Insert your customized image in RSS feed (Feedburner)

feedburner image burner

Earlier this week, I was reminding everyone (but mostly myself) that Feedburner offered an option to overwrite a RSS feed’s initial meta. To go a bit further down the same alley, I’ll share another little goodie that you don’t necessarily notice in the first place.

The picture above shows the Image Burner option within Feedburner. What it does is, it lets you insert your own customized picture next to your RSS feed content. The Feedburner team hints that you can insert your feedcount chicklet url there, but I find it much more interesting to publish an image that you host. This way, you can change it whenever you want and it will update on all your published feeds.

Same tip for the specified url, choose own you have control over, so that you can always redirect to the Website of your choice at any given time. Once you’ve done this, follow this link to learn how to add a feedflare that says "follow me on twitter" and your feed will turn into a lethal online marketing weapon.

Feedburner Meta Burner to overwrite initial meta

feedburner meta burner

Very often, I tweak a feed through Yahoo Pipes or Google Reader, and I burn it through Feedburner to benefit from the "smartfeed" "ping" and "socialize" features. Recently, I realized there was one more component to Feedburner I needed to systematically use: The meta burner.

As you can see above, in the "optimize" tab of Feedburner, you have the option to overwrite the input feed’s initial meta, and output it with your own metadata. Pretty sweet, most recommended!

Friendfeed Inflates Feedburner’s Subscribers’ Count

friendfeed followers count

I recently discovered that your Frienfeed subscribers’ counter has a direct impact on your Feedburner’s subcribers’ counter. As you can see below, I have linked a fresh new blog to my friendfeed account, and created a Feedburner URL for the blog’s feed. The results are pretty conclusive: The blog suddenly got a a surge of subscribers (compare to its 0 average), and the feedcount is almost equal to my number of subscribers on Friendfeed:

friendfeed followers countfeedburner friendfeed feedcounter

Why does this saddens me? The Feedburner subscribers’ count gives a fairly good clue on the influence one blog has. Knowing that you can pump up your RSS subscribers’ count by following a ton-load of people on Friendfeed for follow-backs makes it flaky. When I mentioned it to someone I collaborate with, his reaction was: “That’s stupid, it’s like counting Twitter followers as RSS subscribers!” I’m not sure if I agree or disagree actually. Is an official RSS reader subscribers more valuable than a Twitter subscribers? Quite frankly, I’d like to see numbers to be convinced. What do you think?

Analyze Any Feedburner RSS Feed With Feed Analytics

rss feed analytics

rss feed analytics

To better understand the reach of the bloggers I was getting in touch with, I needed to know the number of RSS subscribers they each had. After a little research on the Web, I found satisfaction with Feed Analysis, a Feedburner feed analytics tool hosted by BlogPerfume. Feed Analytics offers the following:

  • Column chart of subscribers per month
  • Line chart comparing subscribers, hits, views, and clicks daily
  • Pie chart breaking up RSS consumption per days of the week.
  • View the past 6 month, or the past 50 months!

Here is the chart for the HyveUp feed:

HyveUp feed analysis

As you can see, above the chart is an estimate of the value of an ad on a blog, and the value of the blog.

HyveUp feed analysis activity

Same here, above the chart are a few numbers that help you understand a feed’s activity.

HyveUp feed analysis days

And again some predictions on a blogger’s RSS subscriptions growth for the months to come. Overall, it is a great tool to get a visual glimpse a one blogger’s RSS network size. My only regret is that this data is not downloadable in a CSV format, this would have been pretty neat for record purposes (or a button to transfer the data on a Google Doc).

How-To Add A Twitter Feedflare That Says ‘Follow Us On Twitter’

feedflare

Feedburner feedflare rww

As you can see above, some feeds have some really cool flares (links) showing in the footer: Link to a Facebook Page, Website, Twitter profile… In the Feedburner’s feedflare library, you have a wide choice of flares for your feed, but not a single one helps you promote your social profiles.

To compensate this shortcoming, Feedburner lets you create and submit your own duct-taped feedflare. So how can you create a feedflare that promotes your Twitter profile?

In Feedburner > Optimize > Feedflare, you see the list of Feedburner’s official flares, and a box where you can submit the url of your home-made Feedflare. Creating your own feedflare is totally cool with Feedburner, developers are encouraged to create their own. Before going any further, open Notepad or any similar plain text editor, and paste this text:

<FeedFlareUnit>

<Catalog>
<Title>Follow HyveUp on Twitter</Title>
<Description>Feedflare inviting readers to follow on Twitter
</Description>
</Catalog>

<FeedFlare>
<Text>Follow HyveUp on Twitter</Text>
<Link href=”http://www.twitter.com/hyveup”/>
</FeedFlare>
</FeedFlareUnit>

Now just replace my info with your own, and save. When saving, in the name of your document, change .txt by .xml.

Now you need to host your xml document somewhere online. Personally, I use my Amazon s3 account for everything I host online (10 cents a month is a deal-maker). However, if you do not have an account there, I don’t recommend creating one just for a feedflare. Instead try Stashbox: It’s a free hosting Website, and while I haven’t tried hosting a feedflare on Stashbox, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Once you have uploaded your .xml document there, grab the public url of the document, and submit it to Feedburner where you can paste your own feedflares’ urls:

feedburner feedflare submit

And you are now promoting your Twitter profile through Feedburner. How cool is that?!

Side note: You can auto-publish blog posts as notes on Facebook by submitting your blog’s RSS feed. Feedburner’s feedflares do appear inside Facebook’s notes.