Do You Really Need FeedBurner?

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Yesterday a friend of mine was setting up a new site, and he had some questions about using FeedBurner. The biggest question for him was why he really needed it. That’s actually a reasonable question considering his WordPress theme already had the RSS subscription buttons to the site’s feed included. Isn’t it easier to just keep it as is?

There isn’t really a good alternative to FeedBurner out there right now, much to the chagrin of some, but the technical issues seem to have subsided lately, at least for me, so I feel ok recommending you use it at this point.

If you aren’t really sure what FeedBurner is, here’s the quick version–FeedBurner’s basic functionality is that it takes the RSS feed created by your site and redistributes it. Now, you may be thinking, “what’s the point?” Well, if that’s all FeedBurner did, there wouldn’t be much of a point, but that’s just the beginning. There’s much more…

Email Subscriptions
This is the single biggest feature offered in my book. Giving your readers the option of email subscription makes it simple for people who don’t use an RSS reader to subscribe in a way that’s more familiar to them. If you want to build a marketing list of addresses, this is also an excellent way to collect them. But please remember these people have placed a great deal of trust in you by giving you their address. On their behalf, let me asked you to please not abuse that trust.

Yeah, I’m a geek, and I love looking at stats. FeedBurner gives you the opportunity to see exactly how many people are looking at each item in your feed and how many of these subscribers are clicking through to your site. Fun, fun, fun…at least for nerds like me.

Multiple Feeds
If you only have one site, this one may not be a huge deal, but if you have multiple sites or want to offer readers multiple feeds on a single site, this is a big selling point. The dashboard allows you to see all of your feeds in one screen.

FeedBurner offers you a ton of tools to help you optimize, publicize, monetize, and show off your feed statistics. FeedBurner even supports podcasting. All of this is available there for free, and requires little more than clicking a button on your part.

Plugging your feed in to your site isn’t a big problem either. FeedBurner gives you the code you need to plug into your theme. All you need to do is copy that code and paste it into the appropriate place in your sidebar, header, footer…wherever. If you’re nervous about doing that, just make sure you back up your theme before you play with anything.

If you haven’t thought about all of the things you can do with your RSS feed to help promote your site, it’s definitely worth your time to read a few other articles on RSS and how it can affect your traffic and reader loyalty.

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  1. Megan said February 24, 2009 | Permalink

    Thanks for posting this. I’m in the midst of relaunching my blog (hosting it myself, redesigning, etc.) and was wondering if I needed to bother with Feedburner.

    Here’s my next question, though: How do I make the RSS button that shows up in the toolbar feature the RSS feed through Feedburner and not the one that comes default with my WordPress theme?


  2. dave said November 4, 2009 | Permalink

    where is the code in feedburner to add to site out of curiousity? I’ve never seen this.

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