for WordPress you will need a Plugging to do so.

How to activate FeedCount

Activating FeedCount is very easy and this will allow you to create a widget to display your follower's number as well as code a custom widget if you are tech savvy =] Here are the steps to activate and get the default widget:

    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  1. First you need to go to the Publicize menu tab on your Feedburner feed account
  2. After that go to the FeedCount submenu option on your left sidebar
  3. Now customize if you want a static or animated widget
  4. Choose the colors for your background and text
  5. Activate or save and they will show you the code you have copy and paste in the place on your blog you want the widget to show, paste it wherever you want to display and you are DONE!

How to automatically publish to Twitter

I have to say that this is one of my favorite options, because after I activated this I could forget about manually publishing my post to twitter each time I posted something new in my blog, the best part is that you can customize so it pulls your categories and uses them as hash tags in the tweet.

    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  1. First you need to go to the Publicize menu tab on your Feedburner feed account
  2. After that go to the Socialize submenu option on your left sidebar
  3. Now you have to link to your twitter account, just follow the stept when it prompts you and grand permission to Feedburner to use your twitter account
  4. Now it's time to customize your tweet, you should always have the inlude lick option so that people can actually go to the post you are tweeting about
  5. Remember I said you can customize so your tweet has hastags, here is hwere you have to select the “create hash tags from categories” from the drop-down, so the hash tag of your tweet will depend on the categorie/s you selected for your the post when you publish in your blog
  6. I really like the additional text option, so you can let your readers know that this is a post from your blog I do something like {New on the blog} or {A fresh post} to go before the post title on the tweet, so that my followers know that is a post and not a random tweet.
  7. If you publish on your blog multiple times a day and dont want to overload your followers you can also set a max number of tweets a day
  8. Or you can set it so you tweet only post in a specific category of your blog
  9. Click Activate or Save and you are all set!

How to activate Email delivery

I know there are a lot of Bloggers that prefer to not activate this option and offer only a snippet on their feed (and not the full post) so that their readers are “forced” to visit their blogs and that way increase their pageviews. But as a reader of various blogs, I personally hate this and simply unsubscribe from their feeds, I like the liberty of choosing how to “follow” a blog and I think my readers too, so I offer as many ways to receive my content as possible.

Activating Email delivery is a very easy process and it can increase your number of followers in a very radical way. Just to set an example, in this little blog 20% of my RSS subscribers are subscribed via Email, so never underestimate the Email delivery option.

Gettings started is very easy and if you are in Blogger you can pull the widget from the Blogger default widget list. If you are in WordPress.com you can offer it with a link and in WordPress.org you can just copy the code you will get after activating it (first step)

    ::: Activate the service


    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  1. First you need to go to the Publicize menu tab on your Feedburner feed account
  2. After that go to the Email subscription submenu option on your left sidebar
  3. Click on Activate and this will allow you to create a widget and link to offer this option to your readers
  4. After you activate the service, you will have a submenu on the sidebar where you can customize your email delivery even further, so I will explain all of the sub categories and how to make the best out of them.

    ::: Subscription management


    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  5. Click on “Subscription Management” link on the left side of you sidebar
  6. Select the language you want your widget
  7. You can copy and paste the code show above, but if you want you can select in their drop-down options and it will automatically create a widget for you
  8. On the bottom you can see a number of subscribers at the bottom, since this is a sample feed there is no subscribers, but once you do you can actually see all of the emails, suspend or pause their delivery. Not that you should stop it but its good to have control over who receives your updates. After you edit just click Save
  9. ::: Communication preferences


    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  10. Click on “Communication Preferences” link on the left side of you sidebar
  11. Here you can edit the email that will show when your subscribers receive their updates, by default it will show your Gmail account associated with your Feedburner account, so now it's your chance to change it to your blog's email
  12. You also have control over the subjet of the confirmation email that will be send to them when they subscribe to your email updates, you can edit to say whatever you want but remember that it is important that they need to confirm their subscription before it start working
  13. You can also edit the body text of the confirmation email
  14. After you are done with all of the edits just click Save
  15. ::: Email branding


    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  16. Click on “Email Branding” link on the left side of you sidebar
  17. You can edit the title of the email your readers will receive each time you post on your blog
  18. Feedburner offers you the change to add a logo image to the top of your email for branding purposes, upload your image to your blog and then copy the URL it should eb something like this http://www.YOURBLOG.com/YOUR_IMAGE_NAME.jpg but it might change depending on how you host your images. Copy the URL in that filed
  19. You can further customize the look of your email by setting colors and fonts
  20. You can preview how it would look there
  21. After you are happy with the setting click save
  22. ::: Delivery options


    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  23. Click on “Delivery Options” link on the left side of you sidebar
  24. Select your timezone
  25. Select the time you would like the emails to be delivered (eg. if you post during the day, morning emails would deliver everything you posted the day before)
  26. Click Save

Additional recommendations

There are some other options I personally thing are very useful when it comes to your feed so here is the extra steps I would recommend to go that extra mile on your feed management:

::: Activate smartfeed
Assure maximun compatibility with any feed reader

    [Click on Image to enlarge]

  1. First you need to go to the Optimize menu tab on your Feedburner feed account
  2. After that go to the SmartFeed submenu option on your left sidebar
  3. Click on the activate button and you are set!

::: Activate feedflare
Creates interactivity at the bottom of your feed so that your readers can share, see the comment count, etc from their readers.

    [Click on Images to enlarge]

  1. First you need to go to the Optimize menu tab on your Feedburner feed account
  2. After that go to the FeedFlare submenu option on your left sidebar
  3. Select all of the items you wish to add to your feed, you also have the possibility to crete your own if what they have for default is not enough =]
  4. Go to the very bottom of the page an activate the service
  5. You can drag and rearrange the order you want your flares to show at the bottom of your feed
  6. Click on the Save button and you are DONE!

For further Questions and explanations you can visit the Google help section dedicated to FeedBurner.
I hope you found this post helpful and if you have topics you would like me to cover just leave your suggestion in the comment section 😉
Keep warm and have a wonderful day!

Joy



About Joy

Joy Kelley is a Chilean Designer & lettering Artist. Mom to 3 little boys. Crafter. Pattern lover. Color obsessed. Lemon pie dependent. And the hand behind the HowJoyful Studio & HowJoyful Shop

16 replies
  1. Annie - The Ranting Latina
    Annie - The Ranting Latina says:

    Muchísimas gracias for this, Joy!! So thorough and easy-to-follow. I had my Feedburner feed active already, but I really appreciate you explaining all the other great additional options! I just activated them and they look awesome : ).

    Keep up the great work!

  2. V
    V says:

    GREAT tutorial!!! Yesterday I noticed my “subscribe by email” button wasn’t on my page. I couldn’t remember what widget I had before, so I installed the “navayan subscribe”. When I view my blog it says under Subscribe “you have already joined us”. Huh? Any ideas?? Can you recommend a better widget maybe? I already have all the feed burner stuff set up.

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      Hi V, I actually try to avoid any plugging that is not SUPER necessary. I code pretty much all of my plugging/widgets, so for that I can’t really recommend a plugging, but you could always use the default widget code that Feedburner provides, it’s pretty much the same (that is what I use) =]

  3. Sara
    Sara says:

    Joy this is SO helpful, oh my goodness! I’m ready to run home and start from the top to install feedburner! Thank you, thank you for this very detailed how-to! I plan to use it and I’ll let you know how I like feedburner. I am sure I will love it!

    • Joy
      Joy says:

      That’s awesome Sara! I hope you love it, there are some things that I still don’t like about Feedburner but the good compensate for that =]

  4. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been so lazy about dealing with blog issues! Had I kept up my blog 8 years ago it would probably be HUGE by now. I dumped it and am starting over. Argh! This was HUGELY helpful!!

  5. Angel Y.
    Angel Y. says:

    This is a great tutorial that is much needed in the blog world! I’ve been using Feedburner for years so it’s great to see that someone put in the time to make such a detailed tutorial for new bloggers. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Pam
    Pam says:

    Thank you very much, Joy, for such a detailed post, which helped me to delve further into Feedburner than I had before. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve pinned. I would love you to share this post at our Ongoing linky that’s just for Blog Tips

  7. Jason
    Jason says:

    why is it i cant see any menu options from my feeds page after logging into feedburner? it only asks to burn new feed or claim feed. i already have an active feed going into itunes, but cant seem to get to the page with the tabs to optimize – monitize- publicize – etc. this has been driving me crazy for weeks. any help is appreciated.

  8. Virgie Vukelich
    Virgie Vukelich says:

    One frequent perceived technical problem with FeedBurner is the reduced number of subscribers being reported for the blogs using the service. This is not actually a technical problem with FeedBurner, but by the feed readers and aggregators that report to FeedBurner, as FeedBurner collects and tallies from those partners. Usually this problem is connected with one specific RSS reader or client.

  9. Arvin
    Arvin says:

    Great tutorial for new blogger like me. In fact i am using feedburner but i am facing some difficulties. But because of your tutorial, i easily figure out how to have a smooth integration with feedburner and my blog. I actually apply your tutorial on my Outdoor Furniture website http://www.lifespace.com.sg

  10. Sissy
    Sissy says:

    I keep getting this error message:
    Error getting URL: 400 – Recursive feed redirection error: Are requests for your ‘Original Feed’ address — the feed that FeedBurner is checking for updates — being redirected to your FeedBurner feed? Make sure your Original Feed is provided from a web address that isn’t redirected to FeedBurner.

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