I’m a huge fan of Feedburner. I love the analytics, the ease of installation, the interface and more.
In fact, I’ve professed my love before:
But even this marvel of technology has some flaws. And apparently, a bunch of you have run into them. My inbox and Twitter have been blowing up with people wanting to know why their posts are delayed in Google Reader, and what they can do about it.
There’s good news. And bad news. There’s an easy fix for some. And a really annoying fix for others.
Do you have a cacheing plugin or other plugin that might be interfering with Feedburner’s ability to fetch the feed? Plugins are the culprit 9 times out of 10 (see how I learned that the hard way in “When You Hear Crickets, Clear Your Cache” above). Plugins are supposed to work in harmony, but sometimes, they can get in the way of each other.
If your posts are not going to Google Reader at all, this can be the issue. If they’re getting there — just later than you want — move to the next step.
Ideally, your posts hit Google Reader mere moments after you hit publish. For example: I posted on Tuesday at 7am and 12pm. 2 minutes after each post was live, they appeared in Reader.
If that’s not happening, you may need to give Feedburner a goose. Head to the “Troubleshootize” tab and look for the link to ping the site with your blog address. It forces Feedburner to actively go get your posts. Sometimes that can clear things out and you’ll be good to go.
See if there is an error in your site’s code that may be preventing Feedburner from getting the posts. An easy way to do that is with http://feedvalidator.org/, which will tell you if you’re OK or what you can do to fix any issues.
It’s possible that your feed is too big — it sometimes happens with Blogger blogs, but you can fix it (see “Feedburner’s 512K limit“). You can also find the size of your feed at http://web-sniffer.net/, which may be a quick way to see if that’s the issue.
Feedburner calls this a last resort, so I strongly recommend going through Steps 1-4 first, looking at other problems (is Google itself having server issues? are other bloggers affected?) THEN coming back to this.
But you can resync your feed, using the link you’ll find when you sign into Feedburner and click the “Troubleshootize” tab. It will completely start the feed burning process over, get rid of archived content, and try to pull in the posts from scratch.
OK, remember I said there was bad news? It’s possible that you’re a victim of a cruel double-edged sword by Google. Its Reader has to crawl sites to pull in new feeds. The more subscribers a blog has, the most often its crawled. The fewer the subscribers? The less often (see this thread with an entry from a Google engineer).
I have not tried this, BUT there is a tip from someone in the Google Help threads that says:
One thing you can do is force Google Reader to refresh your feed manually.
To do this, you must have only the feed you want to refresh selected when you click the “Refresh” button between “Mark All As Read” and “Feed Settings”. If you do this, Google Reader will fetch the updated feed for all subscribers.
You must have only one feed selected for this to work; If you’re viewing the contents of all your feeds, or a folder of feeds, it typically does not force an out-of-schedule update, presumably to reduce the stress on their servers.
Allegedly, when you do that — you also force all other Google Readers to force-update its posts:
Google Reader fetches and caches essentially one copy of the feed at that URL, and delivers it to all subscribers. It’s more like a web browser than an email client in that respect. What your account stores is what feeds you’re subscribed to, whether or not you’ve read individual feed items, what tags you’ve applied to individual items or whole feeds, etc, but the actual feed source is fetched and held in common by the Google Reader servers.
And obviously, these tips are just for those of you using Feedburner (although some of them work for your default feed as well).