I’ve over the years I’ve people ask how I created a few features which are a combination of TypePad & FeedBurner. Reading this post on the TypePad Blog made me do something about sharing it. The other reason is it reduces a long winded explanation to “go & read this post” which is the motive behind quite a few posts on this blog
TypePad is my blog host and FeedBurner is an independent provider (recently acquired by Google!) of services for Blogs and RSS feeds. They take an existing RSS feed, in my case generated by TypePad, and enhance it adding features which make it easier to consume (various formats), re-use the feed content, allow you to see how your RSS feed is being used or, should you choose, generate income from advertising in your feed. FeedBurner offer their services and basic statistics for free but more detailed results require an optional subscription. Everything I’ll show you here only requires the free FeedBurner account and also will work with other blog platforms such as MySpace, Blogger, etc.
I had four requirements that FeedBurner fulfilled:
- RSS feed “use” statistics, how many are reading what content.
- A dynamic home-page index. I wanted a “landing page” with recent post headlines & extracts from both my blogs.
- A way to publicise my blogs and allow people to switch between them easily.
- Make it easier to share my content
Before you start: Get Connected to FeedBurner;
The first thing to do is enable your TypePad RSS Feed (if you haven’t already) and add FeedBurner to your blog. TypePad make this easy from the Configure > Feed Page (click the thumbnail to enlarge all screen snags). You can turn the feed on, recommend full feeds, create a FeedBurner account & connect from this page.
FeedBurner have the reverse from their page including a “TypePad Widget” to add the FeedBurner feed icon to your TypePad Side-bar
The result is a link to your FeedBurner Feed in the side-bar of your blog.
1) How is your RSS feed used?
Until TypePad connected to FeedBurner I had no idea about 700 people had decided my blog was worth a subscription. Thanks to all of you for coming back! If you what to display this FeedBurner provide the dynamic Publicise > Feedcount “chicklet” to show on your blog..
A FeedBurner “widget” connects the selected feature to your TypePad blog (or other services which support widgets). It’s the easiest option but there are also “code” outputs for these features which can be used anywhere HTML can be used. All active FeedBurner features require you to save the settings after selecting new services or changing preferences for existing services. Be sure to scroll down to the Save area at the end of the page and activate/save to confirm your choices.
The Analyze tab statistics show both feed & site visits, item use and generic info like browser, operating system etc you can use to fine tune the blog content & design.
2) A Dynamic Home-page index:
I wanted to have a home page with recent content from my CAD & Personal blogs. Each has separate feeds and connecting both to FeedBurner enabled this using their Publicise > BuzzBoost Service. It outputs your feed, your latest content, as HTML you can use anywhere. BuzzBoost allows you to configure the format, content and length of extract displayed.
I set up a separate “home blog” for my landing page as it was the only option but you could now use one of the new TypePad Pages. Select the BuzzBoost configuration you want then copy the code to the page. The snags show the BuzzBoost configuration and resulting headlines at RobiNZ Blog Index.
If you just want basic info from a feed TypePad have Design > Content Selection > Feeds which allows you to show headlines only from another feed without using FeedBurner.
3) Publicise your blogs and allow people to switch between them easily with FeedBurner Headline Animator.
FeedBurner Publicize > Headline Animator provides a animated banner that cycles through your feeds five most recent items and can be used anywhere you can use HTML. On my blogs they act as “publicity” displaying recent blog headlines and as “switch blog” buttons and I also use them in my email signature.
They are created in FeedBurner and used in TypePad via “widgets” or simply by copying the code to a TypePad “notes” format side-bar type-list.
Creating the Animator in FeedBurner:
Simply go to FeedBurner Publicize > Headline Animator and configure the animator. You see a preview at the bottom of the page where you can even drag the elements around to fine tune the layout. FeedBurner offer some standard formats but if you have a coloured side-bar & want the Animator to match you will need to create a custom image to act as your background.
- Get the colour code from your TypePad Design > Change Theme page.
- In a photo editor create a .gif format image the correct size – Mine is 170 x 100 pixels. Fill the image with the colour used for your side-bar. I also added a 1 pixel wide line to form the border.
To add them to your TypePad blog use the widget function, easiest!, or create a notes side-bar and paste the code from Other (just gimme the code)
You can have multiple animators on an account so I use a different one as an email signature. FeedBurner provide instructions for most email editors that support this. The somewhat convoluted instructions for Outlook 2003, creating a template for the signature, do not apply to Outlook 2007. I found it easiest to paste the code provided into an HTML editor, add any other details required, then copy/paste the result straight into the Signature editor in Outlook 2007. It supports the “rich” format in the editor without needing an external template making creating the signature easy. The annoying thing is that Outlook 2007 won’t display these as it doesn’t display animated gifs in it’s reader/editor
4) Add a bit of “Flare”.
FeedBurner allow you to add many types of “flare”, extra features for services, to your feed and blog posts without template editing. I’ve only shown a few but you just tick the ones you want & they appear in both places. I’ve chosen “Email This” and a couple of link sharing services to make it easier for users to refer people to my content
Feedflare on my Blog:
Feedflare in my RSS Reader:
Configure Optimize > FeedFlare at FeedBurner:
Then enable FeedFlare in your TypePad Blog at Design > Content Selection > FeedFlare
So, if you’ve got this far it’s time to get to work Feedburner’ing!