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.
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:
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!