Feedburner: Dress Up Your Feeds

Chancellor’s Note: This is part of the SMUG beautification project, cleaning out some of the underbrush of content originally published at the “page” level but that needs to be demoted.

This content was first published on October 22, 2006. Since then, Google bought Feedburner. But Feedburner is still a great way to add functionality to the RSS feeds from your blog.


Thanks to Shel Holtz for his advice on how to incorporate “Digg This” and “Add to Del.icio.us” links/badges into blog posts, using FeedFlare, a free service that is available through Feedburner, another free service.
That’s also where I got the badges for My Yahoo, Google Reader, and others that you see at right. Shel explained that Feedburner adapts and enhances your site’s existing RSS feed and provides great reporting on subscriptions and click-throughs.


Feedburner is definitely still a service worth exploring.

Blogging 352: Adding an Email Subscription Form to Your Blog

Here’s an RAQ from Katie M:

I am currently using wordpress.org for a few blogs. I am setting up for some doctors and another blog for another pilot program … so doctors can learn from each other…I am wanting to have the similar option that you have for subscribing, that is via e-mail. How do I go about doing this?

The answer is pretty straightforward.

I recommend that you use Feedburner to replace your blog’s RSS feed with one that gives you more features, particularly better tracking. Feedburner is free, and among its built-in benefits is the ability to let your readers subscribe by email.

Here’s how you can add a subscription form to a sidebar widget on your blog, assuming you have set up a Feedburner account and “burned” your feed.

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10 Steps to Your Own FREE Podcast


A podcast is the perfect vehicle for providing in-depth audio and video information to an interested audience. And not just an “audience,” but a community: if you use a blog to distribute your podcast, listeners can provide feedback through their comments. This post is a recap of Social Media University, Global’s 100-level Podcasting courses, and will take you step-by-step through everything you need to create your own podcast

Best of all, the education is completely FREE. SMUG has no tuition, and all of the tools to create and distribute your podcast used and recommended in these courses are free.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Subscribe to podcasts for FREE using iTunes
  • Record your audio files for FREE using Audacity
  • Use WordPress.com as your FREE server for delivering podcasts (a $20 savings over typical costs, exclusively for SMUG students)
  • Enhance your podcast feed through Feedburner so you can get traffic and usage data, and so your users can more easily subscribe, and
  • Get your podcast listed in the major podcast directories like the iTunes Store and Podcast Alley.

You’ll do all of this without spending a penny, but just investing your time, assuming you have access to a computer with a built-in microphone. Then, after you’ve experimented with your own personal podcast, you will have the confidence born of first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience that will enable you to make decisions on how and whether to use podcasting in your work or volunteer organizations. Here are the 10 steps to your free podcast:

  1. Podcasting 101/Social Media 106: Introduction to Podcasting
  2. Podcasting 102: Becoming a Podcaster
  3. Podcasting 103: Creating Audio Files Takes Audacity
  4. Podcasting 104: Adding ID3 Tags to Your Audio Files
  5. Podcasting 105: WordPress.com is My Podcast Server (and Yours)
  6. Podcasting 106: Creating an RSS Podcast Feed
  7. Podcasting 107: Posting a Podcast Episode
  8. Podcasting 108: Subscribing to Your Podcast
  9. Podcasting 109: Hotter Podcast Feeds through Feedburner
  10. Podcasting 110: Listing Your Podcast in iTunes and Other Directories

Upon completion of these 10 steps, you will receive your non-accredited Associate of Arts in Podcastology and will be added to the SMUG Dean’s List. Then you’ll be ready to explore advanced courses at the 200-level and above, learning about production enhancements like better recording devices, adding music to your podcast without going to jail, conducting interviews remotely through Skype, mixing tracks and adjusting recording levels, and otherwise making your podcast more professional.

Please give your feedback on this 10-step free podcast program, either in the comments below or on the individual courses. We’re always open to suggestions on how we can improve the educational experience.

And if you find the program helpful, please use your blog, Twitter, Facebook — or the buttons below — to share it with your friends and colleagues.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Podcasting 109: Hotter Podcast Feeds through Feedburner

Note: This post is part of the Podcasting curriculum for Social Media University, Global.

In Podcasting 105 through 108 we demonstrated how you can use a WordPress.com blog as a server to create an RSS feed for your podcast, and can subscribe to your podcast by cutting and pasting that feed URL into your iTunes program. But using the native RSS feed from WordPress.com has a couple of disadvantages:

  1. It doesn’t give you feed statistics, so you don’t know how many people are subscribing. That’s fine if you are doing a personal podcast just for fun, but if you’re doing this in a work environment your employer will likely expect better statistics so you can determine whether the podcast is worthwhile.
  2. Cutting and pasting is a little clunky for your users. They have to know how to subscribe manually in iTunes, and it would be a lot better if there was a nice interface to guide them through the process.

“Burning” your feed through Feedburner.com provides solutions to both of those problems, as you will see and hear below:

Homework Assignments:

  1. Go to Feedburner and set up an account. You will be able to use this to burn your RSS feeds for your WordPress.com blog as well (to be described in a future post in the Blogging curriculum), but it all starts from having a Feedburner account (as Toby Palmer now does).
  2. Go back through the earlier courses in the Podcasting curriculum so you can record an audio file and launch your own student podcast. As you will see in Podcasting 105, we have a standing offer for any SMUG student to  create a free podcast hosted from the SMUG Podcast Blog (and thereby avoid paying the $20/year additional fee to WordPress.com in order to experiment with your own podcast.)

After you’ve learned how to do a personal podcast, you’ll be ready and confident in your abilities to launch one for your business or non-profit organization. You’ll probably want to spend a little money on better recording equipment, and at that point paying the $20 to be able to podcast from your own blog will be well worth it.

But our goal at SMUG is to let you experiment with all of these tools without spending even a penny of your own money, only investing your time in the on-line education process. So please take advantage of the opportunity and start your own podcast today.

Podcasting 106: Creating an RSS Feed

We have a volunteer to be the class podcasting example. Toby Palmer has done the narration of his children’s book Lilly and the Russet Gigantus, and wants to make a podcast of the narration.

So we will start by creating a category in the SMUG Podcast blog, which I have to do for him as an administrator. I can do this quickly and easily because Toby has used WordPress.com to host his blog.

Once I hit the Add User button, we see that Toby is now added as an Author on the SMUG Podcast Blog. He remains an Administrator on his own blog. By being part of the WordPress.com community, you can have some blogs on which you are the Administrator or an Editor, and you can be an Author or Contributor on others. This graphic shows Toby as an Author:

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