Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Using FeedBurner with Blogger

Most blogging platforms ... Blogger (BlogSpot) included ... include feeds. Blogger has had Atom feeds for some time. The new version of Blogger also includes RSS feeds.

But that's not the only way to provide feeds.

The popular service FeedBurner also works with Blogger. Both the new version (the one with widgets) and the older version.

First Things First

The first thing you need is a FeedBurner account. You can get a free account ... or you can get the expanded functionality of a paid account. For our discussion here, we'll assume a free account.

Add Your Blog

Once your FeedBurner account is set up, you'll be able to add feeds to your account. This is possible if you have just one blog ... or if you have multiple blogs.

On the FeedBurner home page, enter your blog's URL, click "I'm a podcaster" if you're a podcaster (we'll assume you are not; if you don't know if you are, then you are not), then click "Next."

If you don't have any feeds set up, you need to set up a feed. From your Dashboard, go to Settings > Site Feed. Set up a feed for your posts. You may also set up feeds for Comments via the Advanced Mode link.

Unless your blog is really, really old (at least, it's been around for a while), you likely will have two possibilities: Atom and RSS. We're going to choose RSS.

Name Your Feed

If all goes well (and it should), you'll be presented with the chance to name your feed. It will likely pre-populate with the selections you'll want, though you can customize this information.

Once everything's as you want (and the default selections are likely just fine), click the "Activate Feed" button.

If all goes well (and it should), click "Next."

You'll get the option to "Go Pro." That is, pay for extended features. It's you option. You can do that now, do it later, or never do it at all.

For now, we'll assume you're not going pro at this time. Click "Next."

Now For The Tricky Part

How you proceed next depends on whether or not you use the new Blogger templates or the old Blogger templates.

First, the old Blogger templates, then the new Blogger templates.

Modifying Your Old Blogger Template

On your FeedBurner account (that's where we already were; we had just clicked "Next," remember?), click the "Publicize" tab.

Find "Chicklet Chooser" in the menu on the left. We're going to accept the default (the big orange one).

Scroll almost all the way down, to theHTML in the box, right above the Widget selection. Pay no attention to the Widget box. That's for the new Blogger templates. If you have the new Blogger templatess, you should be reading that section.

Open a new window (or tab) and sign in to your Blogger account.

From the Dashboard, go to Template > Edit HTML.

NOTE: Before you go any further, you need to back up your template. Never, never, never make any changes to your Blogger template's HTML without making a backup. Trust me on this. Don't learn the hard way!

Find a spot in your sidebar for the code. A good place is right before or after the "Powered by Blogger" button that you may have in the sidebar.

Once you've placed it, click "Save Template Changes."

Modifying Your New Blogger Template

On your FeedBurner account (that's where we already were; we had just clicked "Next," remember?), click the "Publicize" tab.

Find "Chicklet Chooser" in the menu on the left. We're going to accept the default (the big orange one).

Scroll all the way down to where it says "Use widget in TypePad/Blogger". Select"Blogger." Then click "Go."

A new window will open. If you have more than one Blogger/Blogspot blog, select the one you're building a feed for. You can also change the text in the "Title" box if you wish.

Click "Add Widget."

You'll be sent to the Template > Page Elements page, where you can move the widget to the desired location in the Sidebar. Once you're happy with that, click "Save."

Now What?

Now, you can get fancy. Like using FeedFlare. That is, taking advantage of some of the functions that FeedBurner has to offer. Like emailing the post, Technorati links, comment count, CCL, del.icio.us, Digg this, Facebook, Stumble Upon, and more.

We'll cover that next time.


  1. The link doesn't work to register at feedburner.

  2. Found the issue with the "register" link. It's only valid if there is an existing session. Which there wouldn't be ... since you're coming from my page. My bad!

    I can't find a standard link for registration, so I've modified it to the regulard FeedBurner home page. Clicking the "register" link at the top of the page will work ... since the session exists once you're on the FeedBurner home page.

    Ain't Websites fun!?!

  3. OK, all done registering my feed over at Feedburner. Coolio! And thanks.

  4. Um I didn't see all them fancy tricks over there at feedburner. I look forward to your "next time" article on this. ;-)

  5. or, you can just use addthis.com -- the feedflare stuff was okay, but I couldn't put in graphics for the various bookmarking sites.


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