16 January 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Using FeedBurner in WordPress

Once you’re creating content and people are reading it. The next thing you should do is hook your WordPress blog up to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and e-mail. What if you don’t use Twitter, or what if you don’t like Facebook? Too bad. The reason you need to hook your blog up to these outlets is because your audience might use them, not because you do.

Don’t worry though, you won’t have to log into Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or send e-mails every time you publish a new post on your blog, instead we’ll hook WordPress up to these outlets using existing WordPress plugins.

In the end, you want to ensure that 1) your readers know you use their social network, 2) encourage them to follow you and 3) synchronize your WordPress blog to all of these networks without any added daily effort. We will go through each social network and do exactly that. We’ll start today with FeedBurner, we’ll make it our default feed, set up e-mail notifications and an e-mail notification box to our blog right away.

FeedBurner

FeedBurner is RSS on steroids. It provides the same basic functionality as the default RSS feed in WordPress but allows the feed owner to see helpful analytics like how many subscribers are hooked up. Hopefully you created a Google Account yesterday when you setup Google Analytics. So if you did, you can go straight to feedburner.com and setup a feed. Once you’re logged in you’ll see a box that looks like this:

Create Feed

Enter into this box: http://www.jamosmith.com/feed/ except replace jamosmith.com with your domain. Follow through the rest of the questions and you’ll receive a Feed URL that looks like this: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Jamosmith. Now you have a FeedBurner RSS Feed that will show you how many people are subscribed, have clicked through and more. From now on, you can check the status of your feeds by visiting Feedburner.

The next thing you need to do is redirect WordPress’ default feed URLs to this new and enhanced FeedBurner URL. To do this search for and install an addon called “FD Feedburner Plugin.” Activate the plugin and then go to Settings->FeedBurner and enter your new FeedBurner URL and save the configuration. This will redirect all existing feed links to your new FeedBurner URL.

E-mail Notifications

Some of your readers may not use Facebook, Twitter or Google +. They may not even know what that is! Because you want to PUSH content to them every time you publish new stuff the best way to do this might be through e-mail. It’s surprisingly easy to setup e-mail notifications with FeedBurner. It’s actually one of the reason I use FeedBurner. Head to http://feeds.feedburner.com and select the Feed you just created. Then click ‘Publicize’ at the top:

Publicize

Next, select ‘E-mail Subscriptions’ on the left:

E-mail Subscriptions

Once you click ‘Activate’ you’ll be able to start using e-mail subscriptions. But now we’re going to want to put the e-mail subscription box somewhere on our page. We can do this with by either putting the entire form (name, e-mail and a subscribe button) or by just putting a link to subscribe through e-mail. You’ll see a ‘code snippet’ for each option after you activate.

Here is what my subscription link looks like: Subscribe to Jamosmith.com by Email (click it to see what the form looks like).

Here is what the form looks like:

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Now you can create a Text Widget in WordPress and throw either of the two code snippets in there to put the subscription form right there. Go to your Dashboard -> Appearance -> Widgets and create a new Text Widget in your sidebar by dragging the inactive Text widget from the left to the right:

Text Widget Setup

Now, dump the form’s code snippet into the text box given. You can put something before it explaining why you want them to update. Here is what mine looked like when I was all done (click save when you’re done). Depending when you visit you may see this on the left of this WordPress site.

Final Widget

Finally, it might not be a bad idea to mention at the end of your WordPress posts that you post often and people are invited to subscribe to you through e-mail. Here’s an example: If you enjoyed this tutorial, please consider subscribing to my feed so that you can keep in touch and learn more about WordPress as I create more helpful tutorials like this one! Thanks! … no really, subscribe!

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