Feedburner provides useful subscription stats and powerful overrides that any blogger or podcaster can use. Learn how to setup Feedburner with your WordPress website for your blog or podcast.
Before you begin
- Have a website with a working RSS feed
- Have a Google account
1. Pick your feed
If you want your whole-site feed from WordPress, and you have permalinks enabled, then your RSS feed will probably be http://mypodcast.com/feed/. I don't suggest giving this to podcast directories. If you do, then your blog posts will push your podcast episodes out of the limited number of items your feed can hold (set in WordPress admin > Settings > Reading).
There are two ways to get a podcast-only feed.
- Place all your podcast episodes in a special category (“Podcast”), then add “feed/” to that category's URL. This would most likely look like http://mypodcast.com/category/podcast/feed/.
- Use Blubrry PowerPress to generate a podcast-only feed (PowerPress > Settings > Feeds), which will most likely be http://mypodcast.com/feed/podcast/.
I do recommend having separate RSS feeds: one for everything and one for just podcast episodes.
2. Login to Feedburner
Visit Feedburner and login with your Google account.
3. “Burn a feed”
- Once logged in, paste your original feed (chosen in step 1) into “Burn a feed right this instant.” Then click Next.
- If there's an error, it will warn you and you'll need to make sure you entered a real feed address.
- Next, you'll choose your URL for the feed, so it would look like http://feeds.feedburner.com/mypodcast.
4. Setup SmartCast for podcasting
Feedburner's SmartCast options are great for turning a regular RSS feed into an iTunes-friendly podcast feed. However, everything in Feedburner's SmartCast page is also in Blubrry PowerPress's iTunes page (WordPress admin > PowerPress > Settings > iTunes). Chose whether you want to use iTunes or Blubrry to power this information.
Whatever you decide, follow a few guidelines for these iTunes-only fields.
- List your podcast in multiple categories. Do not list your podcast under “podcasting” unless you're a podcast about podcasting. Every category you see is already under Podcasts in iTunes. So just because yours is a podcast does not mean it goes under “podcasting.”
- Podcast image should be 600×600 (even though Feedburner recommends 300×300). This is separate from your RSS image if you enter something different here.
- The summary/description is what people read about your podcast in the iTunes podcast directory.
- Keywords help people find you. Enter words that describe the overall themes of your whole show, not just individual episodes.
- “Explicit” options. PowerPress explains this better than Feedburner. Originally, the “Clean” tag was supposed to mean explicit content that was cleaned. Feedburner still references it like this. However, people interpret the “Clean” tag to mean there wasn't anything “dirty” at all. If yours is a clean podcast, then use “Clean,” even if it means picking Feedburner's “Yes – cleaned.” If yours is an explicit podcast, then choose that tag appropriately. But if you're not curse-free but also not explicit (think of most TWiT podcasts), then leave it as “No” to display nothing.
5. Enable stats
Yes, use Feedburner for stats! But you have to understand that it's only a daily report of how many people (or programs) checked your RSS feed on that day.
Learn more about podcasting stats in episode 8.
6. Optimize with extra options
Now that we're done with the walkthrough setup, click the Optimize tab. We're only concerned with a few options.
- SmartCast for configuring your feed for iTunes. PowerPress also does this. Only applies to podcasters.
- FeedFlare gives RSS-readers some extra links at the end of each item, such as email, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and more. Only applies to bloggers.
- Feed Image Burner if you want to override the default RSS image. This image should be 144 x 144 pixels.
- Title/Description Burner will override your feed title. Use this when you want to get rid of “How to Be Awesome Podcast | My Totally Awesome Website” and make it simply “How to Be Awesome.” Also override your description here.
7. Publicize with extra options
After you've optimized, now it's time for the publishing options. Again, we only need certain options (and not necessarily all of the following).
- Email subscriptions gives you HTML code to paste on your site for visitor to subscribe to your RSS feed via email. This is very handy for people who don't know what RSS is.
- PingShot will tell certain websites that you have updated content.
- Socialize can tweet whenever you have new content in your RSS feed, just like TwitterFeed.
- Chicklet Chooser—please don't. This isn't the '90s.
- Awareness API—handy for a lot of tools to communicate with your Feedburner account. For example, a WordPress plugin to display your latest subscription numbers in your WordPress dashboard.
- Creative Commons is handy for bloggers to automatically remind readers that content is released under a Creative Commons license. Only applies to bloggers.
- Password Protector lets you lock your feed with a single username and password. This is not your options for a premium podcast.
8. Monetize with Google Ads
If you use Google AdSense on your website, you can earn extra money by enabling it in your RSS feed, too! Only applies to bloggers.
If you're having trouble with your feed and things don't seem to be updating, try one of the two tools that Feedburner gives you.
- Ping—checks for new content.
- Resync—clears all cached content and grabs it all over again from the original feed.
10. Use your new feed in WordPress
Now that you have your site's feed going into Feedburner, you need to redirect your site's current and future subscribes to your Feedburner address. You can do this with one of several WordPress options.
- FD Feedburner Plugin (my preference) or TentBlogger Feedburner RSS Redirect Plugin
- A good theme like StudioPress Genesis
Whatever method you choose or already have in place, you most likely just have to enable redirection and paste your Feedburner address into a field. This will then redirect all requests for your RSS feed to your Feedburner feed.
Use your Feedburner address everywhere
It does you no good to put your blog or podcast in Feedburner and not use it. Make sure you have the redirection working, and then use your Feedburner address everywhere!
- If it's a directory about blogs, or in any way that people will read your RSS updates, use your all-site main feed.
- If it's a podcast directory where only podcast episodes show and blog posts are hidden, use your podcast-only feed.
Understanding Feedburner stats
Feedburner stats are often criticized. Don't look at Feedburner for your download stats, but do use it for subscriber stats.
Imagine you have a podcast episode that gets downloaded 10,000 times in one day. Depending on your media host (or podcast stats system), you may not be able to tell whether those downloads came from subscriptions (“iTunes” in a list doesn't mean “iTunes subscribers”).
But imagine that you check your RSS feeds and see only 100 subscribers. This would indicate that you were featured somewhere and people downloaded an episode or maybe clicked play on your website, but they didn't convert to subscribers. Thus, they will not automatically receive your new episodes.
Learn more about podcasting stats in episode 8.
Check your feed for errors
Use feedvaliditor.org to see if there are any errors in your feed that prevent it from being valid. If your feed isn't valid, iTunes won't accept it. Warnings are okay.
I can help you launch or improve your podcast
I'm available for one-on-one consulting to help you launch or improve your podcast.
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Find more podcasts about technology on the Tech Podcasts Network.
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