Feedburner is great – you get snazzy graphs . And other stuff. People use your feedburner link, instead of your raw RSS feed, in their feed reader and Feedburner will track your number of subscribers.
But it cannot track this information if your readers don’t use your Feedburner link. Why wouldn’t they use your Feedburner link? For two reasons:
- You haven’t included the link on your blog sidebar (most people do this correctly)
- You haven’t replaced the RSS links in your blog header (most people stuff this up)
Understand, there are two common ways for blog subscribers to add your site to their reader:
- Add the RSS feed – in this case, the Feedburner link you added to your sidebar, such as http://feeds.feedburner.com/DrNic
- Add the site url – such as http://drnicwilliams.com
Unfortunately for many bloggers, if your readers use the latter method and you haven’t fixed your header (shown below), then they will be signing up for the raw RSS feed, and you’ll be none the wiser about them. They’ll be an invisible subscriber and won’t make your graphs as tall as they should be.
Let’s take an example of a broken blog and fix it for him. But, you can’t actually tell him to fix it otherwise I’ll have to update my example. Ad infinitum. So, its mum’s the word, ok? Only 180 subscribers on this blog – statistically he’s not one of them. Shhhh.
Visit the pinupgeek.com run by Rodney, where you’ll get weekly updates on the forum discussions of core improvements. On the right hand side, you’ll see the heading Subscribe and the RSS logo. The link under this logo is http://feeds.feedburner.com/pinupgeek – a Feedburner link. So we know he wants people to use his Feedburner link so he can watch his pretty graphs.
Now, right click on the page, and select “View Page source”. Note that in the header you’ll see the following:
<link href="http://www.pinupgeek.com/xml/rss" rel="alternate" title="RSS" type="application/rss+xml" />
This link, of type
application/rss+xml, will be used by RSS readers around the world automagically when passed a blog url, instead of an RSS feed link.
Here’s what happens in Netvibes for Rodney’s site:
No Feedburner link, just the raw RSS link (and a RSD feed link – what’s this for??).
So, let’s fix Rodney’s site.
Replace the above link with the following (using your blog’s theme editor):
<link href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/pinupgeek" rel="alternate" title="RSS" type="application/rss+xml" />
If Rodney did this, then when I added his site into my Netvibes reader – or any other reader – I would automatically pick up his Feedburner link, and not his raw, unmonitored links.
In other words, his graph will get bigger.
 My blog is one month old and here is my Feedburner graph:
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