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Take Feedburner feeds to the next level: A visual how-to guide

Feedburner offers fantastic ways to get more from your RSS or Atom feeds. The features discussed in this entry aren't enabled by default, so make sure you read each one!

Optimizing your feed with Feedburner

The first thing we'll do is make your feed accessible by more people. Which ultimately means more subscribers. To do this we'll look at the optimize tab of your Feedburner control panel as shown below:

Optimize tab

Making your feed browser friendly

Prevent your RSS feed from looking like gobbledygook when someone trys to subscribe and offer easy links to subscribe with common services at the same time!

  1. Under Appearance Options set Theme to ClearFeed, which makes it super easy for readers to subscribe in their favorite service or program
  2. Under Content Options set Feed Content to List item titles only to make this page load quickly (by default it shows full content of last 10 items)
  3. Under Content Options set up a Personal Message to add some sincerity to the page

Optimize feed for browsers

Make your feed compatible with more readers

Don't worry about providing separate feeds for RSS and Atom. One Feedburner feed goes both ways.

It's not activated by default; Simply Activate this service and redirect both RSS and Atom feeds to Feedburner.

More compatible feeds

Make it easier to share and interact from within your feed

Links to share and comment are at the bottom of your blog, but what about in your feeds? Feedburner inserts those links automatically.

Simply check the options you want to show at the bottom of your feed content. I recommend Comments Count, Email This, and Save to Delicious; change to your taste/audience.

Add links to share and comment in your feed

Make your feed easier to identify in readers

Blog publishing services may not offer as much flexibility to name your blog feed as you like. Feedburner allows you to set a name and description manually.

Write a clear Title and Description that will help people identify and differentiate your feed among others.

Name and describe your feed

Publicizing your feed with Feedburner

The second thing we'll do is promote your feed, which also means more subscribers. To do this we'll look at the pubicize tab of your Feedburner control panel as shown below:

Publicizing and promoting your feed

Setting up email subscriptions: Communication preferences

E-mail subscriptions are powerful. If you aren't providing this service and making it an obvious subscription method you're losing out.

Under Communication Preferences you can tweak your "From" Address" and Confirmation Email Body. Most important is that you change the Confirmation Email Body so it matches your writing voice.

Setting email subscription communication options

Setting up email subscriptions: Branding your email subscriptions

Under Email Branding I highly recommend changing the default Email Subject/Title to include the blog post title with ${lastItemTitle}.

Branding your email feed

Setting up email subscriptions: Delivery schedule

There are certain times people are reading their email the most, and you want to get them at this time. Under Delivery Options choose a Schedule Email Delivery time to just before lunch, which allows people to get into the office and address priority work items (note that this time is not a silver bullet though).

Setting email feed delivery time

Alerting services of feed updates

Timeliness is what it's all about on the Web when it comes to information. Feedburner has an option to alert your readers as soon as you update your feed.

Simply activate the PingShot service and you're done!

Pinging services when your feed is updated

Build the credibility of your feed

To-be subscribers like to see that others are subscribing to your feed, too; It lets them know that you're probably not publishing junk. If you're not the developer-type Feedburner offers a simple way to show off your subscriber count.

Customize your FeedCount Chicklet then copy & paste the generated HTML somewhere on your blog.

Show subscriber count to increase feed credibility