The FeedBurner Glory Days
When I started blogging, one of the first things I did was set up FeedBurner. I didn't even understand what I was doing, but I'd seen a post about how important it was for your blog. It was a pretty simple process if I remember correctly, and things went smoothly for a while. Then, in December 2012, Google announced that they would no longer be supporting FeedBurner. They weren't getting rid of it completely, but they were basically abandoning it.
When FeedBurner Fails
In the last few months, I've noticed that my FeedbBurner stats were all over the place. I wasn't getting an accurate subscriber count. It would be really high one day, and then it would plummet the next. It would typically sort itself out within a few days, but it always worried me. It was actually Shae's "PSA: Abandon FeedBurner" post that gave me the push I needed to make the change. FeedBurner dropped hundreds of her email subscribers! I know, I had a heart attack just reading her story. She talks a little bit about her chosen solution, so I thought I'd highlight mine.
In my research, I kept coming across FeedPress. The reviews for it sounded really great, and I liked that
there was both a free and a premium version. I decided to start with the free version, but I'm definitely intrigued by the upgrade. If you go that route, it's $3 per month or save by paying just $30 for a year. UPDATE 7.2.14: FeedPress now only offers a premium version for new customers.
You can check out the features of FeedPress pro versus free, as well as see how it compares to FeedBurner, in a chart on this page of their website. Honestly, I was sold because it seemed so easy to transfer everything. I'm not terrible with computers, but I get nervous about things like this! Thankfully, the process was simple.
From FeedBurner to FeedPress
Before you get started: Log in to FeedBurner and export your FeedBurner email subscriber list. Here's a great tutorial if you don't know how. It'll be a CSV file, which you'll need when you get started with FeedPress.
Signing up for FeedPress: First, sign up for FeedPress. It takes two seconds to create an account! It just asks for:
Now, you're ready to get started!
These steps come from the official FeedPress migration tutorial.
1. Create the feed on FeedPress.
Once you've signed up with FeedPress, you'll either be prompted to create your feed or you'll need to go to the feed creation page. Here's what the form looks like that you'll fill in:
** For current feed URL, you must use your original feed address - not the Feedburner one! **
You'll choose an alias - I just did the name of my blog. FeedPress will let you know if it's a valid feed and if your alias is available by highlighting the boxes in green.
Although it's not pictured in the first screenshot, there was an option here to import email subscribers. This is where your list from FeedBurner is important! Follow the instructions by uploading the CSV file you downloaded earlier. Then, click "Add the Feed."
2. Site configuration for the feed.
So, you want to make sure that your feed is also configured for your site.
If you're using Wordpress: Install the WordPress FeedPress plugin. It does all the hard work for you!
If you're using Blogger: From your Blogger dashboard, go to "Settings" in the left-hand menu and then navigate to the "Other" section. In the "Site feed" section, you'll want to fill in the "Post Feed Redirect URL" field with the new FeedPress URL that you just created.
If you're using Tumblr, SquareSpace, etc.: Check the official FeedPress migration tutorial.
3. Disable the FeedBurner feed.
Okay, this is the scary part. It's easy - but it's totally nerve-wracking. Well, it was for me at least.
WARNING: Make sure that you have exported your email subscribers in a CSV file before you continue this process. They have to be uploaded to FeedPress separately (not automatically redirected). You should have done this when you were creating the feed, but just in case it's worth repeating.
Also, click "Edit Feed Details" to check that the original feed URL is the one that you want. It must match the one you used when you were creating your FeedPress feed.
See the original feed field? That's what needs to match whatever you put in the "Your current feed URL" field in step one. Check to see if they match. I also copied my FeedBurner feed URL so that I could test to make sure it was redirecting once I was done.
Once you've done that, you're going to click "Delete Feed."
** DO NOT FORGET TO CHECK THE BOX "WITH PERMANENT REDIRECTION." **
You feel like you're going to throw up a little bit, right? Go to your FeedBurner homepage after clicking delete, and validate that the feed is permanently redirecting to source feed. It'll look something like this:
Now, test it by going to the URL of your old FeedBurner feed. It should redirect to your domain, which then redirects to FeedPress. It'll probably be so fast you don't even notice!
Click here for a video tutorial from FeedPress.
A note about your subscriber count after the switch:
Immediately after making the update, I logged in to FeedPress to check my subscriber count. I saw my email subscribers (from the CSV file that I'd uploaded) - but there were no RSS subscribers. Telling myself that it would probably take a few hours, I logged off and decided to check back later.
I made the switch on Saturday afternoon, but I didn't see my RSS subscriber count update until Monday morning. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't publish anything new over the weekend or if just takes closer to 36 hours for everything to get pulled in. Either way, don't panic if you don't see your RSS subscribers right away. If you know you followed all of the instructions, everything should sort itself out pretty quickly.
The numbers may not exactly match FeedBurner, but they should be really close. I've noticed my FeedPress numbers are actually better - more proof FeedBurner really was all over the place.
In the meantime, what should you do next?
Update link to "RSS Feed" in sidebar.
Although FeedBurner was configured to redirect everything to the right place, I went ahead and updated anywhere on my blog that linked to my FeedBurner feed URL. For example, I've got "RSS Feed" in my blog's sidebar.
If you have something similar on yours, find the FeedBurner URL and replace it with your new FeedPress URL! This was really easy, and I liked knowing that visitors to my blog would be able to go right to my new feed without any issues.
Remove Blogger "Follow By Email" widget.
If you're on Blogger, you might have the "Follow by Email" widget installed. Because it's a Blogger widget, it's only set up to pull from a FeedBurner URL. You've imported email subscribers into FeedPress, but you don't want new subscribers to sign up for the wrong thing!
Just go into the "Layout" section, click to edit the widget and just select remove. Don't worry! FeedPress makes it possible to add a "Subscribe by Email" option to your blog.
Get FeedPress email "signup form" HTML.
When you're logged into FeedPress, go to the "Newsletter" tab and select "Signup form." In the black box, you'll see the HTML code you need to add an email subscription option to your sidebar. Copy this so you can then...
You're done! Blog readers will now be able to enter their email address to subscribe to your posts.
Review FeedPress email newsletter settings.
When you're logged into FeedPress, go to the "Newsletter" tab and select "Send settings" from the drop-down menu. If you scroll down to the bottom of that page, you'll see the options pictured above. You can change your timezone, newsletter sending time and how often you want the email to send (daily, weekly, or monthly).
I originally checked "Daily," but I noticed that my email was only sent out on Monday. I logged back in, selected "Weekly" and realized you could select days of the week. I checked every day and then selected "Daily" from the drop-down. I haven't had a problem with it since then!
Once a new post publishes, check your feed, Bloglovin' and Feedly.
You shouldn't have any problems, but I checked the feed URL after a post had published. I also looked at Feedly (which pulled pulled the new post as soon as it published) and Bloglovin' (which usually has some lag time before the new post hits) just to be sure.
Voilá! You've transferred from FeedBurner to FeedPress.