Feedburner 101: Subscribers, Reach, Email Subscriptions & Social Media

Update: Google has quit maintaining Feedburner and we no longer recommend it. We now encourage people to attract subscribers to their email newsletter (using a tool such as Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp). Amy Lynn Andrews wrote a great article on why she stopped using, recommendations, *and* some tips on using Feedburner if you still really like it and want to stick with it.

The other day I had a great coffee date with a local fashion blogger.  We were talking about blogging when she confessed, “I don't really know how to use Feedburner.”

 

Feedburner is an imperfect, but entirely necessary and useful tool in a blogger toolbox.  Feedburner is an RSS site that allows bloggers to collect all subscribers in to one site, track how their posts are doing, ping major sites like Google, Technorati, and Digg, manage and maintain email subscribers, and syndicate live posts to Twitter.

 

When you log in to Feedburner (after set up), the first thing you'll see is this:

This gives you a very quick snapshot for the day– a total number of your “Subscribers.”  The term subscribers is a bit inaccurate as Feedburner uses it.  The subscriber number on Feedburner “represents the total number of individuals who had the feed requested on their behalf on that day.” (Source & more details on how Feedburner works.)

 

 

 

The default page once you've landed in Feedburner is the Analyze Page, and above shows what you're likely to see on any given day.  The green line indicates the day to day activity of your Subscribers and their fluctuation.  The blue line indicates reach–the total number of people who have taken action — viewed or clicked — on the content in your feed (source).  My own blogging has been really erratic the past few months due to my work schedule– the spikes and drops indicate the days I've posted on my site (or haven't in several weeks).

 

 

If you click your Subscribers page, you'll get something similar to the above pie chart: a breakdown of what devices your subscribers are using to receive their updates.  This can just give you a basic idea of what are the most popular feed readers for your site (you can make sure you're making it easy for your readers to follow!).

 

 

In Optimize, one page to pay special attention to is Summary Burner. In the event you decide you do not want your blog posts to appear in full in readers, but rather want them as a partial feed, here is how you can set it up.  Partial feed will give a summary or the first few sentences of a post and then direct the reader to your site for the remainder of the content.

 

(Frankly, I don't encourage this.  Most bloggers I know, myself included, would rather unsubscribe to a blog than only receive part of the content.  However, sites like Bloglovin' work solely on this method, so many readers are accustomed to receiving only partial feed.  There are many pros and cons to whether or not you go with partial feed or full feed, and the choice is yours.)

 

The next page you may want to take advantage of is the Publicize Page, and if you haven't enabled email subscriptions, you should. As you can see from the above, email subscribers make up approximate 15% of my subscribers, and this feature can be utilized in Typepad and Blogger (for WordPress, I simply used the code from either and submitted it in my WordPress widgets).

 

  • In the first set of HTML coding for your site, on line 6, you'll see height & width measurements; by adjusting these, you can customize the piece to fit wherever you need it to!
  • You can also create just a link for your site by using the second set of HTML coding.
  • Clicking View Subscriber Details will give you the email addresses of your subscribers.

 

 

Also under Publicize is the Socialize option– a way to integrate social media with your Feedburner account.  You first have the option of tweeting the title, body, or both.  You can see I have it enabled so that only the title is tweeted.

 

You can incorporate hash tags based on your category listings– this is great if your blog's categories are set up as search terms.  If I were writing a post about plus-sized clothing, and checked a category titled “plus-sized clothing,” the hash tag #plussizedclothing would pop up along side my tweet.  This is an incredibly useful search tool, and could have some positive effects in building traffic.   When I enable the hash tag function, I get the following sample tweets:

 

new blog post! For Sale: Hetty Rose Sample Shoes http://goo.gl/fb/abcd #ohmygodshoes #sales #hettyrose

new blog post! Trashy Diva Moving On Up… in Sizes http://goo.gl/fb/abcd #fashion #plussizedclothing

 

There are so many features that Feedburner has for you that sharing these is just the tip of the iceberg.  These are some of the most basic, but useful functions that a fashion blogger can enable for instant results with minimum work.

 

Do you have any tricks or tips to share for the Feedburner newbie?  What do you find essential in the program?

 

Still not sure that Feedburner is for you? Check out this old post from the IFB Archives: Fashion Blog Tips: Burn Your RSS Feed.

 

 

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21 Responses

  1. Al

    Wow thank you so much for this super-useful post!!

    I was already using feedburner but surely not to the fullest (for example I didn’t have e-mail subscriptions, how stupid of me??)

    Now I understand better this useful RSS service, and I have to thank this great post!

    Al

    -The Red Dot-

    Reply
  2. Madeleine Gallay

    ah, brilliant. Some RSS feed signups have taken me not to a signup page but a long aggregate of posts, eyes spinning and exit.

    tools are good.

    Reply
  3. HauteWorld

    Very useful info… thanks so much for this post. I’ve been signed up to Feedburner for two years and barely used it to its full extent (though I did enable email subscriptions etc.). I like how you can view subscriber details… I had no idea this was possible!

    Reply
  4. Sheryl Blasnik

    Has anyone been having problems with You Tube videos burning through Feedburner?

    If I use the new code all my subscribers see is a black box (at least in Safari that is) and if I embed the “old code” you do see the video but it will not play in your e-mail. To view the video you must link to my blog or go directly to You Tube.

    I did not have this issue until recently. Anyone know of a work around idea?

    Reply
  5. Casee Marie

    Marvelous, thank you so much for this. I use Feedburner – or rather, I have it set up. I don’t actually use the site so this was really enlightening. I’ll definitely be adding the e-mail subscription link asap.

    Reply
  6. Alterations Needed

    One thing I will add to this is if you use CommentLuv and Feedburner, make sure to go to Feedburner, Analyze, Configure Stats, and make sure the box that says “Item Link Clicks” is UNCHECKED. If this is checked, your CommentLuv links will be Feedburner links, and won’t help your blog earn pagerank as you comment on all your favorite blogs. Took me forever to figure this one out!

    Reply
    • AsheMischief

      OOOH! Thank you SO much for that one! It never crossed my mind that CommentLuv could help with pagerank, and I didn’t know about that. I went and unchecked it!

      Thanks for the AWESOME tip!

      (Though suddenly it won’t work for me either!)

      Reply
  7. Sandy

    I have to admit that I didn’t understand Feedburner either haha. I actually didn’t think people would subscribe through feeds. But I didn’t know better. Thanks for this post. I learned something new today. =)

    Reply
  8. Eli

    Thank you for this!! I couldnt figure out why some people were getting an old title of mine when they put me on their blogrolls and it’s because my feedburner wasnt updated!!!

    Reply
  9. Denise

    Nice job, Ashe! I just went in and noticed you can switch to the beta version and see what pages readers are clicking on, like the original version used to offer. But I don’t see subscription info, etc.

    I’m hoping it will return to offer the level of detail it did in the original version, I have to admit when it went to Google it fell off my radar in terms of checking it daily!

    Reply
  10. Kimberly

    Really great post, as always, from IFB. I’ve been blogging for just over a year now and the information you share is valuable whether you’re just starting out or building upon the foundation of a blog already in progress. I have now fully maximized my use of Feedburner. Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Juliette

    I love you for posting this. I am a newbie blogger and I have to admit I’m a little confused about Feedburner myself. This article definitely gave me some info and pushed me to actually learn it so I can use it properly! Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Helen Chris

    Thank you for the great information you have shared us regarding the feedburner…Thanks a lot!!

    Reply
  13. SandyT

    Feedburner sometimes feels like a dark art to master. I have been trying to figure out the basics all week and I still came up confused! Thanks so much for this informative post!!

    Reply
  14. jocelynverna

    I just started a blog site and your post interest me very much, though I am still new with this but your post helps a lot with bloggers who wants to monitor the progress of their site.

    Reply