Feedburner Shutting Down: Is Your RSS Feed Ready?

rss iconFor months, people have been speculating about what would happen to Feedburner as Google continued to demonstrate it’s lack of intention to continue supporting the service. A bit more of the puzzle is in place now that Google has announced that the Feedburner API will shut down on October 20, 2012.

What’s Happening to Feedburner?

Feedburner launched in 2004 and quickly became the most popular tool for creating, managing, and marketing RSS feeds, particularly for bloggers. In 2007, Google purchased Feedburner with promises of integration with other Google tools and great things to come. Fast forward to 2012, and the Feedburner API is being shut down.

It’s important to point out that the API is what developers use to create tools and “interact” with Feedburner. Google has made no announcement related to the future of RSS feeds that have already been created using Feedburner. It’s expected that the feeds will continue to exist, but with Google practically wiping its hands clean of the service, there is no guarantee that the feeds will work correctly or for how long. That’s not a new thing though. Feedburner users have been complaining for some time now that feed statistics aren’t accurate and automated feed email messages are not always sent correctly.

What Should Content Publishers Do?

First, don’t panic. As I mentioned above, just the API is shutting down for now. However, it’s best to be prepared, and it’s a good time to find a Feedburner alternative to manage your RSS feeds so your content gets maximum exposure. Think about how many places your RSS feed is displayed that puts your content in front of larger audiences — individual subscribers’ feed readers, email subscriptions, automated social media profile updates, aggregation sites like Alltop and PopURL, and licensed syndication distribution channels like Newstex. If you’re making money from any of these services (as you do with Newstex), it’s even more important to make sure that your RSS feed is always working properly.

Self-hosted WordPress Publishers:

Self-hosted WordPress users can simply install the Newstex Newspress plugin to ensure their content is delivered directly to Newstex. That way you won’t miss out on any potential exposure and earnings from your content. You can learn more and download the free plugin here. Within a few minutes you’ll have it setup, so there will be no glitches now or in the future with your content feed to Newstex. Contact us for your credentials (you’ll need them to configure the plugin).

Other Feedburner Alternatives:

For publishers who do not use WordPress or need a comprehensive feed management solution, following are some more options:

Feedblitz
This is a robust tool to manage your feed as well as associated marketing programs. Analytics are deep, but the tool is not cheap, particularly if you want to use Feedblitz to handle automated email feed subscriptions. However, Feedblitz does offer a free step-by-step Feedburner migration manual.

MailChimp
If you don’t want to pay the high prices that Feedblitz charges for email subscriptions, you can consider using Feedblitz (or one of the tools listed below) to manage your feed but use the MailChimp RSS to Email tool to send automated email messages to your feed subscribers. You’ll need to create a MailChimp account (if you don’t already have one, upload subscriber email addresses (download them from Feedburner first) into a new mail list,  and manually add names of future subscribers that you collect via your website into that list. Check the MailChimp website for current pricing, but if your subscriber list is small and you send fewer than 20,000 individual email messages per month, you might be able to use MailChimp for free.

RapidFeeds
This paid tool enables you to manage your RSS feed (including podcasting and iTunes), brand your feed URL, access performance metrics, schedule automated updates to Twitter, create password-protected feeds, and more.

Feedity
Feedity offers several pricing tiers with different prices and features. The service supports feed reader subscriptions and offers widgets to publish your RSS feed on your website or blog.

Feedcat
This free tool allows you to create and manage your RSS feed with multiple subscription options available, including email. Keep in mind, the tool is free, so it’s not as robust as some of the paid services listed above.

Use the links below to investigate each Feedburner alternative listed below and find the one that best meets your needs and your budget. When you create a new feed, make sure that you update any services that use your feed to automatically publish links to your content. And always make sure that you sign up for your own RSS feed updates via feed reader and email so you can see it like a subscriber sees it. That’s the best way to catch problems right away.

Image: Svilen Milev

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