After 7 years of using feedburner I have finally decided to switch. Google haven’t yet killed off feedburner entirely but having announced that they are no longer going to support or update it. Like many people who are flocking to alternatives I thought I would jump on the bandwagon. Obviously switching to something new can be quite problematic and true I did encounter a couple of problems and here is how I solved them.
Finding the Right Service
I spent a while exploring options that fit my needs. Basically I wanted to find a suitable alternative that can give me about the same features as feedburner and if possible, preferably free.
After doing a little research I opted for Specific Feeds
Specific feeds offer a free service where you can subscribe to feeds via RSS, have them delivered to your email address and you can also view them within your dashboard. Specific feeds is not just all about those that are wanting to subscribe to feeds you can also add your own blog or website to their directory, thus allowing more exposure. Within an hour of joining I already had 10 subscribers without even publishing anything on social media.
Some time ago I used a WordPress plugin to redirect any requests to my feedburner feed. I had long since deleted the plugin but it still remained in my database. Whenever I pointed to my feed with the URL it was still getting redirected to Feedburner in a loop. I decided to export all email subscribers and delete my Feedburner account. I checked my .htaccess to see if anything was in there that could cause the re-direct then I also accessed my database via phpMyAdmin, searched for anything with feedburner and deleted it (Make a backup first).
I double checked that I had the following snippet in my WordPress theme functions file.
add_theme_support( 'automatic-feed-links' );
Please note that some feeds may be hard-linked in the header.php file so it’s best to check in there too.
All was good so I accessed the feed by URL and it worked, no redirect just plain XML, which is what I was after. With most browsers and feed readers recognising feeds and allowing you to get access to them with built-in tools without seeing the XML code I decided to still have the good old feed which you can subscribe to which is http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/feed or you can hook up with specific feeds with the following URL: http://www.specificfeeds.com/worldoweb.
If you need to monitor your RSS subscribers then Specific Feeds will do this and you can always install Simple Feed Stats in WordPress to view how many people access via the browser etc. This way you will get the best of both worlds. If you are looking for more a paid subscription with an alternative service may be more beneficial.