March 1, 2011

Blog Tips: Setting up FeedBurner

FeedburnerIf you are not using FeedBurner on your blog, you are missing out on one of the most powerful ways to make your content more accessible to your readers. In this tip, I'll show you how to set up FeedBurner to handle your blog's feed and position you to take advantage of the many things this free service can do for you. You have installed a system to track blog traffic, but if you are not using FeedBurner, you are missing lots of great information about how your blog's feed is being used. But FeedBurner can do far more for you than provide statistics. Think of it as a platform on which you will be able to build.

Head over to FeedBurner now. Login with your Google account. Now enter your blog's URL or the URL for your RSS/Atom feed in the space where it says "Burn a feed right this instant. Type your blog or feed address here:" and click "Next." FeedBurner will then allow you to enter a title for your feed. I'd suggest the name of your blog. As you click "Next" a couple more times, you'll be presented with a few options. The only one that is important for now is to check the box labeled "I want more! Have FeedBurner Stats also track..."

You will eventually end up on a page that says "Your feed is ready for the world. Now what?" This means that your FeedBurner feed has been created and you are almost done (for now). Click the Optimize tab at the top of the page and select SmartFeed from the left menu. Click the "Activate" button. Now click the Publicize tab at the top and then click Email Subscriptions on the left. Click the "Activate" button and use the code below to add this to your blog. This gives your readers the option to subscribe to your feed via email. Since many are comfortable with email but clueless about RSS readers, this will make your content more accessible.

Finally, click "Chicklet Chooser" from the left menu. Select whichever size of the standard feed icon you like and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the code. This makes it easy for those who do use RSS readers to subscribe to your feed. Add this code to your blog too. That's it! You're done, at least for now.

We've only scratched the surface, and we'll come back and tweak some of the FeedBurner options in later tips. The important thing is that you've set up your FeedBurner feed and made it accessible by providing your readers with two ways to access it from your blog: a direct link to the RSS feed and an email subscription link (or form). In short, you now have a solid foundation on which we will be able to build.