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.
- I can set time aside to read people’s latest posts all in one sitting.
- Not being on email lists means that my Inbox stays so fresh and so clean, clean.
- 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 hit. Why?
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
- Create the feeds & email lists in FeedBlitz equivalent to your FeedBurner feeds & lists.
- Update your web site to use the new FeedBlitz feeds and lists.
- Migrate FeedBurner RSS subscribers to FeedBlitz.
- 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.
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.
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?
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.