Perception Is Reality

Feedburner: Set It On Fire

Posted on: November 18, 2007

Hello,

 Now I have to admit, I am relatively a new individual in the blogging scene although it has been around since 1994 (yes, it has). I have recently been educating myself on the tools related to blogs, social bookmarking (which may be covered later on) and ofcourse, having your blog promoted. I recently tried a service called FeedBurner. Although I haven’t had much time using it, I will write about it incase people are new and want information.

 

According to their site, FeedBurner is “the leading provider of media distribution and audience engagement services for blogs and RSS feeds.” Very interesting. If you’re looking to advertise/market your blog to attract large audiences, you should “Set fire to it.” You may do this whether you’re relatively new, in hibernation or growing rapidly.

So how exactly does FeedBurner work? Well, first and foremost you need to sign up. Although the main page doesn’t say that you need to sign up to “burn” your feed, you do. The main page asks you to type in your blog URL or blog feed (for WordPress users, blog urls are as such: http://blogname.wordpress.com/feed/” where you replace “blogname” with the name of your blog. Right). Their scripts capture the title of your blog and ask you to activate your feed but before the process is fully complete you need to sign up.

Fast forward to the control panel, I have to admit that FeedBurner does have an awesome number of services. Their heirarchical structure for what users need to do is as follows:

Analyze: This is your dashboard where you are shown the stats of your blogs including the number of subscribers and hits.

Optimize: This is a beautiful part of the FeedBurner. This is where you “spruce up” your feed to make it look unique. The good thing about everything in FeedBurner – I fb2.jpgmight add – is that it has “services” which may be turned on or off. In other words, you may customize the generic services offered. Some services are:

1.Browser Friendly: Making Subscribing Simpler
2.Smart Feed: Reach the widest possible audience by translating feeds compatible with the visitors’ feed reader.
3.Feed Flare: My favorite – “Give your subscribers easy ways to email, tag, share, and act on the content you publish by including as many or few of the services listed below. FeedFlare places a simple footer at the bottom of each content item, helping you to distribute, inform and create a community around your content.” This according to the FeedBurner site. Now, the reason I love this tool is because, as opposed to bookmarking your entire blog on say, bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, it allows you to bookmark specific posts. This is even further customizable, where you can add these tags either in your feed URL, your blog, or both and in the order that they appear in. Unforunately for WordPress users, you cannot directly edit the coding in the themes, nor can you make your own (unless you host your own WordPress installation). That completely does away with this tool when it comes to WordPress Users.

Publicize: This is as important as any other option. There are services here again, where you can get widgets for your site for your users. Widgets include email subscription, headline animator (display rotating headlines), Chicklet chooser (chickletize your web site. Encourage people to subscribe to your feed by posting a friendly graphic in an easy-to-find location. ), Creative Commons and so on.

Monetize: The part you’ve all been waiting for. You may configure ads (both Google AdSense and FeedBurner Ad Network) to profit from your website. You put in time and effort into making a blog and it is only fair that you get compensated. Note: I haven’t tried this feature yet, so I do not know if WordPress users can use this unless they have their own installation hosted on their servers.

Troubleshootize: Glad they have this. But is that even a word? Maybe they’re trying to cause a revolution by coining one. Anyhow, this is exactly what you would want to look at when you’re having trouble. The FeedBurner is a relatively new service so it has its fair share of problems and you might find yourself visiting this location more often than not, but to no avail. FeedBurner does however have a service called FeedMedic. FeedMedic is…well, figure it out.

Problems with FeedBurner

I just started using FeedBurner and it was really really frustrating. When I tried making a new account it wouldn’t let me. There’s something wrong with their cookies control. It signs me out in 10 seconds sometimes, and other times it keeps me signed in saying I may have timed out. It doesn’t let me sign it at all ocassionally, just reloading the sign in page with no errors. This whole cookie business is the bane of any user’s existence, whether old or new and is exceptionally irritating. You may try coming around this situation by closing your browser and trying logging in in a new one.

I also noted that when I went to the forums to troubleshoot some widgets which I couldn’t use in WordPress, I noticed there were alot of spam messages in the forums, more than any legit posts. This makes me wonder: Is FeedBurner really active? FeedBurner did get aquired by Google and so they may be in transition, but this is just ridiculous. Note: FeedBurner is financed by venture capitalist firms like Mobius Venture Capital, Portage Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Union Square Ventures.

It remains to be seen how good FeedBurner is (by me anyway). I do recommend trying it out though. See if you can get around it with lesser trouble. Here’s hoping some of you will comment (Looks at Sameer Vasta).

Cherios!

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3 Responses to "Feedburner: Set It On Fire"

Been using Feedburner for about three years now, and have become disenchanted with it recently. It doesn’t allow the flexibility that I want from a feed aggregator, and doesn’t add any value that I can’t just duplicate by creating custom XML. Let me know what you think, because I know a lot of people that swear by it. It’s just not for me.

meh. i recently noticed it works well on firefox not on i.e.

Make peace, not war!

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About the Author…

Born in Karachi, Pakistan in an Adventist hospital, I grew up in a city where on one side I experienced poverty and oppression, while on the other I had the good fortune of Tabish Bhimani being a member of an upper middle-class business family...more...

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