Social Media Tools

Feedburner to Feedblitz – Why We Migrated Our RSS Feed

Did you know that you don’t need a third-party feed service to deliver an RSS feed? It’s no secret, but using a service like Feedburner has become a common best practice for feed delivery among bloggers and marketers alike. The service is free so there’s no risk involved (theoretically) and using a feed service isn’t something that marketers see as an option.

Why? Without a feed delivery service, there’s no way for you to see who has subscribed to your RSS feed and where they came from, not to mention you’re unable to support subscription by email. If you can’t view statistics, you can’t measure your progress, and if you can’t measure your progress, you can’t monetize your results.

The State of Feedburner

Feedburner is a free service purchased by the fine folks at Google, who have a history of sometimes killing off or rolling up useful software. Six years after its acquisition, it looks like the popular RSS feed delivery service Feedburner may be the next to fall.

The Feedburner forum is dead. The Feedburner Twitter account is dead. The Feedburner blog is dead. What little support documentation Feedburner had isn’t being updated. Some bloggers claim that their RSS feeds are not updating at all anymore.

At Convince & Convert, we didn’t want to wait around speculating any longer, so we made a switch.

Why We Switched from Feedburner to Feedblitz

Feedburner’s blog statistics have historically been known as unreliable and varying. For a blog that has more than 16,000 subscribers, unreliable numbers aren’t good enough for us. We want to know where our subscribers are coming from and who they are so we can provide the most valuable content.

When we learned about Feedblitz’s capabilities as they relate to our valuable feed, we were intrigued. In short, Feedblitz is a business (it’s not free like Feedburner) but it also operates like a business, and that’s a worthy trade-off for us.

Easy Feedburner to Feedblitz Migration

Screen Shot 2012 09 11 at 11.56.28 AM Feedburner to Feedblitz   Why We Migrated Our RSS Feed

Phil Hollows, the founder of Feedblitz, has a deep level of understanding of what it’s like to be a frustrated Feedburner user. As a result, he’s put together a comprehensive and practical guide for switching your feed over from Feedburner to Feedblitz. Its step-by-step instructions are extremely simple to follow, include screenshots for the visual learners, and make the seemingly overwhelming process a breeze. There is a certain level of satisfaction when you can put the pieces in place, click one button, and watch your RSS numbers rise inside your Feedblitz account.

His team has also developed a WordPress plugin that finds every instance of your feed URL and routes it through your Feedblitz feed. This way you can always use your blog’s native feed and monitor all subscribers to the site, whether they’re subscribed through your native feed or your Feedblitz feed.

Paid Service = Awesome Support

After your free 30-day trial, Feedblitz requires that you pay a monthly subscription fee that depends on the number of active email subscribers. In other words, if you only have RSS subscribers, Feedblitz’s services are a mere $1.49/month, but if you’re delivering blog posts by email you’ll pay an additional fee. This might seem unappealing to users who have never paid for an RSS feed delivery service, but when compared to the alternative at Feedburner (free service = no support + ads) this was a no-brainer for us. Not only can the Feedblitz team guide you on any technology issues (deactivating your Feedburner account is a scary thing, we know), their team is able to advise based on best marketing practices, not just best feed practices.

Custom Email Templates

Delivering ad-free blog posts to our readers’ inboxes was an important priority for us. When we found out we didn’t need to use any pre-made templates for our emails, we were delighted. We had been looking to streamline our design to match the new site, and our One Social Thing email newsletter (which we rely upon our awesome pals at Infusionsoft to send). Feedblitz allowed us to copy the HTML from the existing One Social Thing newsletter template and modify it slightly to pull in an excerpt of new blog posts, add our sponsors, and include a promotional area for upcoming news and events. The best part is that we can modify these custom content areas in our template without having to dig into the HTML.

Infusionsoft Integration

All of our core email marketing and contact management is done through Infusionsoft, and we were worried about using multiple systems (Infusionsoft + Feedblitz) to manage our email lists. We didn’t want users to have to re-subscribe or get pushed over to the wrong list. This was not an issue, as Feedblitz helped us create a custom parser that pulls email subscribers directly in from Infusionsoft. No need to create new lead forms, no need to copy over existing lists. The only importing we needed to do was outlined in the Feedburner migration manual.

Clean Design, Seamless Delivery, Reliable Metrics

We’ve been using Feedblitz for a few weeks now and are feeling comfortable with the stability of our feed delivery. We’re able to pull delivery metrics, referring pages, circulation, and drill down by type of blog post, topic, and more. If you’re subscribed to receive our blog posts by email, we hope you’re enjoying the new look. If you’re not yet subscribed, feel free to subscribe by email or through an RSS reader and let us know what you think.

Are you thinking about switching off Feedburner? What’s holding you back?

We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about it. Just let us know.

small vertical Feedburner to Feedblitz   Why We Migrated Our RSS Feed

Related
  • http://communicatto.com/ dblacombe

    I’ve been on the verge of switching for months. Truth is, change is hard and finding the little bit of time to do it has been tough as I am unnerved at the notion. So I have been stalled. I know I need to man up and get on with it, cost certainly isn’t the issue at those prices, but when to pull the trigger? Maybe this weekend …

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

      dblacombe It definitely takes some time to wrap your head around the idea, even though the actual process takes less than 30 minutes. I agree that if nothing is really broken, it’s hard to justify fixing it, but you never know when they could pull the trigger on Feedburner entirely and then you’re scrambling! That’s what we wanted to avoid.

      • kstaxman

        jessostroff dblacombe They don’t even really have to pull the plug to make it necessary to change. They just have to keep reducing services and mucking up the feeds with poor delivery and more and more ads. And Google has been doing all of the above for sometime now. Everyone I know that uses them has seen the service start to decline at an ever alarming rate. At this point if Google keeps Feedburner going I’m not interested it such a cra**y service anyway. 

  • chelpixie

    @jasonkonopinski The Feedburner API is due to be closed in October, which makes switching a necessity vs. an option. cc @jessostroff

  • chelpixie

    @jasonkonopinski Since most plugins rely on the API, they can do work arounds but it’s too close to being abandoned for good. @jessostroff

    • jessostroff

      @chelpixie @jasonkonopinski I didn’t know it was actually closing, I just saw a lot of speculation! Good news for @Feedblitz I suppose :)

      • chelpixie

        @jessostroff Aye, the API is but honestly the downgrading of everything is enough to make me flee. (cc @jasonkonopinski )

        • jasonkonopinski

          @chelpixie @jessostroff /flee

        • jessostroff

          @jasonkonopinski @chelpixie yep, my feelings exactly. if you guys need help, let me know :)

        • phollows

          @jessostroff Hi Jess – biz oppy for you? Setting up a directory of migration-capable providers. LMK if you’d like to be included.

        • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

          phollows Would love to! What an honor. Thanks for the opportunity, Phil! 

  • phollows

    Thank you Jay and Jess, for your business and your trust and for the shout out. Welcome!

  • blondycandy

    Great information!  Will my subscribers have to subscribe to my new feed again? 

    • phollows

      blondycandy It depends on your setup. if you download the free guide from feedblitz.com it tells you how to move and we can support your migration. The true answer is “It depends” and many don’t have to change – that’s how Jay and CopyBlogger did it – and sometiumes they do have to resubscribe. We have tools and techniques to get everyone with  a pulse over for you.

  • jgombita

    Yes @phollows, @paulgailey pointed me to @jaybaer’s post (and I RT’d it).

  • RedheadReverie

    @phollows @jaybaer Awesome information thanks, it’s nice to know it may not be as hard as I think to make the switch.

  • phollows

    @jessostroff Thanks for the mention – and welcome!

  • jaybaer

    @phollows I like a welcome huge. Thanks Phil!

  • kstaxman

    Sadly if history is any indication Feedburner is dead just not buried. I’ve not seen Google bring back or save a service once they start to close it down and as you point out that’s what is happening. So it’s really not about liking or not liking a change it’s about changing BEFORE they pull the plug.It would be nice if Google didn’t always operate this way and make decisions behind closed doors about something like Feedburner. And you have to wonder about the corporate climate that has so many companies buying other companies just to trash them and then shut them down.The worst of it is that for Google it made real sense to buy Feedburner. Google has all the necessary infrastructure to support a demanding service like Feedburner. And they already monitor and do analytics on every imaginable part of the internet so they can easily handle that part even rolling it into their other Google analytics to make one master dashboard showing all aspects of a sites metrics. And Feedburner was established and had a good customer base so there wasn’t any reason for Google to have to work to build a client base. Google even has lots of products and services that could use the service themselves (can you imagine using RSS feeds to notify of updates to a shared Google document for example). And they could have even easily made a premium option and made money off of the service.But as in many cases today Google just took what it bought and turned it into trash. From the day they got Feedburner you could begin to see the difference in its performance. Then Google decided, behind closed doors, that Feedburner wasn’t something they wanted to keep, being trash and all, and started shutting it down. And Google is shutting it down without even the courtesy of telling people of their decision.Google likes to play it that way when they shut something down. Just begin to take away staff, reduce services, shut down all contact, and let the number of users drop until they can say; “Sorry we just don’t have enough demand for this service!”Anyway Feedburner is gone don’t wait till you find yourself suddenly with no RSS feed service to change to something else. And again, as so often anymore, I ask what happened to the company that promised “to do no evil”. I guess that company isn’t there anymore! Or maybe that company never was there except in our imaginations.

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

      kstaxman Such a sad story indeed. It seems like they’ve established their priorities and anything that’s not in the top tier doesn’t matter. That’s unfortunate for the thousands (if not millions) of people who have relied on Feedburner all this time, most of whom don’t even realize the service is dying. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • JessicaNTurner

    I would encourage your readers to look at the various options for paid feed services. I attended a conference in January that Phil presented it and was very impressed by the scope of Feedblitz’s services. Shortly after I migrated from Feedburner to Feedblitz. I have been very happy with Feedblitz’s customer service, but I will say that the interface is not super user friendly. After talking with other bloggers and exploring various options, I plan to move to Mail Chimp this fall. The interface is much more user friendly and attractive and the analytics appear to be more robust. Just something to think about!

    • kstaxman

      JessicaNTurner I’ve looked at MailChimp and it does look interesting but having followed some friends problems with closed or dropped accounts I would caution that you check out their customer service especially if you’re in on line marketing.I say that because I had a friend that had been with them for over 2 years and had his account shut down without even the courtesy of an email before. It took over two weeks for him to get anyone at there “customer service” to finally agree to turn his account back on only to find all the lists for that account had been wiped clean. Worse still was in the end they admitted it was there mistake but the damage had been done.And while I know many that have been with MailChimp with no problems I just don’t think I could ever feel safe with them after watching this happen. So take it easy and check things out before you move to MailChimp. I wish you the best as this is most definitely a major issue for many of us.

  • http://www.bobwp.com/ bobWP

    Yes, I’m in the middle of this same transition.. and looked at all options. Feedblitz seemed the best. And since I am doing this to three blogs, it has been fun : ) It was scary at first to know that the RSS subscribers would need to resubscribe again, but through their guide they have some pretty slick methods to help along the way. At least it was easy to move the email subscribers. And the features they have are awesome… 

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

      bobWP It’s definitely scary! And as phollows mentions below, you don’t necessarily have to have your subscribers re-subscribe. It just depends on how you do it. IMO, we had an incredibly easy time making the change and didn’t lose very many people along the way. It was like magic! Thanks for your feedback :)

  • jessostroff

    @annelizhannan On indeed! Thanks for sharing.

  • phollows

    @cargillcreative Thanks for the mention, Bob :)

    • cargillcreative

      @phollows My pleasure, Phil! That was an excellent post about FeedBlitz! cc: @jessostroff @jaybaer

  • iagdotme

    Thanks for this- really interesting article. I do hope you are not right that Feedburner is dead, but the signs are ominous! I love the look of Feedblitz and I think some things are worth paying for- particularly if you get good support. My only concern is the pricing of email- it can get very expensive if you get a lot of subscribers. I suppose I am not there yet as my blog is young and I am not making any money from it yet, but it does concern me in terms of scalbility as $75 per month is a lot of money!

    • http://jessostroff.com/ jessostroff

      iagdotme Definitely. I’d argue that you’re probably making more money in other ways if you have that many subscribers (or at least you should be!) so the $75 investment is nothing. I think it’s worth switching off of Feedburner now even if you don’t go directly to Feedblitz but use another service instead. It’s not worth scrambling if they completely shut down the service!

      • phollows

        jessostroff iagdotme No other RSS to email service has an RSS serving and stats (like FeedBurner’s core serice) except for FeedBlitz. On the RSS to email front none have the flexibilty with schedules, filters etc that we do as far as I know. That’s why we worked for Jay and Jesse, since we integrated the email side with InfusionSoft

        • iagdotme

          phollows thanks, I will look into it more as I love the sound of it. I suppose there is nothing stopping me (as I said in my previous comment) to offer RSS via Feedblitz and for the time being offer email subscription via Feedburner. I think medium/long term I’d love to completely switch, but it’s just a case of money. I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for and the Feedblitz prices look very reasonable.Could you confirm that there is an easy way to migrate RSS and email subscribers from Feedburner to Feedblitz? Thanks!

        • phollows

           iagdotme It’s all in here, and yes: It’s easy. http://www.feedblitz.com/the-feedburner-migration-guide/ And if it isn’t we’ll hand-hold you through the process.

      • iagdotme

        jessostroff iagdotme yes, you’re probably right. I’d love to be in the position to have that many subscribers and presumably by that point the blog would be paid for. I think for the time being it might be prudent to continue to offer Feedburner to current subscribers but to offer Feedblitz to new subscribers. I assume there is a way to migrate subscribers from Feedburner over to Feedblitz easily? The other thing I thought of is that I could (for the time being) continue to offer email subscriptions using Feedburner whilst offering RSS via Feedblitz. If Feedburner goes under, then I’d only be worrying about migrating the email list.

  • ChrisCree

    @JeffAbel I didn’t see that article before. Gotta say they are probably right though. :(

  • jessostroff

    @JasonFalls YOU’RE awesome.

  • http://judyleedunn.com/ JudyDunn

    I’m a little worried about making the move (though I will be doing it) because 80% of my subscribers are RSS. I heard that RSS folks would have to resubscribe and I know that usually a substantial number are lost when that happens. I guess i will be finding out. 

    • phollows

      JudyDunn Hi Judy: Whether anyone needs to resubscribe at all depends greatly on your current setup. Mail us for help om this. Even when re-subscription is required our real-world experience coupled with the tools we have to convince subscribers to change is that after 10 days or so your readership will be back more or less where it was. Anyone with a pulse who wants your content will come over. Promise. Details in the Migration Guide at http://www.feedblitz.com/the-feedburner-migration-guide/

  • http://angengland.com AngEngland

    I recently had big troubles with mailchimp and had my list shut down (thankfully temporarily) after over 3 years of being a model list owner. Without a word…it was troubling to say the least. I will definitely be making the switch as well. 

    • phollows

      AngEngland Looking forward to working with you, Ang. Please let us know if you need any help with the transition.

  • phollows

    @JasonFalls Hi Jason – should we catch up soon? // cc @jessostroff

  • http://www.bleedingcool.com/ markseifert

    I looked at feedblitz recently because feedburner’s pubsubhubub pushes have become unreliable. Unfortunately, feeblitz has no mention of pubsubhubub on its site, that I saw.This is important to the way I use RSS. (pubsubhubub + dlvr.it = a great way to cook up twitter feeds)Does feedblitz utlize pubsubhubub?  Is there any pay service out there besides superfeedr that does?

  • andrea_r

    @SimpleMom I;ve been handling that exact question in the forums. Shutting off API is not shutting down FB. :)

  • bgardner

    @SimpleMom @problogger Yeah – we migrated the @copyblogger feed to Feedblitz, so it’s definitely on our radar.

    • SimpleMom

      @bgardner @problogger I’m just in sticker shock at how much we’d have to pay for our email service.

      • bgardner

        @SimpleMom @problogger Heh. Sticker shock is when I get my property tax bill each year. ;-)

      • phollows

        @SimpleMom Tsh – happy to work with you on what switching might involve. Our fees are active *email* subs only // @bgardner @problogger

      • phollows

        @SimpleMom And i hope that if you look at the results link I sent earlier you’ll see the *value* // @bgardner @problogger

        • SimpleMom

          @phollows Thanks; I’ll look it over!

    • phollows

      @bgardner Happy to be running the @copyblogger feed :) Other results: http://t.co/oL4r9Lfx // cc @SimpleMom @problogger

  • jessicaesquire

    @cindymeltz I know! I think you RT’d it? I clicked and was like, “Hmm, I’ll have to figure that out in the next few weeks.” So much for that

    • cindymeltz

      @jessicaesquire I did. Who knew? Glad there are smart people who figure this stuff out for us.

  • jessostroff

    @cindymeltz @jessicaesquire Oh man, I haven’t been paying attention since last week (especially now that we’re not using them anymore)!

    • cindymeltz

      @jessostroff @jessicaesquire Yeah, it’s a big topic today in blogger circles– panic from those who have thousands of subscribers…

      • jessostroff

        @cindymeltz @jessicaesquire I’m sure @phollows is having a blast with that. Phil, you’re going to need a community manager soon!

        • cindymeltz

          @jessostroff @phollows … @jessicaesquire and I were saying the EXACT same thing!

  • engrmudasirmalik

    Great post, as i was planning to create feed for my blog and publish that feed, Your post helped me alot.
    Thanks for that.

  • Pierre Laing

    I would advise you to stay away from Feedblitz. Zero support! i have tried their support email. no reply, Their twitter account, No reply. They don’t accept comments on their Facebook profile either. Full of spam! What a waste of time.

  • NEWBIE

    I need some advice. I’ve just switched to FeedBlitz and was speaking with someone who was very rough and finally hung up on me. Anyone experience this?