Saturday, August 12, 2006

Technology: knowing your audience (or at least the number of subscribers)

Sometime ago I showed Sarah Cummings how to create a bloglines account to keep track of new blogposts and added my own blog to her account. I noticed the number of subscribers which are visible in bloglines to my blog did not go up though. One explanation could be that she unsubscribed as soon as she got home :).

By coincidence I later discovered that I had 4 or 5 feeds (no idea why) when you want to add my blog to bloglines, and that I had all kind of hidden subscribers. I was wondering how to combine these feeds. So when I mailed Marshall Kirkpatrick who now seems to blog for techcrunch more than on his own blog, he was extremely helpful and guided my through the making of a feed for my blog on feedburner. With the idea that that feed could be the combined feed of all kind of subscriptions. He explains why and how to use feedburner in a blogpost.

Yet, I still had to replace the alternate xml/rss URLs in your blog's header tags. Marshall assured me that replacing them would not effect my subscribers at all. (you don't want to delete your subscribers...). At this point it became really technical because blogger has a kind of encripted code which is not easy to replace. But you can still do it as explained here.

Now to be honest, I still have about 5 feeds coming up if you want to subscribe to my blog in bloglines, one of them being the feedburner feed. And only those bloglines subscribers are counted by feedburner (the number does correspond, so I get it!). I can now calculate my subscribers easily by adding the number of subscribers on each feed in bloglines plus feedburner, and deducting the subscribers who are double on the feedburner feed. Somehow to resolve this becomes really too technical and timeconsuming for me, but I know now that if I had started straight away with a feedburner feed, it could have been easier.

Anyhow, wanted to blog this already for a long time for people who are blogging in blogger and have similar problems and to really thank Marshall for his help as without him I would not have gotten this far in understanding it. I think it is a nice example how non-techies can learn more about how things work with the help of techies.

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