Feedburner is probably the most recognized and utilized feed services available to Bloggers. Alongside Blogger and other services, Feedburner is owned by Google making this (and other services) increasingly well-integrated with other services which are useful to bloggers.
Despite these close links, well-publicised documentation and ease of use, I am still surprised to see that few Blogger bloggers make full use of Feedburner’s free services. So in this post, I’ll explain 5 useful tips for Blogger users to enhance their blogs with Feedburner.
1. Redirect your blog feeds though Feedburner
All Blogger blogs produce feeds for recent posts; however in their native form these feeds are in Atom.xml format: one which is not compatible with all feed readers and which appears as raw xml unless viewed in an appropriate browser.
To ensure that anyone can view and subscribe to the feeds produced by your Blogger blog, it is advisable – and even preferable – to redirect your feeds through Feedburner.
This has many benefits to both blogger and readers:
- Ensure complete compatibility of your blog feeds for all feed readers
- Get statistics of your subscriber base
- Make is easy for readers to subscribe in their feed reader or via email
- Choose to use summaries of your posts if you prefer
- Make use of many other free Feedburner services, including monetization,”Feedflare”, clicklets, “BuzzBoost” and more!
Redirecting your Blogger feeds though Feedburner is simple and involves only a few steps:
- If you haven’t already done so, register with Feedburner and add your blog’s feed.
- Make a note of the Feedburner URL for your newly-burned feed (eg: http://feeds.feedburner.com/your-feed-name).
- Go to your Blogger dashboard and click on Settings>Site Feed
- On this page, type your Feedburner feed into the section titled “Post Feed Redirect URL”.
- Save these settings.
Now when you view your Blogger feed in your browser, you will see this is automatically redirected though Feedburner to ensure compatibility for all readers and ease of use.
For more information and a detailed walkthrough of this process, take a look at this page from the official Blogger Help site.
2. Set up Email Subscriptions
As bloggers, most of us are familiar with RSS and feed subscriptions. However, as blogs become more and more popular as a means of publishing online, the difference between regular websites and blogs becomes less easy to recognize.
Many visitors to our blogs may not even realise these are blogs, let alone how to subscribe for regular updates! To make it easy for anyone to receive updates of your newest posts, it is advisable to set up email subscriptions for your site.
Feedburner’s email subscription service is highly reliable and completely free to use, no matter how many subscribers you have for your blog.
The easiest way to encourage subscribers to sign up for email updates is to provide a subscription form in your blog’s sidebar. Feedburner make this especially easy for Blogger users to achieve as we can add this as an auto-install widget though the Feedburner dashboard.
Here is the easiest way to add an email subscription form to your Blogger blog:
- Log in to your Feedburner account and choose the feed you want to work with.
- Once you have accessed the dashboard for your feed, click the Publicize tab and choose Email Subscriptions from the left-hand column.
- Click the button to “Activate” this service.
- On the refreshed page, choose the language you prefer to use for your form, then scroll down the page a little until you see the section which says: “Use as a widget in…”. From this drop-down menu, choose “Blogger” and hit “Go”.
- You’ll then be redirected to Blogger which enables you to choose which of your blogs you would like to add this widget to as a “Page Element”. Simply choose the blog you want to add the form to and click “Add Widget”. The Feedburner email subscription form will then be added to your blog sidebar with no manual intevention.
3. Set up Feedflare for easy bookmarking and syndication of your posts
Feedflare offers an easy way for subscribers and readers of your blog to tag, bookmark and share your blog posts using a variety of services which you can choose.
When you choose to add Feedflare interactivity, you can choose to add links to specific social bookmarking services and other useful prompts to both your blog feed items and even beneath your Blogger posts:
In order to use Feedburner Feedflare you must first activate this service for the feed you prefer to use.
To do this, log into Feedburner and choose the feed you want to work with. Once logged into the dashboard for your feed, click on the Optimize tab, then on the Feed Flare option in the left column.
Click the “Activate” button to activate this service, and when the page refreshes you will see the many different “flares” which you can add to both your feed items and your blog posts:
Choose the options you would like to include by checking the boxes to the left of each Feed Flare item for inclusion in feed items or your site (which will display beneath Blogger posts).
Once you save these settings (by clicking the button near the bottom of the page) these new Feed Flares will appear automatically beneath each entry in your Feedburner-burned feed, making it easy for subscribers to bookmark, email and share your blog posts.
Site-enabled Feed Flares do not appear automatically. Instead you will need to edit your Blogger template to add the required code which will make these flares appear. Feedburner offer a very useful tutorial for this, complete with screenshots to direct you through every step of the process.
4. Monetize your Feeds with Google Adsense
Being part of Google’s family of services ensures that both Feedburner and Blogger can now be integrated with monetization options from Google Adsense.
As an extra income stream for your Blogger blog, you may want to consider adding Google Adsense units to you Feedburner feeds.
This process is mostly automated, meaning that you need not manually edit or add code to your Feedburner feeds.
To set up Adsense monetization for your Feedburner feeds, you need to first log into your Google Adsense account using the Google account as you do for both Blogger and Feedburner.
Once you have logged in to Google Adsense, choose Adsense Setup from the tabbed options near the top of the screen, then click on the Adsense for Feeds option on the refreshed page.
On this page, you can choose from many options for displaying your ads; manage channels to track the performance of your ad-units and choose which Feedburner feeds in your account will be monetized using these options:
When you have chosen all options and saved these settings, your ads will begin to display from the next update of your Feedburner burned feed (up to 4 hours later).
5. Publicize your blog anywhere with a Headline Animator widget
If you own more than one blog, another website, or are able to add a customized footer to your outgoing emails, you can publicize your blog posts using Feedburner’s Headline Animator.
This animated widget offers a stylish way to promote your blog and publicize recent posts anywhere that you can paste a few lines of HTML code:
To set up a Headline Animator for your Blogger blog, log in to your Feedburner dashboard and click on the Publicize tab. From here choose the Headline Animator option in the left hand column which will lead you to this page:
You can change options to make your headline animation blend well with your chosen medium and see a live preview near the bottom of the page.
Once you have made all changes, click the “Activate” button. The page will refresh and you will be able to choose which service you would like to add this widget to using options in the drop-down menu:
Your headline animation will appear as soon as it is installed in the medium of your choice, offering a new and useful method of promoting your recent blog posts when burned through your Feedburner feeds.
Which are your favourite Feedburner services?
Feedburner offers many free services for bloggers in addition to those I have listed above. Which are your favourite services, and how can they help enhance your Blogger powered blogs? Please feel free to leave your comments and your own suggestions below.