WordPress comes with an easy to use (and find) RSS feed location. It’s sort of a staple for a blog nowadays, so it isn’t all that commendable that a blogging platform uses it. The only disappointing thing about the default WordPress feed is you can’t really find out much about who is subscribing to your feeds, let alone detailed statistics about what feed reader they are using. These days, those kind of statistics are not only nice to have (for obsessive compulsive webmasters) but also for the sake of keeping your website healthy.
Arguably the best source of information about your feeds is FeedBurner. In this quick tutorial I will give a few steps (with visuals) to setting up your WordPress feeds as FeedBurner feeds using the FeedSmith plugin.
- Register with FeedBurner. Shouldn’t take long, it’s a simple form.
- Download FeedSmith. Head over to the FeedBurner website’s quickstart guide for WordPress.
- Install FeedSmith. Open up your favorite FTP client and drop your newly-downloaded plugin into your wp-contenst/plugins folder.
- Activate FeedSmith. You know the drill. Turn it on.
- Burn your feed. Now, log into FeedBurner and look for the (big) submission field that says Burn a feed. That’s the one you want. If you know your feed address, put it in. Otherwise, drop in the address of your blog and let FeedBurner find the RSS address.
- Give your new feed to FeedSmith. Now that your feed has been burned and output as a new FeedBurner feed address, head back to your WordPress Dashboard, under Options. The FeedBurner tab (remember, you should have activated the plugin by now) has what you want. Drop your new feed address into the second submission field and submit.
- Give it a try. First of all, be sure that you are subscribed to your feed. There are a couple of good reasons. First, you should be your own biggest cheerleader. Second, you want to be one of the first to know if something isn’t showing up right in your feed. So keep an eye on it. Also, make sure that your new FeedBurner feed is working out.
- Enjoy your new statistics. Well, by enjoy them I mean enjoy them tomorrow. Statistics don’t show up right away, as much as you want them to. Now begins the difficult part of the process: waiting for your statistics to become available. And sorry, I don’t have any tips for that one.