A few days ago, after I had finally parted completely with WordPress, I said I had re-created some feed URLs modeled after the way Blogger works. Well, I’m glad to see that it worked! My feedburner stats are back to where they were.
I’m afraid this gets technical, but it is really important for any blogger changing systems. Let me explain:
Feedburner is a popular system for blogging support. Its premise is, that you redirect your own site’s feed to feedburner, and that people subscribing to your feed in reality subscribe to the feed re-published by feedburner.
Should you ever change sites, you’d just go to the feedburner dashboard and change the URL of the source feed (your site) to the new site’s feed. No change for the subscribers would be needed.
Additionally feedburner did some cosmetic changes to the feed, to make it palatable for the broadest selection of reader software possible. You can even read the blog with a browser directly through the feed.
The problem arises, when you’ve not started with feedburner. Some people will have subscribed to my original blogger blog, then under the url http://photography-andreas-manessinger.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default. I don’t know when I added feedburner, but it was definitely later.
What happens now is this: Your reader has subscribed to http://photography-andreas-manessinger.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default, and every time the reader accesses this feed, Blogger tells it that it should instead go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/photography-andreas-manessinger. Your reader does so, you see the content and everything works.
A while later I introduced a custom domain for my Blogger blog, and my feed changed to http://photography.andreas-manessinger.info/feeds/posts/default. Again some people subscribed, again the redirect to feedburner was active.
When I went away from Blogger and to my self-hosted WordPress, I was very careful to recreate all URLs that had ever been active.
Not so this time. Without much thinking (and with all the information to know better), I had assumed that after so many years every subscriber would be subscribed to the feedburner URL, but that’s simply not true. Some reader programs may indeed update the feed URL of a subscription due to a permanent redirect, but I suppose most simply follow the redirect every time.
That means, most of my early readers still always go to http://photography-andreas-manessinger.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default. It works, because my Blogger blog is still there, it just redirects to manessinger.com. If Google ever terminates Blogger (Why should they? Otoh, they did terminate Google Reader, didn’t they?), I will lose some of my readers, even though I have not blogged on Blogger for many years. Scary!
People who subscribed after the introduction of the custom domain still go to http://photography.andreas-manessinger.info/feeds/posts/default, and that’s what I failed to provide.
What’s the take-away? Feedburner helps a lot less than I thought it would. You are still condemned to provide any URL that you’ve ever used.