You may still be subsisting on WordPress’ standard RSS feed option. If that is the case, now is the time to boost your readership with FeedBurner.
FeedBurner gives you advanced tracking options, allows you to display social proof (i.e. the number of RSS readers) on your blog, and allows for your visitors to sign up to automatic updates via email. I cannot stress how important that last one is – everyone has an email address – RSS users are nowhere near as prevalent. I’m only scratching the surface here – there is a lot on offer, and it’s all free.
All I need is 5 minutes of your time, and you’ll be set to go.
Head over to FeedBurner and tap in your Google account details. Don’t have a Google account? Seriously? I’m just messing with you. Don’t worry about it – just click the link at the top to sign up for a Google account.
Time to burn that feed of yours. You don’t even need to know the address of your blog’s feed – just type in your domain name and you are good to go.
Give your brand new feed a nice descriptive name and a URL. This is too easy, right?
Done! That was relatively painless. Make sure that you check the boxes for whatever you want at the next screen. It’s all free, so be as greedy as you like!
You will now be told that your feed is ready for the world. Let’s ignore that just for a minute though. I want to get your email subscribe option set up too.
Go ahead and hit ‘Publicize’. You’ll be presented with a swathe of options, but don’t let that throw you. Hit ‘Email Subscriptions’ in the sidebar. Hit activate at the bottom. Now your visitors can have the option of email updates too. There are lots of other clever little things you can do, like customize fonts and have Google send your 100th email subscriber flowers (okay, I made that last one up), but we’re sticking to basics here.
You’ll want to copy the bits of code that FeedBurner has helpfully presented to you so that you can actually ask your visitors to sign up to updates via email.
We just need to do one more thing – make sure that all relevant RSS links on your blog are redirected to FeedBurner. That sounds like a hassle, right? It’s no problem. Just follow the instructions over here and you’re golden – the magic of WordPress plugins doing all the heavy lifting for you strikes again.
Don’t forget to give your visitors a means by which they can sign up by email! You wouldn’t want them to miss out now that you’ve gone to all this trouble, right?