I have gotten on a nice rhythm of posting twice a day — I use the time that I used to take for an afternoon walk to make a second post (that may go back to the old schedule once the heat lets up a bit).
So I was sort of surprised when my traffic didn’t go up all that much…it did in the first few days, but last week, it dropped pretty significantly.
Except for one day. July 27th. I received a relatively ominous warning from my host that my traffic had overwhelmed the server and they were suspending my site until I installed and activated a plugin to help cache the hits and stop jeopardizing other sites on the server.
(Note: I am on a shared server and don’t have dedicated hosting.)
So I scrambled to follow their directions — installing the W3 Total Cache plugin (edited to fix title) for WordPress and immediately clearing all of the caches on my site. After a few minutes, my host was able to release my site from its lockdown, and I was back in business.
Or so I thought.
As soon as Meghann tweeted me, people started coming out of the woodwork letting me know that they, too, were missing my posts. And since I subscribe to my own blog, I should have caught the issue immediately, but I didn’t.
It turns out that since installing that plugin, my Feedburner feeds have not been updating, and my subscriptions have dropped by about 100, which is TOTALLY out of the ordinary for my analytics.
So I did what most of us do — I turned to Google. And I learned that many (many many MANY) people have the same issue — all thanks to a setting in the W3 Total Cache plugin.
Here is the post that helped me the most (“[Plugin: W3 Total Cache] Breaks Feedburner Polling“), although the WordPress forums are full of other posts that might help. Immediately after changing the settings on the plugin to exclude feeds, my three most recent posts appeared in Google Reader.
I’m hoping that’s a permanent fix, but I’ll be closely monitoring. And it’s a good reminder (even though I dropped the ball) that you should constantly evaluate your own blog as a regular reader. Subscribe to it, share posts via your bookmarks, etc. Luckily, I had friends to let me know, but I should have caught this issue days ago (before losing so much traffic and so many followers).
(Edited to add, thanks to a reminder from Ryan at No More Bacon — the plugin settings clearly say that disabling the feed cache is not recommended, and it’s not ideal. I’ll be monitoring to see if/how this impacts my site load and may have to come up with a new solution, but for now, I’m disabling the feed cache.)
A couple of other things to check if you find your feed is not updating:
- Try pinging your feed — sometimes it’s as simple as a technical hiccup on Feedburner’s end and you need to give it a little reboot.
- Use Feed Validator to see if there are any issues with the code of your site or your feed
- File a help ticket in the Feedburner Group (I did, the updated it with my solution)
If you subscribe to my site, you should have my three most recent posts in your Reader now — I apologize for getting them in one chunk but I’m glad you’re getting them at all!
And I have to dedicate this post to Meghann, because she knows me so well: