I’ve recently signed up with FeedBurner.com to syndicate this site’s RSS feed. Feed syndication is something I could do myself, but I like some of the extras that FeedBurner has to offer. Here’s how the service works: I submit my feeds URL to FeedBurner an they parse it into a more RSS reader format (if it’s needed) and track the statistics. The data they gather is available to me via a fairly comprehensive dashboard control panel that provides me with a number of options.
Shows charts and graphs of how often my feed is requested, what RSS newsreaders are requesting it, how many subscribers I have, and in general how it’s being used by the rest of the world. This is helpful because it allows me to write articles with my target audience in mind. For example, I notice that the majority of this site’s syndication is from other websites rather than individual RSS readers. By writing more attention getting headlines, my articles will attract more attention (something that is not as crucial if an individual is already subscribing to the feed).
FeedBurner offers a several useful utilities designed to optimize your news feed. The most useful is SmartFeed which takes your existing feed and maximizes compatibility with the rapidly changing technology and wide array of news readers available today.
Some of the publication tools offered include counters like the one featured on this site to track and display the number of subscribers. Automatic “chicklet” button generators dispense easy to use feed subscription buttons for a variety of reader platforms that you can post on your site to make it easy for your audience to subscribe.
Perhaps the most interesting and as yet unexplored option I’ve encountered is the monetization feature offered by FeedBurner. Similar to the Google AdWords/AdSense products for websites, FeedBurner offers the ability to buy and sell advertising on your RSS feed. As the popularity of RSS grows, this could become a lucrative source of revenue for bloggers and website owners.