How to Transition from Feedburner to FeedBlitz & 3 Alternatives to Google Reader

  • April 9, 2013 by Caleb Wojcik
  • 25 Comments

You’ve probably heard Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1st. What does this mean for bloggers? Should you be worried?

If you run a blog there are a lot of things to know about and consider doing with this change coming up that you’ll want to take care of in the next couple months.

In this post I’ll explain why Feedburner feed counts are going to take a huge hit, why you should transfer your RSS feed from Feedburner to another platform like FeedBlitz, and give you a few of the best alternatives to Google Reader if you are using it to read your RSS feeds.

Is RSS Dead?

For years people have been claiming that RSS is dying or dead. That’s just not true.

First and foremost, in no way is this the end of RSS feeds. Yes, you should be mostly pushing people to your email list, but some people are still going to use RSS to subscribe. And if you’re like us here at Think Traffic, we directly use our RSS feed to push out new blog posts to our traffic toolbox subscribers.

I love RSS for a few reasons.

  1. I can set time aside to read people’s latest posts all in one sitting.
  2. Not being on email lists means that my Inbox stays so fresh and so clean, clean.
  3. I don’t have to worry about constantly checking Twitter to see what’s new.

RSS is powerful when used right. If you set up your reader correctly and make reading it a priority, you can quickly stay up-to-date with what everyone in your niche is writing about and doing currently (even if you just skim the headlines of their posts).

What’ll to Happen to Feedburner’s Feedcount?

Since the early days of RSS and Feedburner the “feed count” (i.e. how many people are subscribed to your blog) has been a key metric of social proof that bloggers have used to show their popularity. Blogs with thousands of subscribers still show this number in their header or sidebar to quickly showcase that they are legitimate.

With the end of Google Reader all these “feed counts” you see around the web are going to take a huge hitWhy?

If you log into your Feedburner account and check the top two users of your RSS I’ll bet the farm that they are Google Reader and your email subscription service (Aweber, Mailchimp, etc.). So guess what will happen when Google Reader goes bye bye? That feed counter number is going to drop significantly.

Google Reader is 23% of our Feedburner subscriber count. For some of you that may mean thousands, if not tens of thousands.

(Note: Here’s a tip for snooping on other blogs: when a subscriber count isn’t visible on the site, sometimes you can find it by typing in your browser URL “http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/” plus the feed name. This only applies to blogs that use FeedBurner. For instance, the feed count address for TechCrunch (one of the biggest blogs on the planet) is: “http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/techcrunch”. Give it a try.)

FeedBlitz: The Best Alternative to Feedburner

With Google shutting down Google Reader, chances are it is only a matter of time before Feedburner is shut down too. (Yes, this is just speculation at this point, but many signs point to this.)

If you want to want to transition your RSS feed away from Feedburner, the best alternative out there is FeedBlitz. They will host your RSS feed for free, but charge for email subscribers.

If you want to migrate from Feedburner to FeedBlitz, they have a 60+ page walkthrough pdf on how to do so. Here is the quick overview of the steps directly from that guide.

4 Step Migration Plan

  1. Create the feeds & email lists in FeedBlitz equivalent to your FeedBurner feeds & lists.
  2. Update your web site to use the new FeedBlitz feeds and lists.
  3. Migrate FeedBurner RSS subscribers to FeedBlitz.
  4. Optionally delete your FeedBurner RSS feed.

This process is a bit complicated, but the pdf above will walk you through it all step by step if you want to do it.

3 Alternatives to Google Reader

If you’re using Google Reader to stay up to date on all of your favorite websites and blogs, you’re going to want to find another service to do so soon. Here are a few of the best options available, both on the web and on mobile devices.

Feedly

Feedly has become my go-to RSS reader.

Feedly has become my go-to RSS reader.

My go-to RSS reader right now is Feedly. It has a great minimalist design aesthetic and can be viewed in a web browser and on iOS or Android with full screen, distraction-free reading.

You can easily to migrate your current Google Reader subscriptions over to Feedly too.

Pulse

Pulse has a beautiful graffical layout.

Pulse has a beautiful graffical layout.

Next, the most beautiful option for replacing Google Reader is Pulse.me. Pulse has both web browser and iOS/Android versions that are laid out in an image centric style that makes seeing all your subscriptions in one glance easy. Google Reader’s text based views pail in comparison.

Pulse also has an easy way for you to import all of your all of your feeds directly from Google Reader before they shut the service down in July. Pretty snazzy, huh?

Flipboard

Flipboard is great for scanning quickly and finding new content.

Flipboard is another great option.

If you’re just looking for mobile or tablet alternative to Google Reader be sure to give Flipboard a try. If you do a ton of reading in a lot of different genres, this would be the one I’d recommend that you try out first. Its strength is in how you can segment your subscriptions into different groups.

You can turn different categories of content into “magazines” and even connect it to your social media accounts so you just need to use a single app to see what’s going on in the world.

***

What are you going to do about your RSS feed? What app or service do you use to read your RSS feeds?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Written by . Caleb Wojcik is one of the 3 C's at Think Traffic and Fizzle.co. He writes at CalebWojcik.com and hosts the Cubicle Renegade Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @CalebWojcik.


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Alan Reeves April 9, 2013 at 6:57 am

Great post Caleb. I have recently switched to Feedly for my RSS reading and like it. My main question is about Feedburner and FeedBlitz. Feedburner may never go away (not likely) but if it does, what is to say FeedBlitz won’t do the same 3 months later?

What is your opinion on using a 307 (temporary) redirect from the native WordPress feed (or any feed URL) to your Feedburner or FeedBlitz URL? Not sure if that is going to help much but it does give you more flexibility if you want to go from one service to another or back to the native feed.

Caleb Wojcik April 9, 2013 at 8:01 am

True, FeedBlitz could theoretically disappear as well, but they are company that is a campaigning for the benefits of RSS instead of Google, which is slowly trying to phase it out.

As for the redirect, that would should work, but I’d rather just have that link be a direct one so that the many RSS feed readers don’t have issues with reading it.

Janelle April 9, 2013 at 7:18 am

Thanks for writing this, Caleb. I hadn’t thought about the effect that Google Reader’s shut down will have on Feedburner, but you’re absolutely right. Another thing to add to my to-do list…

Logo Design April 12, 2013 at 4:02 am

Janelle, It’s also on my to do list. I don’t know what’s wrong with Google.

Clinton Wu April 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

Thanks for the post Caleb. You mentioned staying up to date even just by skimming the headlines of posts. I’m working on a potential Reader replacement called Skim.Me ironically :) Our goal is to help people keep up in a more efficient (http://skim.me) and/or more effective (http://skim.me/nudge) way – depending on what they feel they need.

I don’t think we’re a replacement for the Google Reader power user. We’re closer to an iGoogle replacement but the main idea is that rather than distracting push notifications or manufacturing the compulsive desire to check for info updates, our product encourages lower frequency, higher duration behavior. We give you one interface to quickly process info you habitually check. Would love for some folks to check us out when we release in a couple weeks.

Eric April 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

I have to say that I have never been so excited about info around RSS feeds. Can I just say that to click out to a an Outkast video in the middle of taking this in reminded me to live fully self expressed, with more abandon, and to put things in the would that matter. Not only is your content KING, the context in which you frame it is exemplary and inspiring. I even considered bringing my Afro back!

Caleb Wojcik April 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

You should definitely bring the fro back Eric. You got nothing to lose. :)

Deacon Bradley April 9, 2013 at 8:21 am

Thanks for this info Caleb. I just haven’t had time to dig into this stuff myself!

Right now I’m using Feedly, but I’m still bummed about Google Reader. I’m hopeful when Reeder gets ported over to Feedly that I’ll enjoy it again (and not notice the differences so much). I’m not a big fan of the image-centric readers. I want it to look like email, not a magazine :)

Noor Shawwa April 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

Thanks for this Caleb. I didn’t think of the effect of shutting Dow google reader.

In terms of the alternative readers, I have been using Flipboard and liking it so far.

Mohammad Al amin April 9, 2013 at 12:41 pm

It’s very disappointing that Google is doing so. They also shut down Google App for business.

Alexandre B April 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Hi Corbett and Caleb,

I’ve already made the switch to Feedly, FeedBlitz is on my todo list :)

Concerning the subscriber count, if anyone reading this post are looking for another way to display its subscriber count (and if you use Aweber), you can try this free plugin : http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/aweber-subscribers-count/

I hired some Elance guy to make this up. I use it on various place on my blog in order to communicate social proof. It’s way better than edit its theme files periodically :)

Enjoy :)
Alexandre

Greg April 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Hope to see Feedburner stick around and adapt to the changes when Google Reader shuts down. Feedburner RSS has increased our website traffic and is great for promoting feeds from our blog. Thanks for sharing your article and insight.

Andrew McGivern April 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I prefer Zite over Flipboard and other magazine style feed content apps. I don’t use them as I did Google Reader though. Zite is kind of like Stumble Upon in that you can “thumb up” or “thumb down” posts and it remembers the type of content you like and feeds you more of it. After a while you don’t dislike anything anymore. Very cool.

As far as Google Reader replacements though, I have to agree that Feedly is the best right now. At least for me.

jr cline April 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I’ve moved to Feedly.

Darnell Jackson April 9, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Excellent topic Caleb,

The death of RSS will be determined by the content providers.

Once Wordpress pulls the plug on RSS THEN it’s curtains.

It’s a bad idea for content producers to follow search engines anyway that’s like putting the cart before the horse.

Tamal Anwar @blogkori April 9, 2013 at 11:20 pm

I don’t give a damn anymore. Google reader, feedburner or RSS -who needs them when you have facebook and twitter now? Only the high tech social savvy people are using RSS in a daily basis.

Michael April 10, 2013 at 6:43 am

Feedly is a great alternative of Google reader.

Julian April 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

I’ve also gone to Feedly for my reader, but I think the advice to switch feed republisher is premature.

There will be plenty of notice of any shutdown (which I admit seems inevitable), which will spur innovation in the services giving a much better choice.

TGT April 10, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Came here looking for an alternative to Google Reader and you gave me the exact info I needed. Feedly looks good — I like the clean design and cross-platform functionality. I’m off to iTunes to download it now. Thanks for the suggestion!

Sandra April 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

I’m worried about transfering my email subscribers to Feedblitz. I don’t want to have to pay. Any alternatives?

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