feedburner

Feedburner Is Getting a Makeover, But What About Features?

New FeedBurner

The FeedBurner re-design has been in beta testing for a few months now, but does it make the service better?

I’m a big fan of FeedBurner and I really like the new look and feel as its much cleaner and matches other Google products, however since it’s so familiar, it feels a little lacking.

At this time there is no way to select a date range other than the pre-defined time periods that are offered, there is no way to export data, and there is no way to tie data points together; such as referring URLs to posts.

What I’d really like to see is FeedBurner integrate this information into Google Analytics. The two services are very similar in what they do, and how they look, that it feels like they should live together. Hopefully then FeedBurner could utilize some of the great features in Google Analytics to make this data more robust.

Why your blog should have a Facebook & Twitter account.

Twitter Facebook

We all have email, yet our inboxes are often overloaded. RSS is great, but some are letting RSS take a back seat as they are to busy on social networks.

Where is everyone? They seem to be on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter and Facebook are two of the fastest growing sites on the internet which makes them two of the biggest networks that your blog should be promoting its content.

The easiest way to do that is to set up your blog with its own Twitter profile and Facebook page.

One of the biggest reasons is for branding. Most people know that protecting the brand is very important. You own the domain, you have the legal rights to the name, so why don’t you have the Twitter profile and Facebook page too? The last thing you want is to try to register your brand only to find out someone has already taken it.

How To Syndicate Your Blog to Social Networks

Social SyndicationA blog should be considered the central hub of your social networking universe. Everything you do should drive traffic back to your blog, or website, as a way of combining all your efforts to give your brand maximum exposure.

Once thing you can do to help populate your social networks would be to update your status with your blog posts when new content is published.

By no means is auto-populating a service like Twitter going to get good results on its own, but as one piece of a social networking strategy, it can help a network grow.

Here are just a few of the many ways you can automatically syndicate a blog post to social networks.

Search Engines Bringing Back Variables In URLs – At Your Expense

Duplicate ContentDid you realize that search engines have gone full circle on URLs in variables? It used to be considered something to avoid, now search engines are saying variables in URLs are good, as long as you use the canonical meta tag. Google is pushing them with FeedBurner and if webmasters aren’t careful, they could fall victim to a new onslaught of duplicate content issues.

One of the biggest issues with SEO is duplicate content. If search engines can’t tell which version of a document is the original or canonical version, then there can be consequences involving less than ideal search visibility. For example, the following URLs might all point to the same web page, creating the illusion that they are copies of the same thing. But in reality, it’s just one web page.

FeedBlitz Ups Its Game and Creates a FeedBurner Alternative

FeedBlitz LogoFor years, the only way to get a good understanding of how many people are reading and interacting with your blog feed was to run your feed though FeedBurner.  Now, FeedBlitz has a service to compete.

FeedBlitz RSS claims to offer better branding, more social media integration by integrating Twitter and other social networks, a mobile optimized version of your feed, better SEO, filtering, and additional feed stats.  I was hoping for some screenshots on FeedBlitz’s site, but they don’t currently offer any.

FeedBlitz PricingUnlike FeedBurner that is free, FeedBlitz RSS is paid.  The price minimum is $1.49 per month and goes up from there based on the number unique active email subscribers in your account.  This is where it gets a little confusing.

SEO Through Blogs & Feeds at SES

Blogging MonkeysWhile out at SES San Jose, I couldn’t pass up the SEO Through Blogs & Feeds session. On the panel were Stephan Spencer of Netconcepts, Rick Klau from FeedBurner (now Google), Doug Hay of Expansion Plus Inc. and Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR.

Here are a few of the blog optimization tips they gave out.

  • Ensure your feeds are showing the full post, not just excerpts.
  • Up the number of items in your feed from 10 to 20 to give users more.
  • Consider promoting other feeds such as categories & comments.
  • Be sure your blog has a good internal linking structure. This can be done through category names, tag names or linking to your other posts inside new posts.

8 Reasons Why Blogger Rocks

Blogger Draft LogoWordPress.com is all the rage, but Blogger has been around for quite a while and there are a few perks to using it. Here are a few I could come up with.

  1. Editable Templates – No extra fee here, you can customize your Blogger templates to meet your needs.
  2. Easier Widgets – This one comes from Anthony who feels that the ability to add widgets (or page elements) to Blogger is easier than over at WordPress.
  3. AdSense – Blogger makes adding ads quite easy. Before you know it, you’ll be making a quarter a day!
  4. Video Upload – Currently in draft mode, but Blogger is going to allow direct video uploading into your post. The functionality is much like you already do for images. Sadly it doesn’t also publish to YouTube from what I can tell.

FeedBurner Pro Goes Free for All

FeedBurner ProIf you missed the announcement just before the Fourth of July holiday weekend, FeedBurner Pro is now free. That’s one of those good things about a Google acquisition; things become free. All users now get Pro stats and MyBrand for feeds.

Honestly, I never quite saw why the Pro features were so great. MyBrand is a cool thing, but I prefer to promote and use my own feed URL that has been redirected to the FeedBurner version.  I do this with the FeedSmith WordPress plugin from FeedBurner.

The two additional stats items do sound nice though. Reach estimates the number of users that interact with our feed (including feed search engine or news filter sites) and we get better click though stats.

Now everyone is a Pro at FeedBurner thanks to Google. :)

Optimize FeedBurner Emails

One nice option that FeedBurner offers is the ability to send out blog updates via email. This is a vital option as there are many more people that understand email but don’t understand feeds.

Just turning on email subscriptions is a good start. Customizing the email that goes out is even better. FeedBurner allows you to edit the subject, fonts, sizes, colors, message and add your own logo. There are really only a few options, but you can better brand your emails with the options available.

To customize your FeedBurner emails, log into your FeedBurner account and click on your feed. Then click on the Publicize tab and then Email Subscriptions in the left column. If this option is not activated, do so now.

Domain Name Integrity for Blogs and RSS URLs

rssicon-med.jpg

We started Online Marketing Blog in December 2003 using Blogger and the feed was run through Feedburner. Recently we had that old RSS feed redirected to the current blog running on WordPress. This redirection through Feedburner of the old feed to the new feed only works for 30 days and then the old feed dies.

Just in case there are some long time Online Marketing Blog RSS subscribers from 2003-2004 that have not updated which RSS feed they subscribe to, be sure to use:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/onlinemarketingseoblog

This is yet another example of why you should use your own domain name for both the blog and the RSS feed from day one. Doing so gives you control over whether you want to change hosting or blogging software platforms in a way that is fairly transparent to readers. Otherwise, you’re stuck doing what we have to do here, and ask readers to make the change instead of the change happening in the background.

Performancing Metrics Rises From The Dead

I’m constantly looking for a nice, quick and easy blog stats. Google Analytics is a great program, but it’s a bit complex for my daily checks. I’ve tried quite a few and recently Performancing Metrics came back online. It’s not really a new service, but it is a great step forward.

Performancing Logo

Performancing Metrics now uses Clicky stats as its core. It wasn’t built from the ground up, but rather re-branded. I’m not sure what it offers as unique, but regardless, it’s still a nice stats program with the promises of unique features yet to come.

So what makes Performancing Metrics different? Well it’s more about what is happening now then rather aggregating data. It’s great for seeing what’s happening today, but not great for finding out what happened over the past month.

Feed Optimization Tip: Don’t Forget the FeedFlare

FeedFlareFeedBurner is the only service (that I know of) that will re-publish a blogs feed in order to get feed stats. Being such a great service, many users use it only to figure out how many readers their blogs have. However, FeedFlare is a great addition to any FeedBurner feed as it builds interaction and social media links into each post.

FeedFlare allows publishers to easily build “interactivity” into the content they create, making it simple for subscribers to tag, email or share their content with others. Publishers can include a variety of services including a live display of the number of comments to each post, the ability to email the author directly and show the number of blogs that link to their item.