Every blog owner needs to know about RSS feeds, where to find them and how to use FeedBurner to enhance their potential. The reason it's referred to as a “feed” is because, each time you publish a brand new article, your feed is also updated. FeedBurner is a free service provided by Google that provides an easy way for people to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed using their favorite feed reader. They can also get your RSS feed delivered by email through FeedBurner's email subscription options.
Do I Have An RSS Feed?
Yes! The content in every blog has a feed. Basically a feed or RSS is an easy way for your audience to access your content and get notified when you publish a new post. By subscribing to your feed, your readers don't have to keep coming back to your blog only to discover you haven't published any new posts yet!
I know what you're thinking “but I want them to keep coming to my blog, that will give me more traffic“. Trust me, in the long run you'll be happy you have a feed, it adds functionality to your blog and helps you stay connected with your readers. You'll use the feed to promote your blog on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed and with blog promotion tools like CommentLuv.
But Where is My Feed?
The raw (or default) for your self-hosted WordPress blog and for WordPress.com blogs use this format (replace “blogname” with your blog title):
- Atom: http://blogname.worpress.com/feed/atom/
- RSS: http://blogname.wordpress.com/feed
The raw (or default) feed for every Blogger blog uses this format (replace “blogname” with your blog title) :
- Atom: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
- RSS: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
- Atom: http://blogname.typepad.com/blog_folder_name/atom.xml
- RSS: http://blogname.typepad.com/blog_folder_name/rss.xml
How to “Burn” Blog RSS Feeds to FeedBurner
You need a Google account to sign up for FeedBurner. This video gives step-by-step instructions to Make a FeedBurner RSS for Your Blog or Podcast.
- Add your logo or Gravatar
- Customize the timing and message that goes out to people who subscribe by email
- Add FeedFlare for easy social sharing on Facebook, StumbleUpon, by email and more
- Tweet each new blog post to Twitter using Twitterfeed or HootSuite
- Promote the subscriber counts of your RSS Feeds (get the HTML code from the FeedCount option in FeedBurner) in a widget
This list isn't complete, and I'm sure you have some tips to share about how you take advantage of FeedBurner feed.
Getting FeedBurner Subscribers is not the same as “building an email list”
You might want to encourage your readers to subscribe to your RSS feed via email, but just to be clear about this, that is NOT the same as building a list for the purpose of email marketing. You need an outside service in order to do this and I highly recommend using AWeber. When you use an email marketing service you can send your subscribers additional messages or newsletters that will help you connect with your audience of readers on a completely different level. I go into great detail about the difference between RSS subscribers and building a list of email subscribers in this video: Subscribers: A Content Marketers Greatest Asset
Where To Submit Your FeedBurner RSS Feed
You can submit your RSS feed to some popular blogging communities to help get your content noticed. Here are a few sites that I recommend:
- HootSuite – post to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ Page, LinkedIn
- Twitterfeed – post to Twitter
- Dlvr.it – post to Twitter and Facebook
- PostPlanner – post to Facebook
I'm sure you can find hundreds of other services that will post to social networks when you submit your FeedBurner RSS. However, I caution you to use this feature in moderation. In order for your social media strategy to be effective you must visit each of these networks to engage and interact with your fans and followers.
For example, I set up Dlvr.it so that it will auto-post to Twitter any new posts from my trusted friend and mentor Lisa Irby's blog. I know that I would end up sharing their posts anyway and most of them are auto-posting my new content as well. However, I still take the time to visit their blogs, share their content on other networks and I also make it a point to thank them publicly on Twitter. So please use this strategy in moderation and don't get tempted to auto-post more than you are interacting or eventually your shares will be ignored.