One of the more popular articles in my Start a Money Making Blog series is the article on how to set-up Feedburner. The article teaches you how to set-up set-up Feedburner for RSS and email. While the article does teach you how to add a link for email sign-up, it doesn’t go into the details on how to add a Feedburner email sign-up form to your blog. Adding an actual sign-up form to your blog, rather than a link is one less step for your visitors and can result in a significant increase in email subscribers. This article will show you how to add a Feedburner email subscriber form to your blog’s sidebar.
Feedburner vs. AWeber
Before we dive into the details of adding a Feedburner email subscriber form to your blog, let’s talk about a question many of your may be wondering: “Why Feedburner vs. AWeber?”. For those that may not know, AWeber is the defacto standard for email marketing. AWeber excels at building email lists and sending out emails to those lists, including your daily posts. AWeber is absolutely the platform you will want to migrate too at some point. The problem? AWeber is $29.00/month. Well worth it, if only if you have $29.00 per month to spend.
I tend to be on the frugal side, and I always strive to have my blog pay for it’s own services. I’ll be migrating to AWeber very soon, but Feedburner has served me well for almost 2 years. While basic, it gets the job done.
How to add a Feedburner email form to your blog
I’m going to assume you’ve previously followed the steps in my how to set-up Feedburner article. If so, you already have email set-up and working. Of course, you’ve subscribed to your own feed to confirm it is working right? If not, go ahead and do that right now…I’ll wait.
Oh, you’re back, good! Now let’s get that Feedburner email form added to our blog’s sidebar. Here’s how:
- Access Feedburner and login if necessary.
- Select your feed and you’ll find yourself on the “Analyze” tab.
- Click on the “Publicize” tab at the top, then click on the “Email subscriptions” link in the left hand menu.
- On the “Email subscriptions” menu, you should see a an area that looks like this (minus the green arrow of course):
- What we want is all of that messy looking code in the box pointed to by my green arrow. Go ahead and select the code and copy it. Make sure you select and copy all of it. You’ve got all of it if the first few characters are <form and the last few characters are </form>
- Now head over to your blogs administration console and navigate to Appearance>>Widgets.
- You want your subscribe option to be at or near the top of your blog’s sidebar so people see it. Drag a new text widget over to your sidebar. I would suggest putting it just below the widget we added in the first Feedburner article.
- Put something like: “Subscribe via Email” or “Get new articles via email” in the title section. Be creative here, but make it clear what your readers will get.
- In the blank area below the title, paste in the code you copied from Feedburner in step #5.
- Press Save.
- While we’re here, go into the the Subscribe widget we added in the initial Feedburner article, and remove the link for the email subscription. Remember, we just added the form instead, so the link is no longer needed. Again, press save once the mail link is removed.
- Now, check out your blog. The sidebar should look something like this:
While certainly very basic, your visitors will now be able to subscribe to your blog via email using the form. These types of forms convert far better than the previous link we had. If you know a little HTML or CSS, I highly recommend styling it a bit so it blends into your site a little better. Also, one of the first things I do is remove the “Delivered by Feedburner” at the bottom. You can do this by editing the widget we just added, and removing the following code from the code you copy and pasted from Feedburner:
<p>Delivered by <a href="http://feedburner.google.com"target="_blank">FeedBurner</a></p>
I highly recommend you test out your form to be sure it’s working at this point. If so, we’re done. If it’s not working, just walk back through the steps to be sure you did everything completely. Pay particular attention to the step where you copied the Feedburner code and make sure you got all of it.
The Future of Feedburner
There has been a great deal of speculation by bloggers recently about the future of Feedburner. Feedburner recently had an issue where it showed zero subscribers for almost a week, and Google recently make the Feedburner APIs no longer available.
Is Feedburner dead or dying? Honestly, I have no idea. Google hasn’t announced any plans for it’s demise, but on the flip side they really haven’t done much to it lately either. I intend to continue using it for as long as I can. When it’s no longer available, I’ll consider other options like FeedBlitz.
Given Feedburner’s questionable future though, I am mitigating my risk a little. I take a weekly backup of the email addresses for my subscribers. I’ll not only use this as the starting point for AWeber when I make the switch, but it also provides me a little protection in the event Feedburner just goes belly up one day.
To make a backup of your Feedburner email subscribers, do the following:
- Login to Feedburner and select your feed.
- Click on the “Publicize” tab, followed by clicking on the “Email subscriptions” link.
- At the bottom, click on the “View Subscriber Details”. This will show all of your current email subscribers and their status.
- To backup your subscribers, click on the Export to CSV link. This will download a CSV file to your computer containing the email information for each of your suscribers. This CSV file can be imported into Excel or Google Docs for viewing.
What are your thoughts on Feedburner? Think it will hang around for a while or is it on the way out? Have you made any changes to your blog as a result of the uncertainty?
Photo by: GabrielaP93