Setting up FeedBurner for your blog

FeedBurner is a service provided by Google that allows you to simplify the process of offering RSS feeds.

WordPress automatically creates a feed for your site, but using FeedBurner has some advantages.

  • You have a simple to remember URL
  • The Feed URL does not change, even if the blog feed changes
  • FeedBurner ensures that the RSS output is compatible with as many different readers as possible
  • Subscribers can opt to receive new posts by e-mail
  • You get statistics about how many people are subscribed
  • Many features can be automated, eg. sending out Tweets for new posts
  • You can add Google AdSense to the feed
  • Your site will receive less repetitive feed traffic, as FeedBurner will be handling this

FeedBurner is currently free to use, all you need is a Google account.  You can use the same account as you created for the Webmaster Tools.

1. Once you have a Google account, visit www.feedburner.com and sign in.

2. Enter the address of your feed, as it is at the moment.  If you are using WordPress 3, then the chances are it will be your normal URL followed by “/feed/”, eg. “http://www.diy-blogger.com/feed/”.  Older versions of WordPress may differ.


Step 2 - enter the original feed address
(click images to enlarge)

3. Click on “Next”.  Even if you are going to be podcasting, don’t click on the “I am a podcaster!” option just yet.

4. Select a title and address for your feed.  The title will be shown in plain text, eg. “The DIY Blogger”.  The feed address will always start with “http://feeds.feedburner.com/”, and you can choose what will come after that, as long as the address is available.  eg. http://feeds.feedburner.com/thediyblogger

Step 4 - select a name and address for the FeedBurner feed

5. Click on “Next”.

6. Your feed is now active, and we could leave things here.  But there is still some more to do.  Click on “Next”.

Step 6 - the feed is now active!

7. Activate “Clickthroughs” and “I want more!”.  This way, Feedburner can measure how often people click on the links in the feed.  For example, if you only give a summary in the feed and would like to know how many people click through to the full article.

Step 7 - activate additional options

8. Click on “Next”.

9. Now we really are finished forthe moment.

Step 9 - finished in FeedBurner (for the moment)

10. But your blog also needs to know that the feed is going to be going through FeedBurner, without stopping the original feed.  Otherwise, FeedBurner has nothing to read!  To do this, we need to install a plug-in.  I use one called “FeedBurner FeedSmith”, which is linked to on the page you should now be on.

Step 10 - download and install the plug-in

11. You will have to download this plug-in and upload it using FTP into the “plugins” directory.

12. Once activated, you should see a new menu item in the WordPress  administration sidebar called “FeedBurner”.

Step 12 - FeedBurner in the administration sidebar

13. Click on this, and you will see two fields for the FeedBurner information.

Step 13 - FeedBurner options in WordPress

14. In the first field, enter the address of the FeedBurner feed.  The plug-in will then redirect new subscribers to that address, whilst still leaving the old feed intact.

Step 14 - enter the FeedBurner address

15. The second field is optional, and is used to re-direct the comments feed.  I personally do not use this at present.

16. Click on “Save”.

17. Now if someone clicks on the RSS icon, eg. in the address area in FireFox, they will see something like this:

Step 17 - what visitors will see

They can choose with which program they want to read the RSS feed, and the whole thing looks a lot nicer than seeing the raw XML file.

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a blogger from Germany. He has written code for WordPress themes since 2006 and been creating websites since 1994.
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