You’ve read about Feedburner, and you probably know all its great benefits. If not, here are a few…

  • Creates a level of abstraction from your feed.  In English, this means if your RSS feed moves (say, you change domain names or install new blogging software) you won’t lose your subscribers.
  • Services
    • RSS by Email – Feedburner offers a subscribe by email service.  Subscribers can receive your post via email whenever you publish a new entry.  We offer RSS by email – click on the email icon in the upper right of any page of our site.
    • Number of Subscribers – Feedburner also keeps track of your subscribers so you can get a feed count.
    • PingShot - They also publicize when your feed is updated via pubsubhubbub.  If you’re curious, pubsubhubbub is a protocol that reduces the extraneous polling  by RSS readers subscribing to the traditional RSS protocol.  Instead of the reader asking “Have you updated yet?” the hubs say “Hey we have an update!” resulting in reduced latency and load.  That’s a good thing.
  • Socialize – You can configure Feedburner to automatically tweet when you’ve posted a new entry.  I prefer to tweet the announcements myself so I can control exactly what’s in the tweet but for some this is a valuable option.
  • Clickthroughs - Again, I prefer to track this via Google Analytics, but this is an easy option for those of you who don’t want to take the time to code clickthroughs.

Now you’re convinced…how do you configure a feedburner feed in a blog?

I’ll cover how to do it in HTML as well as the popular blogging engines.

HTML

If you’ve coded custom blog software, make sure your RSS is auto-discoverable.  It’s dead simple and allows most browsers and readers to find your feed on its own.  To add RSS auto-discovery to your blog, add this in the HEAD (change the URL from our SocialCloudNow URL to your site’s feed.

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="social cloud now RSS Feed"
href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/SocialCloudNow" />

WordPress

Option 1 – Use the FD Feedburner Plugin.  It will update your default feed to be your Feedburner feed.  Disclaimer – I’ve never used the plugin because I use Option 2.

Option 2 – Update it via your theme.  We use the Thesis theme here and it offers a place for you to customize your feed URL in Thesis Options > Syndication / Feed.

Movable Type

Editing the auto-discoverable RSS feed in a bit trickier in Movable Type.

Under Design > Templates, click on Template Modules under Quick Links and select Header. Scroll down a bit to the main_template tag (it should be toward the top) and find the tag for your RSS feed.  It will look like this

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Jody Pirrello RSS Feed"
href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/Jody Pirrello" />

Before making any changes make a backup of this file.  I usually do a ghetto backup by copying the entire contents of the header file and pasting it into Notepad.  You can do backups on MT as well but I like to avoid gunking up MT with these kinds of interim backups.  Your call.  Just make sure you back it up somehow.

Change the URL in the href to your Feedburner link.  If you see more than one RSS feed (e.g. you might see rss+xml and atom+xml) replace the URL of the feed that you used to configure Feedburner, and delete any the other tags.  You’ll see the portion of the HTML highlighted in blue below.

Movable Type RSS

Republish the entire site.

Confirming that it worked

If all went well, when you visit your blog you should see an orange RSS icon in your browser.  Click on it and depending on your system’s settings you should either be able to view your RSS feed (via the Feedburner link) or auto-link to your reader.

Now get burnin!

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