Burn Your Feed with FeedBurner: Blogging Tips #4

Once you’re up and rolling with a few blog posts, you may wonder if anyone’s
reading your. For page views and visitors, there are plenty of stats programs to
choose from from those provided by your web host to 3rd party stats programs.
However, one area where there really is only one choice is for web feed
management. If you’re interested in tracking how many people have subscribe to
your site’s RSS feed you’ll need to burn it through
FeedBurner.

What the does that mean? It basically means you tell FeedBurner the location
(URL) of your blog’s RSS feed so FeedBurner can subscribe to it. FeedBurner then
provides you with a new URL for your feed and you point your visitors to the
FeedBurner version of your feed for subscriptions.

Example: www.yourdomain.com/feed becomes feeds.feedburner.com/yourdomain

FeedBurner will provide reporting to you beyond what you’ll likely be able to
track by yourself. This includes subscription levels, click throughs from RSS
readers to your site, errors your feed may have, and other fun stuff.

One of the nice things about this is you end up with only one subscriber,
FeedBurner, hitting your site directly to check for new posts. Everyone else is
hitting FeedBurner. This makes a difference if your feed becomes popular. For
example, imagine having hundreds of thousands of subscribers hitting your site
every 30 minutes to check for new posts. That kind of traffic can be a pain to
deal with. To put this in perspective, the feed for Technology Evangelist gets
hit around 4 times a minute.

Another nice thing about FeedBurner is their ad network. Once your feed reaches
an undisclosed number of subscribers (cough – 500ish – cough), your site may be
accepted into the FeedBurner ad network. FeedBurner will give you the option of
selling ads on your behalf, thus putting money in your pocket with no work on
your part.

It’s worth noting that some people have had reservations about pointing their
subscribers to an external URL for RSS subscriptions. If this is something that
bothers you, set up a CNAME entry in your DNS records pointing the URL of your
choice from your domain to your FeedBurner URL. For example, you could turn
feeds.yourdomain.com into your site’s feed URL, assuming you have control over
your domain’s DNS records (this isn’t the case for blogs hosted with Blogger,
Typepad, WordPress.com and other hosted solutions unless you’ve mapped a domain
to their servers).

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