Feeding The Many

Here’s Wayne with his fourth instalment.

RSS has certainly come a long way. Today, there are so many ways to subscribe to a feed, sometimes half the page is littered with all the different feed logos on which service to subscribe. iTunes, FeedBurner, Google, Odeo, Netvibes, News Gator, Netnewswire, Podnova, Ogollala. OK, I made the last one up. Actually it’s a small town in Nebraska that I have driven through many times. The point being, there is sometimes so many feed services out there that you haven’t a clue where to start or when to stop.

What was set up for Chester Vermont News was a one stop shop site called FeedBurner. I couldn’t imagine life without it, to tell the truth. After you set up your site on FeedBurner, there are many options that quickly open up to you. For example. My site on FeedBurner. That’s it. You put the ready made RSS logo on your site and everything else spawns from the FeedBurner site. You get a “site�? on feedburner that you can offer and let the people decide how they want to sign up for your feed. It’s there that all the different other feed sites and podcatchers are displayed and linked upon. You can even put up your logo. From FeedBurner you can not only direct all your traffic, it takes care of your podcasts and even your site and feed statistics, which is really cool. Or, you can simply place that link into your podcatcher or news feed aggregator, and it will handle it from there.

First, it takes care of your podcasts for you. When you put a link into your WordPress, (or any blogging tool,) post that links to a media file. FeedBurner, through a process called SmartFeed, will automatically enclose your media into a downloadable podcast for you. You won’t have to worry about anything other than the link, as it will just take care of redistributing your feed into RSS 2.0 format, put in your image, descriptions, keywords and categories. For example, when I register at iTunes that I have a podcast, the link I give Apple is the FeedBruner.com/cvn link, and that’s it. FeedBurner takes care of giving Apple only the audio podcasts, and iTunes ignores the rest. It really, couldn’t be easier.

As for Feed statistics, you could spend hours on this subject alone. You can actually see how many people are playing your podcast: on your site, via the online version. How many, and who, have signed up for the optional e-mail sign-up-for-updates that you can place on your site. It’s pretty cool to be able to see how many download the podcast from iTunes. There are, of course, pro versions of the software that will tell you tons more information, but that’s kinda for, you know, the pros. (And the pro version is also a pay version.) Other than the pro version of feed statistics, it’s all free! Imagine that. There was one more service that I have on the CVN site and that is Odeo. With the Odeo service, you can actually place a flash player of your podcast on the site or even a small one for the post itself. It will automatically recognize the audio feed, and you can then play the podcast without ever leaving the site or importing it to iTunes or your podcatcher. It’s pretty neat, took me a while to figure out how to actually place the flash player into the WordPress posts, (OK, it was simply a cut and paste thing…) but it’s a nice option to give people.

That about wraps up the way I have gotten the posts and podcast distributed, but doesn’t cover a thing that’s Mac specific, and that’s really the point, right? If you come back next week, I’ll let you know Mac ways of posting your blog. It’s really neat some of the software out there that can post to a blog site. The only time I need to go into the wp-admin portion of the WordPress site is when changing or tweaking something. Hope to see you back then.

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