Feedburner is a great way for your followers to know when your WordPress site is updated. They can get alerts in a feed reader or by e-mail – their choice.
Many people don't use a feed reader or even know what one is but they sure know what e-mail is. The e-mail/feed reader ration for The WordPress Wizard used to be about 3 to 1 in favor of e-mail. Over the last year that has flipped to about 3 to 1 in favor of a feed reader. But remember – my tribe is a bit more tech savvy than yours might be. Since it's so easy to offer both, why not offer both.
This is the old (and better) FeedBurner logo. You can probably tell by the new logo that Google purchased Feedburner. It's one thing they've done that they didn't mess up! Feedburner is still a delightful place to visit.
If you don't have an account – go to http://feedburner.google.com and create one easily. Now the fun begins. Let's create a widget like you see on this site just to your right.
The first thing you will do is 'burn' your feed. It's as simple as typing your WordPress site url into the space that says 'Burn a Feed Right This Instant'. There might be a few feeds on the next page. Choose the one that goes to where you want it to go. There might be a feed for comments, another place on your site – whatever Feedburner discovers will be there so choose wisely.
The next page will display your feed address. If it ends with weird letters and numbers, change that to /feed.
The next step is to choose your statistics. I do not click Clickthroughs. This makes everything go through Feedburner and I don't like that. I choose
- Individual item views and resyndication — Popularity of individual items
- Reach — Number of people who viewed or clicked the
- content in your feed
Now click Next and your Feed is ready.
On that page choose 'Publicize' at the top of the page. Ignore the self hosted WordPress link in the middle of the page. We are going to create our own widget. So on the next page click on the link in the first sentence –
Chickletize your web site. Encourage people to subscribe to your feed by posting a friendly graphic in an easy-to-find location.
Choose the graphic you want and then copy the html code at the bottom of the page. Go to your WordPress Dashboard and create a text widget. Paste the code in the text widget. Title the widget something like (or exactly like) The WordPress Wizard. It says 'Get New Post Alerts'. It does NOT say subscribe!! That can be a loaded work to many people – they might think it costs money or that they will be added to your list. Neither is true so don't give anyone that impression in the title!
In order to create the e-mail subscribe code to back to Feedburner, look in the left sidebar and click on E-mail. For some reason the next page will probably say Service Inactive, Click here to activate. Click to activate and on the next page you will see the html code to copy and then paste into your Feedburner text widget.
You'll want to mess around with the way the text looks in your widget. If you want to center the Get Alerts by E-mail (or whatever you called the e-mail section) you can do that by putting 'center' tags around the words. Do that like this:
<center>Get Alerts By E-mail</center>
If you need a line break after some text put </ br> where you want the the line break to occur.
That's all there is to it – and now you have your own customized FeedBurner widget.
Don't forget your e-mail signature! Read about that here.
Presented by Cathy Perkins – The WordPress Wizard