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Step 8: Consolidating my online strategy – letting people pull my content with an RSS feed

Bird Houses by See-Ming Lee via FlickrLetting people pull content from my blog

I wish I was done but I am not.  People who type in my url (http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org) will find me directly.   I am rebuilding my Google page rank slowly.

But out there are people who subscribed to the RSS feed of my old blog.  I have one myself coming in to my Pageflakes (a feed reader).

How do I redirect all these feeds to my new blog and make my feeds for the new blog available to those who want them?

The immediate answer is to use Feedburner but I could never understand it before.  I made a concerted effort yesterday and if you are like me, you might find this useful.

Some basic building blocks in understanding feeds

1  WordPress, whether WordPress.com or WordPress.org automatically generates feeds call http://myblogname.wordpress.com/feed or http//myblogoname.org/feed (or .com or .net or whatever you are using).

2  WordPress also automatically generates a feed for your comments following this format http://myblognhttp://feeds2.feedburner.com/flowingmotioname.org/comments/feed

3  Some themes will generate extra feeds such as http://myblogname.org/category/nameof category/feed

Any one who cares to picks up this name and put it into their feedreader such as Google Reader.  Pageflakes even finds the feed for me.  I just type in the url (http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org) and it scampers off to the site, ferrets around, and comes back with the feed name.

Keeping count of my feeds

Of course, it is really interesting to know how many people are pulling in my feeds and where they come from.   To do this, I sign up to one of Google’s many free services, Feed Burner.

I used my gmail to get in, I type in my url (http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org), it asks me to give this new feed a name, and it generates another feed in this format  http://feeds2.feedburner.com/flowingmotion.

All good.  We can add some frills.  We can ask for a full set of statistics and ask for a Browser friendly option.  But what happens next?  Well we have to connect the blog to Feedburner in some way.

Before we do that, make another feed for your comments (turn http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org/comments/feed into a feedburner feed)

Connecting your blog to Feedburner

At this point we have your standard WordPress feed that looks like http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org/feed and the Feedburner feed http://feeds2.feedburner.com/flowingmotion.

To connect the two, you will need to download the Feedsmith plug in.  You can go to the Dashboard on your blog, left side column, Plugins/Add new and upload.  Everything will go find except that you will get an error message.

There is a hack to fix this.  Download the plugin to your harddrive and unzip it.  Delete the pdf file and the files and the files for Mac.  Now zip up the program file only.   This is important.  The program file only.  You zip by going to File in Windows Explorer menu bar.

Now upload the new zipped up file and activate it.  It will want to know the feedburner names for both feeds.  Save.

Now sit back and wait 24 hours.

Done!

When tomorrow comes you should see two things.

1  On your blog, when you hit the RSS symbol, you should be flicked directly to http://feeds2.feedburner.com/flowingmotion (not  to the old feed http://flowingmotion.jojordan.org.feed) even though you changed nothing else on your blog.

2  The same should happen for your comments feed.

3  You should also have some statistics showing up.  Enjoy!  You are ready to rock n roll.  From now onwards, when people pull your feed, they will pull it through Feedburner who will keep count for you.

One Addition

I mentioned before that I feed in the classical WordPress feed into Pageflakes.  Those carry on working just fine.  In addition, my old WordPress.com feed continues to operate. It is pulling content from my new blog quite fine.

I double checked and Pageflakes continues to discover my ordinary feed, not the Feedburner feed.  If someone types the name of your url into their Google Reader, this is also true.  So some feeds don’t get counted.  I imagine that to fix this, we would need to adjust the code in WordPress.  Not too hard, but I’ll experiment with that another day.

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