Moving From Feedburner to Feedblitz

If you are reading this…it means you’ve either come to my blog directly, seen the link on social media OR you have already re-subscribed to my new (well, old, but we’ll get into that) RSS feed.

You see — it was time for me and FeedBurner to break up. We had a pretty good run (sure, we had some outages and some miscellaneous issues, but every relationship hits a few speed bumps) but I think the writing is on the wall. I mean, Google just announced that it’s shutting down one of its most popular services — Google Reader. Why would it keep FeedBurner?

I’ve been flirting with this move for a while — I even set up a FeedBlitz account and began to migrate my content a few months ago, but then I chickened out. It’s scary to think about making a big change, because not all of your followers will join you. I get it. But I truly believe that sooner rather than later, the decision will be taken out of your hands and you’ll be forced to scramble.

So, I’ve moved my RSS feed burning services to FeedBlitz.

How to move your email and RSS subscribers to FeedBlitz

Let me try and anticipate some of your questions.

  • Feedburner is free — is FeedBlitz?

No, FeedBlitz is not free, but it can be very inexpensive. The pricing is set up so you only pay for the the number of email subscribers you serve, not RSS subscribers. If you choose to only use FeedBlitz for RSS and not email, you’ll pay $1.49 a month. That’s currently what I’m doing. I’m researching my options for continuing to offer my blog posts by email (MailChimp is leading the pack but I’m still deciding) but am more than willing to pay less than $15 a year to have a stronger, more robust feed service.

  • Can I move my RSS and email subscribers?

Yes, you can move both. Or you can ignore email subscribers and just set it up for RSS. I imported my email subscribers but turned the send-by-mail feature off in my FeedBlitz dashboard.

  • What if FeedBlitz shuts down or I don’t like it in a few months?

The nice thing about this change, especially if you follow FeedBlitz’s instructions, is that you’re actually having people subscribe to your native feed (YOURURL.com/feed in most cases). Then you’re using a plugin to redirect people from that link to your FeedBlitz link (it all happens very quickly). So if you decide to dump FeedBlitz later, you have a lot more control than you did with FeedBurner.

HOWEVER, if you are worried — you can still have people subscribe using your native feed and just not use FeedBlitz. There are several downsides, including a lack of analytics, no control over how that feed page looks, etc. BUT either way, it’s probably time to start considering taking your feed away from FeedBurner. FeedBlitz has a 30-day free trial, so keep that in mind.

  • Is it seamless or do I need to alert my readers to the change?

The answer to this depends on whether you’re moving email subscribers (it’s a seamless transition if you follow the directions) and RSS (you will need to alert your readers). I have opted to enable a special message that goes to people who are on my old FeedBurner feed:

GOOD NEWS! I’ve moved to a better delivery service, which means you’ll get my posts faster and with more sharing options. BAD NEWS. You need to take one small step and update your subscription.

This feed has moved to: http://katywidrick.com/feed/

Once you update your subscription, you’ll get the latest and greatest from Healthy Living in a Hectic World. Many thanks!

  • Can I customize how the feed looks?

Yup! You can even pick which sharing bookmarks appear, whether comments are included, etc. Take a look at my FeedBlitz feed:

FeedBlitz Feed View

Obviously, this is just the feed page. Once someone adds it to Google Reader (or hopefully, Feedly), it will look like a more traditional post view.

  • Is it hard for a novice blogger to do?

Is it hard? No. There are some extremely clear instructions in a free guide that FeedBlitz provides, and it answered just about every question I had. In addition, the FeedBlitz Twitter and email team answered anything that I wasn’t clear on.

(It’s even easier if you never burned your feed with FeedBurner to begin with and instead had people subscribe to your native feed URL.)

  • Is it scary?

HELLS TO THE YEAH. I’m still kind of shaky-quaky about making the move. I had a nice solid subscription list over at FeedBurner and now the impetus is on them to come to my new home. Not all of them will. But I’m comforted by the idea that this is a bit of spring cleaning — the people that do join me on the new feed will do so because they like me and my content, and those who don’t probably needed to move on anyway (it’s cool! I clean out my subscriptions all the time).

There are lots more reasons I like FeedBlitz. You can monetize it, you can splice your feeds so people may choose to only get updates from certain categories, authors, etc. But that’s a bit more advanced. For now, check it out and decide if it’s a solution for your needs.

You’ll have more questions, I’m sure. Leave me a comment and I’ll try and help!

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Comments

  1. says

    I don’t really understand any of this stuff, but I did get rid of my Feedburner subscription and went back to my native feed (I have more subscribers through my native feed – which was just directing people to Feedburner). Weird thing though – if I go to my RSS feed through Google Chrome it gives me a site with crazy XML code. If I go through IE, Firefox, or Safari it’s fine. Do you think this is a Google thing? I guess it might be worth having Feedblitz just for that? Ugh.

    • says

      I believe that’s the way that Google reads XML feeds — I get the same thing on most sites (and I just copy the feed address and paste it directly into my reader to subscribe).

      How do you measure how many subscribers you have to your RSS feed?

      • says

        Ah, good to know. That’s how I subscribe to sites too, but there are always those who get confused.

        G-reader shows you the stats, although I’m not 100% sure how accurate they are. Probably not very!

  2. says

    I made the switch to Feedblitz before Christmas and I love it. It was a little daunting at first, but I’m glad I did it. I had never set up and email subscription page while under feedburner so I didn’t have those details to export. Since my audience has grown so has my email subscription list and I wanted to kick myself for not doing this earlier. Thanks for posting such clear and concise information about Feedblitz!

  3. says

    Thanks for this info Katy. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now and just haven’t gotten around to it because I’m scared!! What did you use to send the social message to your subscribers on your old Feedburner feed?

      • says

        Hi ladies!

        There’s actually a custom tab right on the Feedblitz dashboard where you can include text and/or HTML directing people to the new feed and asking them to subscribe there. There’s a default message that’s in there or you can change it to your own words.

        Feedblitz also has a redirection plugin you can use. I thought the migration manual was pretty easy to use and they respond quickly to questions on Twitter as well.

    • says

      I like that you’re not so techy. It means I get to look cool (when really, that’s a stretch).

      So, you’re talking about two different things: a feed distributor and a feed reader. Essentially, FeedBlitz (or your WordPress feed or FeedBurner) are delivery systems. They take your posts and deliver them to various places where people can read them (Google Reader, Feedly, BlogLovin’, etc.). It’s confusing, because some systems can do both, but for all intents:

      You need something to deliver *your* feed (FeedBlitz) and something else to read *other* feeds (Feedly).

      I may have just made it less understandable.

  4. Dick Eastman says

    I never used FeedBurner but have been using FeedBlitz for years. I can tell you it is a very reliable service sends email messages to my 20,000 subscribers every night. The prices are also reasonable.

  5. says

    Wicked site Katy, nicely done.

    I’m scared as hell to change my feed, but I need to do it, since Feedburner is going to get killed soon.

    I need to change my RSS and my Email list.

    How do I make sure people are subscribing to my native feed?

    Assuming this is:
    http://www.myownadvisor.ca/feed/

    Does it matter when I click “http://www.myownadvisor.ca/feed/” my information is all in XML?

    Also, do I need to do a redirect on FeedBurner AFTER I create and register for my new feed service?

    Ugh, this stuff scares the heck outta me.

    Any help is appreciated!
    Mark

    • says

      Hi Mark!

      I have found that the FeedBlitz team has been really helpful, so you may want to ping them on this as well.

      You have the native feed correct — yoursitename followed by /feed. Are you using the Chrome browser to click it? For some reason, Google does not redirect XML feeds the way that Safari and FireFox do, so I assume that’s what’s happening with you. When I click on other sites’ links and get the XML, I just paste the feed address into my preferred reader and it works.

      The redirect is tricky — did you download the manual? I found it to be really helpful in the order of events. But generally, you don’t make any changes on FeedBurner itself. You use the FeedBlitz redirection plugin to send traffic to your new link (and to customize the message for people who subscribe via FeedBurner).

      Katy

      • says

        Thanks for the feedback Katy. I really appreciate it!

        You’re right, when I type in http://www.myownadvisor.ca/feed (my native feed URL), I get an XML page in Chrome.

        With other browers, I do not get the XML page and instead, get re-directed for the feed using the browser.

        If I type my website address http://www.myownadvisor.ca or http://www.myownadvisor.ca/feed into a reader, no problem, I get an option to subscribe via RSS.

        IF I take away FeedBurner, and don’t use another RSS service, I assume folks can use their Readers and still get access to my feed – by typing in http://www.myownadvisor.ca or http://www.myownadvisor.ca/feed into their Reader? (This is because all WordPress blogs have this code built-in???)

        Sorry for all the other questions, just wanted to confirm how things work….

        Thanks again Katy, I look forward to hearing from you!
        Mark

        PS – Yes, I will be downloading the manual and reading it this week. I am also considering moving my email feed to AWeber. This way, I have much more control over the email subscriptions and can eventually create a newsletter. Thoughts on AWeber?

        • says

          Yes, you’re right…the feed is set up through WordPress, so your previous FeedBurner and future FeetBlitz accounts/feeds were really just improved features that you offered your readers. If you delete FeedBurner and don’t use another service, you’d be fine, but unless you use the migration message with FeedBlitz (or do a post about the change BEFORE you delete FeedBurner, so your readers see it), any subscribers there might not realize that you made the change and think you stopped blogging.

          Hopefully, they’d head to your homepage and see that’s not the case. :)

          I have not used AWeber but I know a lot of people like it. I use and love MailChimp, which is free up to a certain number of people on your list/number of emails sent.

  6. says

    Hi Katy – I’ve only been blogging for 7 months, and haven’t been using Feedburner OR Feedblitz for that time. I’m (still!!) getting through the huge list of improvements I compiled during your Octoblog challenge and the one I came across tonight was figuring out if I need to do something here. Obviously, you do think it’s worth it, since you’re using Feedblitz now, but I’m wondering how you assess the tradeoffs of whether or not you actually need the service or not? (i.e., Is it more for personal satisfaction of knowing your full data, or do you think it materially changes the way you do business). I’m nervous about making my RSS subscribers switch over, even though you say it’s fairly easy to send them the message like you did. Any advice would be greatly appreciated :). Thanks for all you do!

    • says

      Hey girl!

      The biggest thing about using a service like Feedburner or Feedblitz is your ability to a) get analytics on how many subscribers you have and b) in the case of Feedblitz, to be able to take your subscribers to another feed if you choose (with Feedburner, you have to try to redirect your users and hope they come to the new feed; with feedblitz, you keep your subscribers when you move).

      Frankly, for now, I wouldn’t worry about it — all of the people you have currently subscribed using your native feed (site.com/FEED) can easily be redirected using Feedblitz if you choose to do that in the future. And if you don’t find that the number of subscribers is a metric that you really NEED, you won’t be missing out on much.

  7. NEWBIE says

    I need some advice. I’ve just switched to FeedBlitz and was speaking with someone who was very rough and finally hung up on me. Anyone experience this?

    • says

      I’m sorry to hear that’s been your experience — I’ve never worked with any of the FeedBlitz team on the phone, but I have had extensive conversations with them by email and on Twitter. The have always been very responsive to my questions and concerns.

      If you’d like to email me privately with the name of the person you were talking with, I’d be happy to try to jump in and get you some more help.

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