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.
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!
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:
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?
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:
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.
Same here, above the chart are a few numbers that help you understand a feed’s activity.
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).
Feedmyinbox: Enter a URL, an email address, and voila. Simplicity to its best. You can create an account and manage your incoming feeds too. Feedmyinbox’ inconvenience is the lagging time between the time a post is published and the time it lands in your inbox: Sometimes it may take up to 24-48 hours. Usually, the discussion around a post is already dead by then.
Notify.me: Notify.me can be used in a number of ways, but it is my preferred tool to be notified of new posts on sites I find important to follow. In notify.me dashboard, specify all the sources you wish to receive in your inbox, and it will send it to you. Notify.me is way faster than Feedmyinbox, but it will only send you the first paragraph of a post. I personally don’t mind it, but maybe you will.
Feedburner: Feedburner lets you burn any feed you wish. Therefore, just burn the feed you wish to receive in your inbox, and use the email update feature to have this feed sent to your inbox. The process is much longer than Feedmyinbox, but if you are into a little RSS-to-email hacking plan, then Feedburner’s robust RSS technology could be a good friend.
Yahoo Pipes: Again, a little like Feedburner, setting up Yahoo pipes to send you RSS updates to your inbox will take a little more time than Feedmyinbox. But just like Feedburner, if you are into a little feed tweaking, then Yahoo Pipes is definitely your best choice!
I think the best option out there used to be RSSFWD, but alas, it is no longer in service. I guess it was too good to be true. Know any other service? Please share in the comments.