Saturday, 20 January 2007

Using Feedburner for your blog feed

[UPDATE]
Feedburner have now made this far easier - take a peek at this page for more information - the below article is no longer required!

[/UPDATE]
Firstly why would you use feedburner when there is a perfectly good feed already.

Simply because it lets you know how many people are subscribed to your feed!

Now this really isnt difficult to do, and feedburner have an excellent tutorial found here:-
http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/help/blogger_quickstart

What is slightly more difficult is changing the auto discovery property on the browser to detect and use feedburner rather than the old blogger atom one - however take a peek here
http://forums.feedburner.com/viewtopic.php?t=3377 and give it a shot, it is pretty good

Im going to answer some questions I have been asked about this here:-

  1. If you 'feed burn' do you then also have to 'turn off' the inherent way that blogger feeds? You have to hide the feed but not turn it off, this prevents new people from using it.
  2. If so, when you convert to feed burner do those people that have already subscribed lose their subscriptions and have to subscribe again, or isit transparent to them? The people already subscribed will not lose the subscriptions, but you should ask them to migrate to the new feed
  3. What if feed burner continues to grow and grow,is it possible that they get 'congested' and the feeds going through there slow down? It is possible, but not likely, they have proved very reliable so far!
  4. What do they tell you about the subscriptions...number, where they are from, networks etc? They tell you ROUGHLY how many people are accessing your feed - its not 100% perfect because it can only count things like Google RSS feeds once because Google is clever about the way it collects all its feeds and will only do it once not matter how many subscribers there are! - you can see what your users are using to get your feeds, and kind of where they are from - its not very good at that part - if you are interested in facts like this make sure you look into Google Analytics
  5. How likely is it to get things totally screwed up when converting over to them? Well this is possible, but not likely - I didn't:-). Make sure you backup your template before editing it if you are adding the auto discovery change.
  6. Question: Is it correct to assume that Google analytics, Which I am currently using, is compatible with the feedburner and auto-discovery changes
    Answer: Google Analytics is compatible in the sense that it will continue to work, however you don’t use Google analytics for information on your rss feed, you use feed burner. This does mean that you are going to use two separate systems for information about your blog unfortunately.
  7. Question: auto discovery, does the native blogspot feed use this
    Answer: Yes this is used by blogger so it does need to be replaced - the second link does show how this is done though.
  8. Question(paraphrased): What if it all goes wrong!
    Answer: make sure you make a back up of your html template before editing! That way if something goes wrong all you need to do is restore it!
Hope this helps, any problems then leave a comment and Ill try and help!


Ross

4 comments:

Howard Grill said...

Thanks very much...this is unbelievably helpful!!! I am carefully reading the information in the post and links tom try and get a handle on it. One or two more questions, please. Is it correct to assume that Google analytics, Which I am currently using, is compatable with the feedburner and auto-discovery changes? Also with auto discovery, does the native blogspot feed use this? In other words of I didn't have or somehow messed up auto discovery am I any worse off than I am now or is auto discovery inherent in the native feed of blogspot? Thanks again very much!

Howard Grill said...

Hmm, now I am really nervous. I just went ovet to feedburner and took a look at their forum and it seems like a lot of people hve a lot of technical problems. I realize that there may be hundreds of thousands that are not posting because they have no problems, but it sure looks like things can go terribly wrong and that the 'fixes' become somewhat technical to a person that is somewhat knowledgable but not really deep into the inner workings of how feeds work and how to fix HTML code if the straightforward first attempt goes awry. How easy is it to cance and just return back to the original feed setup if things don't work as expected. can you just delete the code that you had put i and go on with your business?

amber said...

hi, i know this is an older blog, but i am really curious how to find out about not only how many people are subscribed but who has subscribed. is it a free service through google?

i really appreciate your blog. so helpful!

Ross Dargan said...

Hi Amber

There is only so much infomation you can get about a user who visits your blog due to the anonoymous nature of the web.

What kind of infomation are you after about your subscribers?

Thanks

Ross