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Pinging Your Blogs to Search Engines

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

How to monitor RSS feed traffic

Since an RSS feed is just a plain XML file, by itself, it has no way of recording hits. How would you know if anyone has subscribed to your RSS feed? How do you know you're not just writing to an empty audience?

Well, there are a few ways to track RSS feed traffic. One way, would be to just look at your web server statistics and see how many hits your RSS feed has. However, if you have a blog like this one, hosted by a free blogging service, you probably don't have access to web logs.

Instead, there is a pretty cool service available, and it's free. It's called FeedBurner http://www.feedburner.com.

What you do is, visit their web site, sign up for a free account using the standard stats account. You type in the URL to your RSS feed. They then provide you with a new RSS feed URL. This new URL goes through their servers, allowing the ability to keep track of hits, traffic, content, and a lot more. You would then go back over to your blog, and insert a little RSS graphic link on your page, indicating users can subscribe to your RSS feed. For the URL to your feed, just stick in the FeedBurner URL they provided to you.

Here is what the link in your blog might look like:

What's even cooler, your new FeedBurner URL does a lot more than just redirect to your RSS feed. It can actually let users who don't have an RSS reader still read your feed by "pretty-printing" it in the web browser. It also displays a friendly message explaining how to get an RSS reader. Seeing as how RSS readers are not mainstream yet, this is certainly a handy feature.

Another cool feature is FeedBurner's counter. You can link to a special counter that displays the current number of subscribers to your feed. It looks just like a web page counter - except it's an RSS feed counter!

So, what does all this mean for your blog? Well, it means now you have a way to count your RSS subscribers. Now you'll know how many people are listening!

What's that you say? You don't have an RSS feed yet? Well then you better find out if you already have an RSS feed or make one. Also make sure you submit your feed too.



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