So you have your blog set up. Maybe you even have a few fans read your blog regularly and wait eagerly for your next post to go live (come on, I know you gabeanderson.com 6.0 fans are out there somewhere, right?). Then your readers start asking you about RSS feeds and email subscriptions.
Wait a minute… RS-what? If you’re not sure what RSS is (hint: it stands for Really Simple Syndication and allows people to read your blog without going to your blog), take a minute to check out the first tab in this interaction that my coworker Tom pulled together for his post on 5 Ways Web 2.0 Can Make You a Better E-Learning Designer (the video, RSS in Plain English, was created by commoncraft).
Now that you know what RSS is all about and why it’s a good thing to offer it to your readers via your blog, I’d encourage you to sign up for a FeedBurner account and send all your feed traffic through it.
OK, but you’re probably wondering why it’s better to use FeedBurner than just leveraging the default RSS link that you get with blogging tools like WordPress, Movable Type, and Blogger, right? Fair enough.
Once you set up your account, you’ll see that FeedBurner gives you 4 major ways to interact with and promote your feed: Analyze, Optimize, Publicize, and Monetize. With that in mind, here are some reasons I like to direct my RSS feed through FeedBurner for my readers:
- Thanks to the the FeedBurner-WordPress plugin I have installed, I don’t have to worry about which RSS link to use (all variations of my RSS feed go through FeedBurner).
- I can give you the option to get my feed via RSS feed (note the FeedBurner page that makes sign-up a snap) and/or email subscription (no more than 1 email per day).
- I can rest assured that all RSS and email subscriptions are being managed accurately and from a single source.
- I can get overview and detailed stats on how many subscribers I have for both RSS and email, and see how you’re accessing my blog (referral stats, browser type, country, your feed reader, and lots more).
- I can tell FeedBurner to automatically ping services like Technorati, Bloglines, and NewsGator whenever I publish a new entry, which helps to expand my potential readership by exposing my content on those highly trafficked sites.
- I can choose to show off how many readers I have with the FeedBurner FeedCount, which is a trusted and accurate measure of the popularity of a blog. For example, TechCrunch proudly displays that it has 698,000 readers. I don’t have nearly that many, so I’m not going to show off (yet).
Here’s what my Feed Stats Dashboard looks like:
Finally, note how at the end of this post (and every other), I give you the option to subscribe to my blog (I added that text and the links in my WordPress “Main Index Page” and “Single Post” templates).[ Subscribe to gabeanderson.com via email or RSS feed. ]