Last week I received a question about the two different “feed count chicklets” I have in the right sidebar of my blog. One of these shows blog subscribers, and the other shows podcast subscribers. The question I received was, “How did you create those?”
The short answer is I used Feedburner (now owned by Google and accessible from feedburner.google.com) to create these feeds. The first one (for all blog posts) was created using the overall RSS feed which WordPress automatically creates for my blog. Because I do NOT use and have never used the WordPress plug-in for Feedburner which “forces” all subscription requests on the site to use the Feedburner feed, I’m positive this subscriber count sizably underestimates my blog subscriber numbers. This is supported by blog access metrics I use from Google Analytics, Feedjit, and ClustrMaps. I’ve never activated that plugin because I wasn’t sure what it would do to people’s subscriptions who had subscribed with the WordPress-generated web feed. Perhaps they would automatically redirected to the Feedburner feed? Or, perhaps their subscription would “break?” I’m not sure. In any event, that’s the story behind my first blog sidebar chicklet.
The second sidebar chicklet, for podcasts, is a second web feed which I currently create manually using the $40 software program FeedForAll for Mac. When I first started podcasting and publishing podcasts with my WordPress blog, I used the RSS feed generated for my blog category “podcast,” and that worked for quite awhile. At some point, however, my RSS feed got corrupted and stopped updating in iTunes, so I needed a manual way to create a “clean” and validated RSS feed. FeedForAll was the app I went with. To use it, I enter the RSS feed items in a graphical interface, and the program creates the feed. It also lets me upload it directly via FTP to my webserver. I currently just have my podcasts from episode 175 to present (352) in the feed. I don’t have a feed for podcasts 1 through 174. At some point I might create one, but I haven’t made time to do this yet. Most of my podcasts are hosted on my speedofcreativity.org website, but some of my early podcasts are hosted on the Internet Archive (archive.org) and at least one of them is no longer accessible. I stopped using archive.org when I learned many midwestern K-12 schools (at least at the time) block that domain. One big advantage of using a Feedburner feed for RSS subscriptions (including iTunes podcast subscriptions) is that you can change the originating web feed address, but not have to change your “public” feed address. I use the free WordPress plugin Podpress to generate download statistics for my podcasts, and create flash-players for my podcasts in podcast posts. Podpress has an option to create a RSS feed of podcasts (I think) but I don’t use that function and never have.
See my October 2009 post, “How I create and publish podcasts” for more specific details on my podcasting procedures.
Hopefully this answers the question about the two blog sidebar chicklets! If you have other questions about blogging or podcasting I’d be glad to try and answer them.
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