(NOTE: This post updated 5/27/14 w/ additional info.)
So I burned my blog today. No, I didn’t delete or otherwise destroy my blog. Rather I did something I thought I had done a long time ago, and apparently never completed. Namely I signed my blog’s post feed up for a FeedBurner account so I can use some of the features that service provides: such as stats, friendlier subscription options, SmartFeed, and more.
What prompted this is that one of my friends asked if he could subscribe to my blog via email instead of via a post feed. I know there are a number of WordPress plugins that can enable this feature, but I thought I already set up FeedBurner monitoring of my site and knew that the service could be set up to manage email subscribers.
Another feature I like is that FeedBurner can be set up to offer a SmartFeed (which my site is now using) which will provide the appropriate feed protocol and version based on the feed reader the user chooses to subscribe with.
Before I instigated this change however I wanted to make sure that my website’s current feed address would continue to work. So I found and installed a WordPress plugin (RS Feedburner) which very simply redirects anyone requesting your site’s post or comments feed to FeedBurner’s copy.
My first thought when reading about this was: Well how does FeedBurner get your site’s feed if all requests are being redirected. Turns out the redirect program is smart and checks who is requesting your site’s feed. If its FeedBurner it serves them the updated feed; if it’s anyone else it simply sends them to FeedBurner.
At least that’s the way I think it works. This post will be the real test to see if this selective redirect is successful. Otherwise I may have to set up a “private” feed url that FeedBurner checks, while redirecting my “public” feed url to FeedBurner’s copy of that private feed, which this ancient Feedburner help page mentions. But if I read the plugin maker’s very simple instructions properly, (and from reviewing the plugin’s code with my somewhat limited php knowledge,) I’m pretty sure that this additional step is not going to be necessary. I’ll update this post later depending on what I find out.
UPDATE: Everything appears to be working great with the “RS Feedburner” WordPress plugin. FeedBurner picked up this post to my blog without any problems, while ordinary requests for my sites feed are successfully being redirected. On a side note, the FeedBurner email subscription service I set up also seem to be working well.
Of course the real question is how long will the FeedBurner service be around considering Google got rid of Google Reader, and the apparent disdain they have shown in the past year or so for RSS, syndication, and the API’s they had developed for these services. Well considering this is my little to no traffic personal blog, I guess I’ll cross that bridge if and when it approaches. For the time being we’ll see how this free service will work.