How To Set Up And Optimise A Really Cool RSS Feed
Here is a walkthrough for setting up a FeedBurner account right through to adding cool RSS buttons to your blog.
Set Up FeedBurner
FeedBurner is owned by google and will track your RSS statistics for free. Tracking your RSS is just another way of finding out how many people are following your blog and what they find interesting. Go to FeedBurner and set up a FeedBurner feed now.
If you are on wordpress (you should be) you can install the FeedSmith plugin to your blog which will direct all of your existing feeds to your new FeedBurner feed. Once you have your feed then go to Settings>FeedBurner and insert your new FeedBurner feed.
Before you click the optimise tab make sure you have checked the item views and item link clicks (and podcasts if you are doing them) at analyse>configure stats options.
Then go to the optimise tab and select Feed Flare and add any social media options your readers might want to use. This will help your posts get more exposure should your readers decide to bookmark/share them (don’t forget to activate once your done).
Use the Publicise feed and set up the Headline Animator and Pingshot.
Now that you have set up a FeedBurner feed you need to set up your subscription buttons for your readers. You can use standard ones or you can download some more unique designs. Check out Design Bliss and SpeckyBoy for some free unique RSS buttons.
Having a RSS button that stands out will increase the number of subscribers your blog will get.
Add RSS Icons
Once you have chosen your subscribe icon, upload it to an images folder. In wordpress you can use the text widget (WP Admin>Appearance>Widgets>Text) to add your RSS button as a widget in your sidebar. Simply add the widget and paste in the following code:<a title=”Subscribe RSS” href=”http://feeds2.feedburner.com/YourBlog”><img src=”http://YourBlog.com/images/rss.png” border=”0″ style=”margin-right:10px;margin-left:10px; ” alt=”Subscribe RSS” >
While your doing it you should also think about adding a Twitter button. Simply add the following code to add a twitter badge:<a title=”Follow YourName” href=”http://twitter.com/YourName”><img src=”http://YourBlog.com/images/twitter.png” border=”0″ style=”margin-right:10px;margin-left:10px; ” alt=”Follow YourName” /></a>
Once you have your RSS and Twitter buttons showing your can play with the margin-right/left to get the right placement within your sidebar.
(If you find that the widget makes your blog layout go weird you might need to add </div> at the end of the text file to clear it up).
You can use FeedBurner to handle your email subscriptions as well. Simply activate Email Subscriptions in the Publicise tab then add the code to your subscribe widget.