Series – Feedburner tips and tricks

December 28, 20102 Comments
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Subtle but effective blogging tips. This series of 5 posts explores just some of the tiny things that make a big difference.  Subscribe so you don’t miss out on the next one.

Not everything that you do with your blog needs to be bold, or risky in nature to improve. There are a number of more subtle things that you can do to improve the visitor experience, increase traffic, or engagement, without changing things drastically. Subtle touches and tweaks that ensure that your blog continues to perform, and your visitors continue to come back for more.

Subtle Feedburner tips

I use Google Feedburner to deliver my blog to email subscribers, however there are a number of settings that I hadn’t previously explored, that you should take care over when setting up and maintaining your blog. It’s a comprehensive service, currently undergoing a major new interface and overhaul – so some of the following are easy to miss. I currently have the following services turned on, with the following thinking behind them..

Under - Optimise:

Browserfriendly – Provides a landing page when someone clicks on your RSS link. Makes complete sense to enable this, as to non technical users, an RSS feed might put them off. Feedburner also include icons and quicklinks to the popular feed readers, which will have an affinity with the users that do understand the technology.

SmartFeed – Translates your feed on-the-fly into a format (RSS or Atom) compatible with your visitors’ feed reader application, giving a one feed fits all kind of approach to your RSS. This ensures maximum compatibility.

Feedflare – This is one setting I previously overlooked. Feedflare adds a number of calls to action at the bottom of your post, allowing your audience to do something next when they have finished reading. There are the usual suspects (Google Buzz, Share on Facebook, Add to Delicious) – but a growing number of feed flares are available in the relatively obscure Google FeedFlare Catalog.

For bloggers who aren’t catered for, the opportunity exists to build your own Flare with XML, for further inspiration see this help article. You are bound to find a call to action to suit your audience and site goals.

Feed Image Burner – This allows you to set the image property of your feed which some feed readers will use. This is a further opportunity to get your brand and logo in front of your audience, and increase click throughs and visibility when they are cycling through their own list of feeds.

Under - Publicise:

Email Subscriptions- A vital part of the Feedburner equation, this allows you to send feed updates as email.  There are a number of sub settings under this which are frequently missed out on. Namely:

Communication Preferences. This gives you the perfect opportunity to personalise the confirmation email that is sent to your potential subscribers. Increase your subscriber conversions with a punchy subject, and body which sounds personal, and invites them to click the confirm link. Many people miss a trick here, leaving it as the default Feedburner text.

Email branding. This setting controls how the email comes to your audience. I’ve had one reader specifically ask me to change this subject so they could more easily find my posts with keywords amidst the rubble. Well worth setting the subject of your email delivery to ${latestItemTitle} – which should provide incentive for clickthrough, as well as making things easier for your readers.

Delivery Options -  Gives you a way to control when an email goes out.  There are two things to consider here. Firstly, the locale of your audience.

Google Analytics reports will allow you to easily see where the majority of your audience currently reside, and you should set your Feedburner timezone to match this.

The Delivery time can also be controlled. Personally I prefer emails to go out first thing in the morning for the early starters, but you may want to delay that to say 10am (allowing people to clear the backlog of email they have received overnight) before sending. Feedburner statistics should allow you to experiment with whatever receives the greatest click through, as will Google Analytics. I’ve altered my own settings several times to find the sweet spot.

Pingshot – PingShot is a quick notification service that enables your feed to be updated in the widest variety of places as quickly as you add new content. It really is a must for every blogger. It uses the Pubsubhub protocol to more quickly enable indexing of your content, a subject which will be discussed more in depth in the next post.

The next post in the series will explore ‘pinging’ and how to ensure you effectively notify the correct services to enable fast indexing of your content.

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About the Author ()

Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

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  1. Julie says:

    I added a Feedburner to my blog a few months ago. However, not sure if this is Google or not, it does have the RSS icon. And I find that rather than individuals *Following* my blog, they are subscribing. Additionally, there is a lack of information since I don’t know where the RSS feed info is store or what account, etc.? Do you think it’s Google? How can I find out?

    Can RSS feed directly to a Facebook page, as the “Buzz” option I’ve read about.

    Appreciate your input & post!

    Julie

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