Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What Is FeedBurner And Why It Is A Great Tool For Web Publishers

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What is Feedburner? I know many of you are already very familiar with Feeburner and its array of useful features, but however hard to believe, I am getting a ton of emails from individuals just starting their online publishing career and asking me to spend a few words to better explain what Feedburner is really all about.

Robin Good explains what Feedburner and why it may be useful for you as a web publisher - see his video further down in this article

If you are going to be a professional online publisher of some kind, or you already are an online blogger or news reporter, you have certainly heard about the significance of RSS. A content distribution channel, that is user-centered, that keeps the subscriber's privacy protected, and which provides a near-real-time efficient system of content aggregation from all of the sources you select. To learn more about feeds you can also look up Master New Media's introductory guide to RSS and jump up to speed in no time with th rest of the class.

But one key trait of RSS content distribution is the fact that your RSS content needs to be distributed to your thousands of readers on-demand. As the RSS aggregators of your readers refresh and update
their news reading each one of them theoretically calls up your server to check if there are any new updates in your feed. When this starts to happen every hour, or even more frequently for each one of your RSS-based readers, you can be sure that your server is not going to enjoy this too much.

Depending on your specific situation the negative consequences may range from a slow-down in your server performance to a higher hosting bill (if you start to really rock with your RSS subscriber numbers).

But the problems do not end here. RSS comes in many flavors and different tools produce different kind of RSS feeds. In simple words, this means that is not unfrequent that content you are publishing in RSS, is not properly interpreted and read by some RSS aggregators, making it hard if not impossible for some of your readers to see properly what you have published.

Feedburner acts as an RSS quality control checker, as well as a professional distribution and tracking assistant, simplifying your web publisher work while extending your reach online.

If you think you would like to know more here is a short video I havwe recorded for you explaining in more detail what Feedburner is and why it may a highly valuable component of your web publishing toolkit.

Full Text English Translation

"Hi guys this is Robin Good for MasterNewMedia and I've got to talk to you about FeedBurner today.

Many of you already use it, millions of you already use it but there are still lots of new people who are just coming on the Internet, opening up their sites and just like you wanting to become some good web publisher of some kind and so... you've been hearing about this FeedBurner, you've seen the flame icon around and you're just wondering... I mean you've got your RSS feed, so what's the big deal with FeedBurner and why would you want to use it in your life?

I am going to tell you! Let's go!

First of all, FeedBurner is owned by Google. So whatever connotation that has for you, reliability, power, omnipresence, God-like features, privacy doesn't exist anymore, ads are going to appear everywhere, whatever those connotation are, you make your own evaluation you decide. But you should know, that it is owned by Google because it has been a very successful service. It has not been invented by Google: Google just bought it.

What does FeedBuurner do? FeedBurner takes on his shoulders the task of taking your RSS feed and serving it to the many many tens and hundreds and thousands of people that subscribe to it, so that your server, your own server doesn't suffer.

If you have a server maybe you're on a hosted solution on Blogger, or TypePad or wherever else and you don't care.

But if you do care because you have a professional website or a blog that is growing fast, you may have to worry about your RSS feed, because that's just like a page that is going to be pulled out hundreds and hundreds of times.

Imagine for a second people who have your feed inside their RSS reader and they've got their RSS reader to poll your feed for new stuff just like the other feeds they've in, every hour. So this guy is gonna poll your feed, I don't know, 24 times in a day? And you've got some tens or hundreds of thousands of people who would do that. And so all these people are going to just ping your server to get that feed everytime, whether, ...I mean everytime you do something new you get that extra stuff, some other times not.

As soon as you start getting a little more popular this may be quite a little extra demand for the server to attend to and you don't want to miss out nor you want to handicap your own quality performances, bullet-speed serving of content pages, and videos and podcast to your readers.

So since you can outsource the serving of this feed to FeedBurner, why not do it? Unless you see something beyond the surface that everybody sees, which may be in fact very intelligent as well, you may want to consider this: I am going to put my RSS feed onto FeedBurner so that FeedBurner takes all of the burden of serving it, it hosts a copy of everything I do over there, I mean the feed always starts from my own own site, I send it to FeedBurner, the guy jumbles it and standardizes and normalizes it in a way that wherever is going to be served it's going to be read, it can even be read on a webpage, unlike most other RSS feeds, they have a trick whereby you can go to your RSS feed URL made by feedburner for your site and make it even readable on webpages.

And not only!

Feedburner gives you some other very good things that make it all worthwhile to do that.

One is that you can see very specific statistics of how many people are subscribing to your RSS feed and what articles are they clicking inside your RSS feed.

Two: FeedBurner is going to allow you to insert ads inside your feed and that is another advantage, it gives you the statistics on that, and FeedBurner is going, just like I said before, to "normalize", that is - to standardize - whatever idiosyncrasies, non-standard technical setups you have in your feed, which may do by the way your webmaster or services have setup your feed output and make it in a way that any kind of RSS reader can read it.

But not only.

if you have audio, images or videos inside your blog post, FeedBurner is going to convert them inside your RSS feed as standard media enclisures so that they can be watched and even used inside feeds that you can then distribute to large platforms like iTunes.

You know, there are people appearing in the catalog of iTunes, if you go in the directory Podcast and Video Shows, if you want to appear there you got to have a feed in which not only your content appears but also your actual audio or video files appear.

Well if you put your feed through FeedBurner, it's going to make it standard in a way that can be accepted for example by iTunes and other platforms to redistribute it to many other people.

So, there are several advantages, I've just listed them for you, you may want to really give it a try.

FeedBurner is completely free, it's owned by Google, keep that in mind, and so that is certainly a guarantee.

That's all for Robin about FeedBurner today for MasterNewMedia, talk to you soon!"

More Info About Using FeedBurner for Your RSS Feeds

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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, April 30 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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