Giving Feedburner a try

I’m giving FeedBurner a try. FeedBurner addresses the thorny dilemma posed by RSS: while you know that it increases your readership, you have no frickin’ clue who’s reading your RSS feed.

FeedBurner swaps out your own with its version of your RSS feed (more on that in a minute); by running sophisticated tracking software on its end, it can keep track of how many unique readers you have at your RSS feed. Why is this important? In the first five months of 2004, my RSS feeds were hit 330,000 times. My homepage over the same period of time received 45,000 visits. Now the very nature of RSS feeds (that is, that they’re monitored throughout the day by aggregators) means that one person might account for 20, 30 or more of those hits in a day — but who knows?

I created FeedBurner-only copies of my RSS feeds, then pointed FeedBurner to those files. With the FeedBurner URL assigned to my RSS feeds, I then needed to make sure that all of you who subscribe to my RSS feed can still find it — even though, strictly speaking, the file you used to subscribe to is gone. (I deleted it from the server.)

With me? Good.

I updated .htaccess to include the following two lines:

redirect temp /tins/rss.xml

redirect temp /tins/index.rdf

Now any requests for /tins/rss.xml automatically redirect to the FeedBurner site, where FeedBurner does its statistical magic and can tell me how many people are reading my RSS feeds, how many links are clicked through and read, etc.

Amazing: in the time it took to write this post, 30 individual aggregators pinged my RSS feed.

I will provide updates here on how the experiment is going. So far, I’m very impressed.

4 responses to “Giving Feedburner a try”

  1. Burning It's Way to a Killer AppIf you have an RSS feed and you haven't checked out Feedburner, you should give it a good look. I did about a month ago from a recommendation from Rick Klau and his blog tins. I have to say that I'm impressed. So impressed I implemented it on our feed …

  2. Serving RSS Feeds With FeedburnerRick Klau points out several advantages to using FeedBurner for making RSS feeds available, especially for popular sites where bandwidth costs are an issue. The RSS feed owner uses .htaccess to redirect requests for their feed to FeedBurner. Here's Ric…

  3. Tips to get more out of your blogThe TechnoLawyer Newsletter today published a post by Rick Klau, VP of Business Development for Socialtext, lawyer, publisher of a great weblog and co-author of The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet, about how lawyers can get the most…

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