Since its launch in 2004, FeedBurner has become one of the best web feed management tools available. The company (acquired by Google in 2007) offers their subscribers traffic analysis, but additionally, an optional advertising system is also available. With the use of FeedBurner tools, website owners can easily find out the number of people who have subscribed to their feeds. Due to these advantages, millions of website owners redirect their feeds to FeedBurner.
Although FeedBurner can be used to manage all of your feeds, this guide will focus on the benefits offered to WordPress users.
Setting Up a FeedBurner Account
In order to merge feeds with the FeedBurner service, there are only few steps required. First of all, it is required to register an account at Google. If using Gmail or some other Google service, that account will suffice. It is also handy that the single Google account can host several feeds.
The next step is to enter the URL of the feed (assuming that the FeedBurner website is opened). The default WordPress RSS link is available on www.example.com/rss. Furthermore, it is required to choose the feed’s title and feedburner.com address. The final step concerns redirection of the original feed URL to its corresponding FeedBurner counterpart, which is something that can be achieved in several ways:
- As it is the case with many WordPress areas, redirection can be achieved with a plugin. Two great plugins that allow this are Feedsmith and FD FeedBurner.
- The second method is to redirect RSS to FeedBurner via HTAccess, using Apache directives that are put into the root HTAccess file of the specific website.
- The third method is to redirect RSS to FeedBurner via PHP, where specific lines of code are supposed to be put into the WordPress theme’s functions.php file.
Benefits of FeedBurner
The first reason why someone should hand RSS management to FeedBurner is the safety. It has millions of users and it’s owned by Google. Therefore, it is very unlikely that FeedBurner would suddenly close their door. There were some issues regarding the service, though, but these issues were always fixed in a reasonable amount of time.
An overview of FeedBurner benefits follows:
- Great analytical tools: FeedBurner offers comprehensive subscriber statistics, click-throughs, and many other key statistics as well.
- Integrated Adsense: Through FeedBurner, it is very easy to manage and monetize feeds with Adsense.
- SmartFeed: this feature formats feeds to work with probably all the available feed readers.
- Numerous optimization options: FeedBurner offers Geotagging, FeedFlares, Link Splicing and several other optimization tools.
- Publicizing: FeedBurner offers several great publicizing tools, such as a Headline animator feed branding, email subscriptions, etc.
- Data export options: FeedBurner allows data exportation through Excel or CSV formats, which enables easy further analysis.
- Expandability: FeedBurner provides web service application programming interfaces which allow other software to interact with the FeedBurner itself.
The benefits of FeedBurner, as outlined in this article, are most notably ease of use, automatic tracking, numerous tools, easy configuration and what’s best – it’s completely free of charge. Although FeedBurner sometimes encounters certain technical problems, they are usually fixed quite fast.
Chris Coyier & Jeff Starr: Digging into WordPress