Forget about Feedburner and Start Thinking About Your Feed

{Image from Where’s My Glow}

Update: Thanks to Liz for providing her link (you can click through from the comments) which clarifies some issues with the API. So based on that the plugin won’t work. Which gives you three options. 

1) Stay with Feedburner, but you’ll need to update all of your feeds to the feedburner address because the plugin won’t work. Should you ever want to move or migrate your feed you will need to ask the vast majority of your subscribers to re-subscribe to either your domain feed or your new feed, wherever that may be. Your stats will still update as per usual with Feedburner.

2) Update your feed links to your domain feed. Chances are some people have already signed up to subscribe this way and you have some people on your domain feed and some on your feedburner feed. You will not have access to stats. That way anyone new who signs up will be on your domain feed and if you ever wanted to move or migrate your feed you will not need to ask those people to re-subscribe.

3) There are paid options, like Feedblitz. They have a redirect plugin that works. You direct all your links to your domain feed. Your stats update. And if you ever wanted to move or migrate your feed you will not need to ask people to resubscribe because they are signed up through your domain feed, not the Feedblitz feed.

Personally, I’d much rather have an option where if I wanted to move my feed I could do that without needing to ask people to resubscribe. 

There has been a whole lot of talk about feedburner lately. It’s not really clear what is happening, which makes a whole lot of people very nervous. Apparently the feedburner API is being deprecated as of the 20th October. This might mean nothing. It might mean the service will cease to operate. It might mean the service will still provide feeds but not report stats. It might mean that they are simply re-branding the service in some way. It’s extremely difficult to get any definitive information. And it’s a free service. A really cool, useful free service. But a free service that has no obligation to anyone. Which makes people very nervous. Especially when all of a sudden everyone’s feeds drop to zero. But this looks like an issue they are investigating so it looks unrelated!

But before you worry about feedburner, you need to worry about your feed. 

A feed is the lifeblood of a blog. Most feeds are more popular than the actual site. Usually people will subscribe to your feed either by email or by RSS. Email subscribers are easy to migrate because they aren’t annonymous. But there is no way of tracking RSS subscribers so they are a whole lot harder to migrate. And regardless of what service you use to deliver your feed, you want to hold on to those subscribers.

Most people who use feedburner use a plugin to redirect their site feed from www.mysite.com.au/feed (or similar) to a feedburner address. And then the sidebar links to subscribe via rss or email will link directly to feedburner. This allows feedburner to pretty up the feed, ad some sharing options and provide you with stats. But do you really want your precious subscribers being owned by a third party?

So what’s the solution?

The solution is actually really simple. You keep the plugin to deliver your feed. But change your links advertising your feed to your domain feed. It will still be redirected and delivered by feedburner (or whatever third party service you use) but should you ever want to move or migrate or the feedburner service closed down you still have all of your RSS subscribers because they are connected to your domain feed and not your feedburner delivery address.

Comments

  1. Hey Zoey – are you suggesting (in the above) that I change my feed address (that is linked to the RSS button in my sidebar) back to my domain feed address?

    • Yes Kelly! That’s exactly what I’m saying. If you use a third party feed service (like feedburner) and use a plugin to do your redirect, that service will still be delivering your feed (and able to calculate your numbers for you) but the subscriber will be connected to your domain and not the third party domain.

  2. Hey Zoe,

    The closure of the API simply means that developers using the API for plugins and their own use won’t be able to any more. If you are relying on a plugin to redirect for your feed, this will effect you.

    It WILL NOT effect stats directly. It WILL NOT effect what goes on inside the feedburner dashboard.

    I would say in the majority of cases feeds would not receive more visitors than your blog itself.

    If you’re keeping the plugin used to redirect your feed you will be effected. If you change your feed direction back to your /feed — people will still see your feed just fine, but the stats will not be traceable on Feedburner, or whatever you use — but as you said, yes, you would keep them with your local feed. However that doesn’t help for anyone you already have subscribed to your feedburner/other feed.

    I have posted about it here: http://lizosaurus.com/2012/09/panic-and-your-rss-feeds/

    • Thank you for that Liz! That clarifies some of the things that I wasn’t clear on. I must be special then with far more people on my feed than my personal blog!

      So the plugin redirect will only work until the 20th of October.

      I do think that it is a mistake to have people sign up through the feedburner (or any third party) address. Yes, if you still use feedburner this will mean that you don’t have accurate data on your feed, but it means you are completely in control of your own subscribers. And you don’t stand to lose those subscribers if you decide to move or if the service decides to change at any time.

      Also, with other providers you can redirect via plugin, point people to your domain feed, prompt people to update the feed address for anyone still on feedburner and have all the access to the stats, but these do tend to be paid services so it depends if that is something you are willing to pay for or not.

  3. I don’t understand what and how I’m suppose to do this lol.

    • Basically if you want to stay free and not pay for a service you have two options:

      1) Point everything to the feedburner address which would look like feeds.feedburner.com/username. The feed will still work and update in readers. But if you ever wanted to move or the service changed or closed you will not be able to do that with your rss subscribers. You would with your email subscribers.

      2) Point everything to your domain address which would look like yoursitename.com/feed. The feed will still work and update in readers. But you won’t know how many subscribers you have. Your feed is then in your control. So you aren’t relying on a third party and if you ever wanted to take advanatage of another third party service or a paid service you could.

      Hope that clears it up!

      • I think I’m already doing that. If I click on the rss button I have on my site it takes me to a page with the rss feed.

        Thanks Zoey

        • I just checked your site. You are linking to the feedburner feed. So what you do from here is really up to you. You can keep it there and it will still update and work and provide you stat info but if you wanted to move it you would need to ask everyone to re-subscribe.

          Or you could change it over to your domain feed, not receive any stats but you won’t have to ask people to re-subscribe if you ever wanted to move it or migrate it to another service.

  4. I have so much to learn….
    I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about…
    WIP genius ….
    I envy your ability to understand all this stuff. Well done Zoey.

Speak Your Mind

*