Back in the day, if you started a blog, one of the first things you did was hook it up to Feedburner – a third-party service that adds some tricks and features to the run-of-the-mill RSS feed.
(A reminder that RSS – or “Really Simple Syndication” is the protocol/format that blogs and websites use to publish updates.)
In practice, your RSS feed takes your blog’s content and formats into a standard format so that all sorts of tools like feed readers (e.g. Google Reader ) and email programs and browsers can serve up your site’s content to those readers who “subscribe” to the feed.
Even if you aren’t familiar with RSS, you may be familiar with the “Get Posts Via Email” forms that you see in the many sidebars of websites. This functionality is handled – in many many cases – by Feedburner.
So what’s the problem?
Well, Google purchased Feedburner a few years back – and by all accounts, it looks like Google’s going to kill the service. The Feedburner forum is closed. The Feedburner blog and the Feedburner Twitter account are inactive.
So it’s just a matter of time before Google pulls the plug, and this is a big deal for many web publishers, because so many of us use Feedburner to send out emailed versions of our posts (amongst other functionality – including tracking subscriptions and determining reach).
The good news is that you don’t need to fret. There are some moves you can make now that will put Feedburner in the rear view mirror.
It’s important to understand that Feedburner works by “taking over” your own blog’s “native” RSS feed, and replaces with a new feed produced by Feedburner. So first, you need to find out if you actually use Feedburner. Check your feed, or ask your web person. If you’re not using Feedburner, then you’re done (although you should review the other services I’ll mention below).
If you are using Feedburner, you’ll need to disconnect your feed and use your own “native” feed. Then, I’d recommend either of two services depending on your needs.
- Use Mailchimp for your RSS-to-email service.
Mailchimp is a broadcast email firm that many folks use to send email newsletters. Mailchimp offers an alternative for delivering your RSS-driven emails. Just like FeedBurner, they offer a free plan and you can link your Google Analytics to your MailChimp account. They have clear instructions on how to make the switch and import your subscribers from Feedburner.
- Use Feedblitz as an apples-apples replacement for Feedburner.
Feedblitz is basically a paid version of Feedburner. So in addition to the RSS-to-email functionality, they offer a range of other feed-based services, including integration with a wide range of marketing software. If you are serious about leveraging your web content – Feedblitz may be worth the cost for you.