As I mentioned last week I’ve made a change to the way I track the subscription stats here on Electric Weekend. That change seems to have gone well and I wanted to take this opportunity to outline the simple steps that made it possible.
My Feedburner setup was probably a pretty standard setup for a lot of WordPress (WP) powered blogs. I used the FeedSmith1 WP plugin to redirect my WP feeds to the Feedburner one I had set up. This enabled me to use a nice clean url, rather than the frankly messy url that comes from a Feedburner feed. I also used a Pepper in Mint to pull in the stats generated by Feedburner, no need to visit another site to view my stats.
Seems like a good set up right? Well yes, it was working for me and I had nearly a years worth of stats. So why the change? Well recently I’d gotten a little fed up of the delay from Feedburner in publishing my stats, but I also felt that there wasn’t enough variation in the figures I was receiving. Days where I posted received higher figures, but not significantly and this felt a little odd to me. I also felt I should be utilising the stats package I had bought a license to. Mint was working very well at tracking my visitors so why would it not work well with my feed subscribers?
The Move went very smoothly. The first step I took was to visit Feedburner and delete the feed I had set up. I made sure to take advantage of a very useful Feedburner feature. When deleting a feed Feedburner offers you the chance to have a 30 day redirection service, so any subscribers who got hold of the direct Feedburner feed have time to make the switch.
With my Feedburner feed deleted I had no going back so I went about installing the Mint side of things first. The Bird Feeder pepper comes in two parts. The first part is the Pepper itself which installs into the shauninman folder in the Peppers directory of your Mint installation. The second part is titled Feeder and resides in the base level of your site. After uploading these two folders I visited the Mint preferences to install the pepper. After you’ve done this make sure you visit yoursite.com/feeder to make sure your Bird Feeder is active.
However that’s only half of the story. There are some steps that need to be taken on the WordPress side. As with an install of Mint you need to add some code to the header of your site in order for Bird Feeder to do it’s stuff. Fortunately, just like when you are installing Mint, there is no need to go adding code to your themes files, everything can be accomplished with a plugin. I used a plugin called WPBirdFeeder. Installed like any other WP plugin I then activated it in the WP-Admin panel after I had deactivated the FeedSmith plugin.
That’s pretty much it. Now all you have to do is sit back and let Mint do it’s stuff for you feeds, just as it does it for your hits and searches. I’ve now been using Bird Feeder for about week and I’ve found more day to day change, including a higher figure than I’ve ever received through Feedburner, but the weekly average is very close to the daily figures from Feedburner2.