How and why to use Feedburner

Feedburner (www.feedburner.com) is an online service that offers some handy help for your RSS feeds.  Using the basic functionality of Feedburner is free and, as a result, we recommend it for several reasons.

When you use Feedburner, you give Feedburner the address of the XML feed from your blog element (we will refer to this as the "raw feed").  You can find this feed address by clicking the "settings" button on your blog element and look for the section on RSS.  Feedburner takes this raw feed and enhances it with other special features and then generates its own feed, based on your feed.  You then share the Feedburner address for your feed instead of the address of your raw feed.  You can also insert the Feedburner address into the blog element (again, on the settings) and our system will use your Feedburner address instead of your raw feed address.

Example:

Your raw feed might have an address such as:

http://[yourdomain]/rss.aspx?p=2647...etc.

You would enter that address on Feedburner's site, go through their easy-to-follow setup process and then they would supply you with another address, which might look like this:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/yourfeedname

Feedburner's feed pulls information from your raw feed.  It is still updated every time you add new content and pushes that content out to anyone who is subscribed.

So why would I want to use Feedburner?

There are several compelling reasons to use Feedburner to generate a new feed address instead of simply sharing your raw feed address:

  1. Feedburner enhances your feed with additional information.  Feedburner gives you the opportunity to add information to your feed that you can't add otherwise.  This information includes things like a feed description, copyright information and even some information helpful to iTunes (for podcasting) like an image that iTunes will use when displaying your podcast.  It is easy to set this information up through Feedburner using their system.
  2. Feedburner provides you some statistics about how many subscribers you have to your feed.
  3. Your Feedburner feed address will be simpler than your raw feed address, making it easier to share.
  4. When sharing your feed, Feedburner provides you a nice landing page which can help your potential subscriber figure out how to subscribe to your feed.  For an example of this, you can take a look at the feed page for this support site.  Click the "subscribe" link on the left.  You will be taken to the Feedburner landing page for this feed.  You can see how this page provides a good bit of helpful information about our podcast, instead of just displaying the raw XML code.

Get Started

We recommend that you take advantage of the benefits that Feedburner can provide your feed at no cost.  This will help take your blog or podcast to a new level of professionalism and quality.  To get started:

  1. Set up your blog or podcast feed through a blog element on your site.  See Podcasting Demystified.
  2. Take the raw feed address generated by your blog element and burn that feed on Feedburner.  To find the raw feed address, click on "settings" for the blog element and scroll to the bottom of the page.
    Blog Settings
  3. Place your Feedburner feed address into your blog element. Visit the blog settings again and paste the Feedburner address into the alternate feed address field.
    RSS Syndication for Blogs Setup
  4. Publish and share the Feedburner feed address with your site visitors.
    Example of sharing an RSS link in a blog post

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