Oh Bloody Hell! Your blog is probably broken.

I’ve heard rumblings about Feedburner going away for a while. Who cares? Well if you have a blog and people have subscribed to it, then you need to keep reading or forward this to IT.

Back in the dark ages of social, around 2006, Feedburner was the quick and easy way to allow readers to subscribe to your blog. Google bought it and then stuck it in a closet somewhere. Millions of people still used it, it was, and may still be, the top rss feed on the planet, and it worked just fine until recently when Google shut down Google Reader. At that moment all of your subscribers who used Gmail probably stopped getting your blog posts. No warning, just gone. Your signup probably doesn’t go anywhere for folks with Gmail accounts. (Ours seemed to work but testers never got the all important confirmation email.) Feedburner is still there, it is still burning your feed, readers just can’t see it in their mailbox any more. Doh!


No Feedburner

How do you fix this? First things first: Do NOT delete your old feed burner account. It isn’t hurting anything, just leave it alone. Eventually Google will shut it down completely and when they do one would hope they offer migration services. Now you have to find an alternative. If you have an online WordPress hosted blog you don’t have to do anything, WordPress does not use Feedburner for subscriptions. If you are using another online blog host, check to see if they use Feedburner for email subscriptions. If you have a self hosted blog, there are several choices. Feedblitz is a paid service that is very popular, and offers actual human customer service and help moving your feed. FeedCatNourish and IFTTT are all free. If you don’t have an IT department, be sure to consider the value of your time when choosing. If you don’t know what an API key is and you don’t have a couple of days to kill while learning important life skills like patience and attention to detail—just pay. If you have a self hosted WordPress blog there are several free and paid plugins that do the trick. We decided to use JetPack, which is a free WordPress plugin. Our blog is only a few months old and we already lost a bunch of subscribers when we moved the blog from WordPress online to CatalogUniversity.com (So sorry guys, please sign up again if you haven’t already.) The advantage of this is that WordPress takes care of it. The disadvantage is that we don’t control our subscriber list. Since Cat-U doesn’t email our blog subscribers anyway, we decided easy was the best answer for us. JetPack also allows us to hyper-syndicate so, when we blog, JetPack automatically tweets, posts to linkedin, google+ and our Facebook page. And I didn’t have to get an API key! (Oh the rant I could spew on social developers and their secret keys, API’s, apps and shocking lack of directions. Cool blue deep water, cool blue deep water… Apparently I need to work on patience a bit more.)

The big takeaway here is that you need to keep an eye on your stats and test your site and blog regularly. We are all living in the wild, wild west of social media. You get everything linked up and running perfectly and then—Oh bloody hell!

Here are some additional resources:
15 Feedburner Alternatives
Feedburner Alternatives

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The Catalog Blog covers opinions and information on all things catalog. Have something to add? Leave a comment below. Catalog University is devoted to helping you get ahead in the fun and fascinating world of catalogs. If you want even more information about cataloging, including FREE Pub Talks, be sure to sign up for the Cat-U mailing list. We will never share your name with 3rd parties.

Sarah Fletcher
President/Creative Director Catalog Design Studios Inc.
Co-Founder Catalog University

P.S. I apologize to the good people who thought they signed up for the Catalog Blog and POOF we disappeared. Please sign up again, I promise we have it fixed.