So a few days ago I decided to make the move, strictly because I moved my sponsorships over to the BuySellAds service and they had an option to show RSS Feed Subscribers. Long story short, they were requiring the use of the FeedBurner Awareness API…which is dead. The option was not working so it was suggested I change to another service. I decided after poking around to look at something a little more robust than FeedBurner. It’s been great but in the end….it’s free and you know what you get for free. The thing about FeedBlitz is there is much more than RSS, but today I just need a good RSS replacement. The challenge was making sure the current subscribers were also moved over. This is where things got cool for the sake of cool. Before you start, mine is a very basic setup, if you want to get the full manual download the Migration Guide. Lastly, I will mention their support has been great….also something you don’t get with the free FeedBurner service.
Get a FeedBlitz RSS Account
Okay the obvious first step is to get a trial account, but even at that the RSS only option is like $15 a year…so it’s not going to break the bank that’s for sure. I will admit as I always do I happened to find a bug in their order processing system, which was quickly fixed. I am good at breaking stuff! You just want to make sure you start there if you want to just migrate your RSS feeds over. Yes it is true that they do E-Mail marketing and all that stuff as well, but again, if your goal is to just move off FeedBurner…this is the place to go if you ask around. There is a good Will I lose Subscribers FAQ as well you may want to read. If nothing else they have covered the bases of migration in great detail.
Migrate a FeedBurner Feed with Subscribers
This is a multi step process of which I have pulled the basic steps out of their guide. You can download a free copy of it from their website but Step 1 is the easy part.
- Go to “Add Site”
- Click the FeedBurner Login button
- Sign in
- Pick the FeedBurner feed / email list to migrate
- Choose your feed monetization options
- Start the migration process
- Integrate with your website
Step 2 is where it changes for some people. I had a simple setup to begin with. I always used the /feed address off my primary blog and had the FeedBurner FeedSmith Extend plugin. Part of the process involves removing that and any other RSS redirection plugins and replacing them with the FeedBlitz One called FeedBlitz FeedSmart. Also if you are not using WordPress your setup will vary and if you have used the raw FeedBurner URL in places you will need to update that.
- Disable and clear all theme settings that refer to FeedBurner. Be thorough.
- Disable and clear all plugins that handle redirects.
- Disable feed caching.
- For WordPress users:
- Remove any sections of .htaccess that refer to feeds and FeedBurner.
- Download and activate the FeedBlitz FeedSmart plugin.
- Configure it to use your new FeedBlitz RSS feed.
- If you use a CNAME entry for your feed, update it to point to feeds.feedblitz.com.
- Check auto discovery tags are not referring to FeedBurner.
- Go to your site’s native feed URL – it should redirect to FeedBlitz
Finally to completely leave FeedBurner all together you can perform the final steps from the FAQ listed above:
- Go back to the feed details and replace the feed URL there with the URL for your FeedBlitz feed
- Verify that your FeedBurner feed is now picking up its articles from your FeedBlitz feed
- To migrate your remaining RSS readers over to FeedBlitz, go to FeedBurner and click “Delete Feed…”
- IMPORTANT: Check ON the “With permanent redirection” box
- Click the scary “Delete Feed” button
- Make sure your auto discovery links and other feed widgets are now using your FeedBlitz feed. Some of my permanently moved ones are below.
You can see these are redirecting to the new FeedBlitz ones. The final “Delete” for my main feed on this site will happen later. I want to see how the subscriber counts work. You can leave all your items in place if you like, but I think the service is worth the $15, so I went all in.
At this point your metrics will start to move over nightly. There will be some discrepancy which I have seen where some feed bots may be using the raw FeedBurner URL out on the web, but that’s something you will use. The real people will be moved over and that’s most likely what is more important. What I like is you can manage one “Site” with multiple feeds like I do for this blog. I have a main feed, a comments, feed, and a VMware specific feed as you can see below. A god chunk of subscribers have moved over, but over all it was pretty painless. I’d like to figure out the other bots over time, so I may not kill the FeedBurner feed yet.
Updated 2/3/14: So after completing the final steps above of “Deleting” my FeedBurner feeds with permanent re-direction it does seem that the subscribers are getting through their final updates as you can see below. All in all the migration went pretty well and I think I’m happy with the results and the support provided by the FeedBlitz folks. Although I realize the feeds are ever changing as well this is still a much better service than FeedBurner