If you hang around the blogosphere long enough, you’re going to run into Feedburner, a sort of Pimp My Ride for RSS feeds. Feedburner lets you track your feed subscribers, add flare to each item, recruit subscribers, and make money from your feed. In my Blogger’s Guide to Feedburner series, I’ll help you set up your own Feedburner feed and dissect the service with you. In this post, we’ll set up your feed and familiarize ourselves with the Feedburner interface. Interested?
- Go to Feedburner.com, and create your own Feedburner account. When you log in, you’ll either be directed to the My Feeds page or to a page that prompts you for a feed URL. Regardless, you’ll need your blog’s original RSS feed URL. Since you probably don’t know it off the top of your head, open a new tab or window, go to your blog, and double-click the orange RSS icon in the URL bar. (If the RSS icon isn’t present on your blog, you probably have the RSS feed turned off. Double check your feed settings from your blogging interface’s dashboard.)
- When you double-click the RSS icon, you’ll most likely be directed to another page. Every browser renders this page a bit differently, so look for a URL (either on the page or in the URL bar) that resembles http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default or http://blogname.wordpress.com/feed/atom. Copy this URL, and paste it in the Burn a Feed Right This Instant text box. Click Next.
- On the Welcome! Let Us Burn a Feed for You page, enter a feed title and edit your feed’s URL. The title and URL can be whatever you like; generally, the title should match that of your blog, and the URL should be similar to your blog title (subject to availability). If you’re going to change your feed’s URL, do it now. While you can go back and change it later, any subscribers you have will also have to update the feed URL in their feed readers. When you’re finished, click Activate Feed.
- On the Congrats! page, click Next.
- On the Get More Gusto page, you’ll see a handful of options to track some statistics for your feed and your blog. In my experience, these additional stats are not particularly helpful, especially if you’re already using Google Analytics. (Analytics is Google’s free web statistics program. To learn more, check out Linden’s Google Analytics blog series.) Click Next.
- On the Your Feed is Ready for the World page, there are a few further instructions for specific blogging interfaces. If you’re using Blogger, click Redirect Your Blogger Feed to Your Feedburner Feed. On the new page that opens, skip down to Tracking 100% of your Feed Traffic, and follow directions 1-6. If you’re using WordPress, you needn’t do anything else to set up your blog.
Now that your feed is burned, familiarize yourself with the Feedburner interface, especially what you’ll be using most often. In the top left corner, you’ll see My Feeds, My Networks (we’ll discuss these on Monetize day), and My Account. On the My Account page, you have the option to edit your settings and add features to your account. On the My Feeds page, you’ll see a list of your feeds and their corresponding number of subscribers. When you click on a feed title, you’ll be directed to that feed’s Stats Dashboard. From here you can edit your feed’s details, delete the feed, or transfer the feed. You can also Analyze, Optimize, Publicize, Monetize, and Troubleshootize your feed. We’ll look at these more closely in coming posts.
Your feed is well on its way to being pimped out. In the coming posts, we’ll look at Analyzing, Optimizing, Publicizing, Monetizing, and Troubleshootizing your feed. For next week, subscribe to your blog using the new URL, and write a test post. If your feed isn’t working, we’ll address possible problems then.