Replacing Feedburner

FeedBurner was one of my favourite Google tools, and the only external feed service that I’ve used since 2007. For the last year there have been murmurs that Google is planning to cull the service, the support help for the site non-existent, and this week the death of Feedburner has been confirmed. 

That means if you are using FeedBurner now is the time to replace it.

I’ve been looking around at the options and I have to be honest: I don’t really want to put my feed in the hands of a third-party application again, so here are the options as I see them

1. FeedBlitz (3rd party application)

2.Bring My Blog Visitors Back (plugin on your own WordPress self-hosted site)

3. Aweber (email feed through blog broadcast).

FeedBlitz

FeedBlitz has been getting a lot of positive  publicity lately and bloggers are moving over to Feedblitz with ease. The support from FeedBlitz is excellent (a nice bonus after if you’ve ever wrestled with a FeedBurner issue), and they have a guide on how to migrate your feed from FeedBurner across to them.

FeedBlitz isn’t free but it’s very low cost from $1.50 / £1 per month depending on the amount of subscribers you have. It’s easily integrated with affiliate marketing and you can email your subscribers with updates outside of blog posts, which is always handy if you have more feed subscribers than those on your email list.

There are social sharing options available for your feed with FeedBlitz, more than what FeedBurner gave you and on the whole this looks like a really good option for 99% of people who blog. Over at FBBB where I am a regular contributor, there’s a post you can check out about moving to FeedBlitz.

Bring My Blog Visitors Back

Bring My Blog  Visitors Back is something I’ve been playing with for a few weeks, and the chances are if you are reading this by RSS feed you are seeing it in action. Bring My Blog Visitors Back is something that prettifies your RSS feed and builds in social sharing options. I chose it as I wanted my feed under my management again. If you are not familiar with HTML then this plugin is very easy to use – it’s an easy install and tick the boxes.

Again social sharing from your feed is enabled, and Bring my Visitors Back is easily branded with your own custom header, related post options, copyright notice and comments. You can even highlight the first person to comment on your post, which is a nice way of rewarding the people that stop by and comment on your blog.

Right now, I see the footer section being used to let people know that FeedBurner is going, and if they wish to continue reading they need to re-subscribe.

 Aweber Blog Broadcast

If you are using Aweber and are a current client of mine, this will be set up for you already. Every three blog posts will trigger an email sent to your subscriber list. It doesn’t replace your feed (Aweber, you are missing a trick here) but it does enable to you to keep in touch with your subscribers better via email. I prefer email over RSS feed, there’s something nicer about it in my mind.

Simple RSS to Email by AWeber Communications

What Am I replacing FeedBurner with?

Right now I’m using a combination of Bring My Blog Visitors back and Aweber. I still remember vividly the days of wrestling with FeedBurner trying to do the simplest of things, to hand over my feed again.

 

 

 

PS I’ve put together a quick guide on using the Aweber Blog Broadcast feature, if you share this post with one of the share buttons in the green box you can grab a free copy.
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Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow started blogging to save a business and it worked! She created her first blogging challenge back in 2007, and is the author of many quick start marketing guides, turning Sark eMedia into a publishing business.

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Mary C. Weaver, CSCS - last year

OK, I have a question for you, Sarah. Here’s the background:

I haven’t played up my RSS feed in years, mainly because I want people instead to join my Aweber e-mail list. I use the list to send a newsletter, not to broadcast blog posts, although maybe I should be doing both.

Yeah, the little orange square is present on my site because I know there are still people who prefer to keep up with blogs via RSS. And I have hundreds of RSS subscribers whom I don’t want to lose.

Is there any way to seamlessly transition them off of Feedburner and into another RSS feed—that is, without requiring opt in?

thanks for your insights!
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    Sarah Arrow - last year

    If they are subscribed through Feedburner, you should be able to extract all the email address of the email subscribers and message them, let them know that there is an issue with Feedburner and they need to resubscribe, I’m going to be pointing out to mine that if they subscribe to the WP feed or to Aweber they won’t have this problem again.

    If you use Yoast WordPress SEO you can add the RSS footer message encouraging resubscribes to the new feed. You can also install it separately from WP SEO.

    I’m hoping Google will issue guidelines showing us how to redirect feeds from Feedburner back to our normal feed addresses when they close. It may be as simple as putting in a 301 redirect from Feedburner to the WP feed. I don’t know for sure.
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Anita - last year

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for this very valuable post. I will give the WP plugin a go. I really hope I don’t lose subscribers – so will also add the message in Yoast RSS Footer message – thanks for the tip!

I have many friends, who use blogger. Do you have an suggestions for a free way for them?

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    Sarah Arrow - last year

    Blogger is a Google product, so there may be a Blogger Widget that deals with RSS feeds for Feedburner, again it could be as simple as swapping the feed widgets and messaging the Feedburner subscribers.
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…WordPress Video TrainingMy Profile

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Rosemary - last year

Hi Sarah,

Your timing in this post is just perfect as I just found feedburner is not working with mail chimp for me any more . I thing I will test your plugin option now .

I will be back to this blog . take care Rosemary

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Clint Butler - last year

First off let me say that this is my first visit to your site and I absolutely love the design. More importantly your writing style is very easy to read and understand and I just wanted to let you know that.

That being said, I really havn’t used my RSS feed to promote beyond getting my recent content indexed in the search engines. I do have a FeedBurner feed but the subscribers to it are pretty non existent.

I didn’t know about the Aweber integration and I am going to look into setting that up for my site.
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    Sarah Arrow - last year

    Thanks Clint :) The design is up in the air at the moment – Thesis 2.0 is out and it’s calling to me :)
    The Aweber integration is worth doing, it keeps you under your subscribers noses and sees that your most recent content reaches them in a timely fashion.
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      Danny Brown - last year

      Thesis 2.0 is out? I guess i should check it out, I thought it was still 1.8?

      Reply
        Sarah Arrow - last year

        Launched the 1st of October boss, and the integrated schema is awesome. Just waiting for a skin… awe heck I have skins, I’m just waiting for an excuse to swap it out.

        Reply
Dr. Erica Goodstone - last year

Sarah,

Why can’t things just remain the same for awhile? Just when I get comfortable with something, there is a sweeping change and I need to learn something new. Thanks for alerting us to this. I do have AWeber but I have rarely sent a blog broadcast. I look forward to reading your pdf about that.

Warmly,

Dr. Erica
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Corinne Rodrigues - last year

Right now Feedburner is working for my RSS feed and I’ve linked that to MailChimp which is continuing to send out emails. I’m wondering if I can link my RSS to Feedblitz and have MailChimp continue to send out email updates? Is that possible, Sarah?
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    Sarah Arrow - last year

    Hi Corinne, I’m not a fan of the mail monkey (I call it that, it makes me feel better after hours of wrangling with it…), the boss at FeedBlitz is Phil Hollows and I understand he’s very approachable. Their email is info@feedblitz.com

    In theory, you should be able to use the FeedBlitz RSS feed to update everywhere else, let’s hope that theory is reality :)
    Sarah Arrow recently posted…Replacing FeedburnerMy Profile

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marquita herald - last year

Important update for sure, but according to the email I received from Google yesterday it’s Adsense for Feedburner that’s scheduled to be closed in December – not Feedburner it’self. That may well be the next step and I agree it’s a good thing to begin considering alternatives, but according to Google as of 10/4 there’s no need to panic quite yet.
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    Sarah Arrow - last year

    Hi Marty, the API for FeedBurner is closed, the support is not there and parts of the service like Adsense are now closed (Adsense for blog feeds was closed in June in some places). September saw FeedBurner deliver 0 subscribers in the stats to their customers. Domain names are not being renewed for FeedBurner and it’s Twitter account has been closed. Google don’t communicate in a manner that is simple to understand, they just do things, it’s their business they can do that.

    Part of me would like to see FeedBurner and Postrank Analytics be blended into one very cool service, and I’m hoping that what all this service sloppiness is about – a giant new and better product. But Google have a habit of closing a section of their business down (Buzz) and then opening a new one (G+). I’d be silly to hang onto ‘maybes’ with FeedBurner and I’d be silly not advise looking for alternatives right now, whilst it’s early enough to do something.
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      marquita herald - last year

      Hey Sarah, thanks for the additional information. I just checked and my feed is functioning and I had no problem signing into Feedburner. Following is what Google sent me yesterday. I don’t doubt there are issues to be addressed, but I also think it’s wise to be aware of all of the information.

      “Starting December 3, 2012, we’ll discontinue serving ads via AdSense for feeds on RSS feeds and you’ll no longer see feed units in your My ads tab. To check if you’re currently generating any revenue from AdSense for feeds, visit your “Products” performance report and look for recent data for “AdSense for feeds”.

      Please note that reporting on your feed ad units will remain available following the product retirement. FeedBurner URLs powered by Google will continue to function, but will no longer serve ads. As a result, it won’t be necessary to redirect your subscribers to different URLs or to take any other action in your account. For more details please visit the AdSense Help Center.”

      Reply
Michael - last year

Thank you for sharing this post with us, Sarah. I have been hearing about Feedburner going away, but have never read anything about what alternatives might be available or what they would do.

I haven’t used Feedburner much, I much prefer email subscribers, but I do really like some of the features that the MP plugin provides, and that sounds like the perfect thing for me to try on my site.
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Mike Korner - last year

1) This is helpful information Sarah. Thank you for sharing it.

2) I thought I’d weigh in from an RSS user’s perspective on why I’m NOT particularly fond of the “Bring My Blog Visitors Back” approach. I think making an RSS feed look more like a blog is a really bad idea. In fact, I can see myself unsubscribing from feeds that use it. Why?

I subscribe to many websites with email, but many more with RSS. I use RSS because it helps my quest to read every blog in the world. I can keep up with way more blogs with RSS than I can with email.

A RSS reader app is the perfect tool for mobile user as it makes it easy to consume on the go. A person can view feeds on a train during the commute, at a table during lunch, on a bench at the park, or even while attending a boring meeting. RSS is perfect for a triage-type process where I quickly scan the headline and snippet to decide which articles to skip and which ones to examine further. Often I email the link to Evernote so I can read and save valuable articles.

RSS viewing apps are optimized for articles with a headline, and about a 50 word snippet. They can accommpdate the full article but their user interface does a poor job handling long articles. On a phone, 1,000 words is very loonnngggg. If website owners clutter RSS feeds with with “Bring My Blog Visitors Back” type crud, it will slow the “triage” process and add clutter to the reading experience. This is going to annoy readers.

When I encounter clutter, it is going to force a decision. If I don’t absolutely love the feed, I will unsubscribe. If I love the feed, I will cuss each time I encounter it and will likely move it to another RSS group that I view less often. That isn’t good. I may even unsubscribe and put it back to email — in an attempt to stay informed — but I already get way too much email so that probably isn’t a good place to be.

A lot of marketers don’t even offer a RSS feed because they claim they lose control. I understand the concern but think it’s misguided. I think it’s smart to accommodate any subscriber who wants to stay connected. In many ways, RSS makes articles more apt to get seen since the articles hang around instead of vanishing (going to the bottom) over time the way email, Facebook, and Twitter articles do.

I don’t think readers will flock to RSS apps but I do think it is the perfect tool for mobile users and I can envision more apps (Instapaper? Evernote?) interfacing with the RSS feed over time. Bottom line: “Bring My Blog Visitors Back” is attempting to help engage subscribers but I think the approach warrants a lot of caution. RSS users are your power readers — slowing them down with WordPress features seems like a bad idea to me. But, like always, I’m sure some people will love it :)

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    Sarah Arrow - last year

    Hi Mike, so much to digest in your comment – thank you.
    I’ve thought on this a few days now and I think I need to do a survey and find out how the majority of my subscribers read the posts – do they click through or do they use prefer to read on their reading device?
    I’ll also monitor it over a few weeks to see what happens – more / less clicks and unsubscribes etc.

    thanks for the comment, it’s appreciated :)

    Reply
Alan Jenkin - last year

Thanks for the heads-up, Sarah. I had no idea Feedburner was going away. I have had problems with it recently, so will not be too unhappy to wave goodbye to it!

I’ll probably replace it with a free WordPress plugin (just a “Subscribe” button), since it wasn’t doing much for me anyway. Just one more project ;-)

Alan
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David Paul @ prosperity coaching - last year

Hi Sarah-

This is my first time visiting you site, and love your brand and presence. I had no idea that Feedburner is most likely going by the wayside, so I am most appreciative for the “heads up”.

Based on the information you have provided, I’m thinking of converting over to Bring My Blog Visitors back, as I have no need for Aweber, and most of the bells and whistle in FeebBlitz would be overkill.

To Your Peace and Prosperity,

David H. Paul
the Follow Your Bliss Guy
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Shelley Alexander - last year

Thanks for the great recommendations to replace Feedburner Sarah! I didn’t know it was going away so I appreciate the heads up.
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Gary Young China Sourcing - last year

Thank you Sarah,

I too have had problems with WordPress. I’ll see if the plugin can help me. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!
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Rebecca Caroe - last year

Sarah, thanks so much for your mentions of FeedBlitz. We really appreciate it.
Let us know if any of your readers want assistance migrating.
Rebecca
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Steve Borgman - last year

Sarah, thank you for posting this article. I’m going to bookmark it for future reference. For the time being, I’m continuing with Feedburner. But I’m sure the time will come when I’ll need to reference this article :)
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Sherry Snider - last year

Ha. I meandered over to this post after Dan Morris linked to it on Facebook. …didn’t know I’d find another shiny object on top of the feed options. …that option near the end of this post…to share on social networking to access a free pdf… Is that a WordPress plugin? That’s pretty slick. :-)
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Anne Perez - last year

Thanks for the heads up regarding feed burner. As everything else online nothing remains the same for long.
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