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TypePad + FeedBlitz + Widgets = Easy Email Newsletters for Bloggers

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Later today (Thursday, March 30th) at about 10am US Eastern Time, TypePad will formally announce a new set of features called "Widgets" that will enable their users to quickly add massive functionality to their TypePad blogs in a few clicks, dramatically simplifying the process.

FeedBlitz, the leader in RSS and Blog to email messaging solutions, is one of the inaugural services selected to work with the TypePad Widget API to deliver an email newsletter publication widget for TypePad users.

The FeedBlitz email widget makes publishing a blog-based email updates (a newsletter, in effect), almost as easy as subscribing to one. All a TypePad blogger needs to do is give their email address to the FeedBlitz Widget Generator and they then choose the blog(s) to add email update capabilities to. That's it. The Widget does the rest, automatically.

Meanwhile, the blogger confirms the email address using the standard email confirmation link sent to her by the Widget generator and then they can configure their blogs using all FeedBlitz's array of capabilities, such as:
  • Real-time analytics
  • Subscriber management
  • Post truncation
  • Email format tailoring
  • Schedule customization
For new and interested TypePad bloggers there's an FAQ here - and enjoy! FeedBlitz will of course continue to work with all blogging platforms and other applications supporting RSS, Atom or OPML. If you have an API or a service that can add value to the email newsletters published in partnership with FeedBlitz, mail us.


FeedBlitz adds Annual Premium Payment Plans

Monday, March 27, 2006

By popular request, annual payment plans have been enabled for all publisher-based upgrades. They represent discounts over the equivalent monthly fees, as well as simplifying signup and expense reclamation.

So here's the scoop:

Pro: Monthly $4.95, annually $54.95
Turbo: Monthly $9.95, annually $104.95
Pro Plus and Turbo Plus: Monthly $24.95, annually $269.00


FeedBlitz Extends Click-Through Analytics; Adds Subscriber Activity Reports for RSS-based Email Solutions

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Raising the bar on the analytics introduced last week, the click-through analytics have had an extra layer of analysis added. Clicking on a link in the first time trend chart now gives the time trend for just that link. As a reminder, you need to explicitly enable click-through tracking in your syndication's details.

Going to the next step, we have added subscriber activity tracking analytics for all syndications - and better yet, there's no need to enable anything - it just works.

You can start in several places:
For the time range selected, you see how many users confirmed their subscriptions and are currently ok, how many unsubscribed, how many are still pending, and how many (oh no!) have decided to ignore your feed from a FeedAdvisor analysis. There's a new drop down to switch between click through analytics and subscriber activity reporting.

So analyze, optimize and make the most of your blog, your content and your subscribers.


FeedBlitz Maintenance - Mar 22, 22:00 ET

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Update: After a longer time than expected dealing with connectivity issues, FeedBlitz is back up and running and the nightly update under way. We have also improved delivery today with newly updated SPF / SID records. We've worked with Yahoo and Verizon over the last few weeks to ensure delivery goes to inboxes and not junk folders, and this is another step towards making that outcome more likely for all subscribers.


Bulk subscriber management added by FeedBlitz

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

FeedBlitz, the web's leading blog / RSS to email service, has made available bulk subscriber management for publishers. Users can now click the checkboxes for the subscribers they wish to manage for each feed, and in a single click remove them from their subscription list or fix undeliverable addresses.

And about time too, huh?

Anyway, a great use of this facility is to mark junk email addresses imported from systems that don't have anti-spambot capabilities (such as Bloglet), where lists over time have become polluted with junk email addresses. You can use the subscriber listing and / or search facilities to extract the bad addresses, select them all with a single click and then delete them.

You can see the new features in your subscriber pages - go to http://www.feedblitz.com/f?Subscribers to view all your subscribers regardless of feed, or to www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists to view the subscribers for an individual syndication. Bulk subscriber management is available for both standard and premium service customers.


Real-Time Click Tracking, Charting and Analytics Introduced

Monday, March 20, 2006

To help marketers and bloggers using FeedBlitz to deliver easily managed RSS-based newsletters, we have enabled comprehensive click through tracking, charting and reporting. Click through tracking enables you to understand the relative popularity of the posts in your syndicated feeds. Here's a sample of the analysis FeedBlitz can now deliver:

You can view a summary of all the click throughs for all your feeds, or you can start from a specific feed.

Regardless of where you start from, clicking on a chart element (bar or line or area) drills down a level into the data, ultimately allowing you to see a time trend of click throughs on your posts. There's a wealth of information and knowledge you can build, as well as much more detail on activity than is available in any comparable service.

Under the chart, you can see a table summarizing the data in the chart.

Multiple Analysis Options

Simple to use, just by clicking on the chart or using the two list boxes top right, you can easily tailor the view by choosing from:

  • Multiple chart options (including no chart at all)
  • Multiple time frames, from today only to all time
  • Multiple chart options: stacked or unstacked; bar, line or area.

At any time you can click on the link in the table and visit the original source post.

Truly Real-Time

If you click through on an email update with link tracking enabled (text or HTML) and refresh the chart, your click will be registered on the analysis – it's truly real-time, and transparent to users. You also see activity on each individual post, which enables you to clearly see how your readership reacts to your content.

For example, last week, reaction to FeedBlitz's OPML reading list syndication announcement was ho-hum, but people really liked knowing that things weren't going to be as orange as before.

What Activity is Tracked (and What Isn't)?

The following links that FeedBlitz manages in your outbound updates are automatically tracked when this feature is enabled:

  • The main title link back to your blog
  • Individual post header links
  • Links on teaser / call to action text for posts truncated in FeedBlitz
  • Enclosure links (i.e. podcasts)

Links within a post are not automatically tracked when this feature is enabled; comments on this limit and whether we should change it are welcome. This feature also does not track individual users; only aggregate activity is tracked. Also, if a user clicks on a links multiple times, that counts as multiple click-throughs. Hey, if it's that interesting, you ought to know about it, right?

Availability and Configuration

Click through tracking is available now to all publishers, on the standard and premium services. All feeds have tracking disabled, so action is required to start seeing the data.

To enable click-through tracking, go to www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists and click the “details” icon (yellow meshed gears) for the relevant feed.

A new configuration check box is now available to set up click-through tracking. Check it on and save the feed. Click through tracking will now be enabled for all future updates. Emails that have already been sent cannot be tracked since they aren't using the tracking links in the messages, so don't expect to see any activity until you post a new entry to your blog and it is sent out – the timing of that, of course, depends largely on you.

If you enable or disable click-tracking for an OPML syndication, all the child feeds contained in that OPML syndication will also have click-through tracking enabled or disabled in parallel, just as you'd expect.

Click tracking is probably most important for users who use FeedBlitz to truncate their posts in order to drive traffic back to their web sites. We thoroughly recommend enabling click-tracking for your syndications if you are limiting the size of each post. Otherwise you may want to consider enabling it d epending on your needs. Marketers also like this information as it enables them to gauge content popularity.

Accessing Your Analytics

Analyzing your click throughs couldn't be simpler. From the dashboard www.feedblitz.com/f simply click the new “Real-time interactive click-through analysis” link which will show you all the click through data for all your feeds for the last seven days (by default). You can the drill down to see these results by feed and then by time.

Alternatively, you can go to your feed management page at www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists and click the analysis icon (the pie chart ) for an individual feed. That takes you straight to the time-based analysis for that specific feed.

So get started and explore this new set of capabilities. We're by no means done on the analytics front, so stay tuned for more powerful and exciting features from the Web's number one blog and RSS to mail service provider.


FeedBlitz standard emails become a little less, well, orange...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

OK, so I know there are those who really, really, really don't like FeedBlitz orange. But this change isn't really anything to do with that. For deliverability reasons we have removed the larger orange bar on the top right of the standard service emails (and, crucially, the white text that sat on top if it). The effect of this change was that the large FeedBlitz logo became graphically out of balance with the rest of the page, and so it's been shrunk to what you see here to restore some semblance of esthetics (color preferences aside).

FeedBlitz publishers may check out how their updates will look by going to http://www.feedblitz.com/f?Lists and clicking the preview or test icons.


FeedBlitz Simplifies Blog-Based Newsletters with New Weekly Schedule Options

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

FeedBlitz has now added weekly email options to simplify weekly newsletter production from blogs and other RSS feed sources. Available as a "Turbo" upgrade, you select the day of the week you want your newsletter to be released. In the wee small hours FeedBlitz collects your posts from the previous seven days and mails them out to your subscribers, automatically.

Existing "on demand" Turbo users should consider changing their Turbo setting if the move to "on demand" was to create a weekly cycle; with the new weekly settings you don't have to manually intervene to send the updates.


FeedBlitz Introduces OPML Reading List Email Syndications

Monday, March 13, 2006

As promised in yesterday's update, there are some new OPML features in FeedBlitz to tell you about.

FeedBlitz has offered OPML import, export and email subscriptions for a while now (a while being a month or two - that's ages in the "Web 2.0" world); we last talked about it here. As a reminder, OPML is an industry-standard way to organize outlines and lists. It's typically used to import and export lists of blogs and feed, hence the increasingly popular alternative name of "reading lists."

FeedBlitz now enables blog authors to syndicate OPML to subscribers by mail. OK, so what on earth does that mean, and why might you care?

When you syndicate an OPML file in FeedBlitz to email subscribers, it is treated in many ways just like a blog / RSS feed email syndication. You can track its metrics, set up a subscription sign-up form etc. The difference is that when you syndicate an OPML file, a subscriber to that syndication is automatically subscribed to all the feeds inside that file (and you, as a publisher, see all the RSS feeds in the file as syndications in your FeedBlitz dashboard).

So what? So you can bundle together multiple feeds (e.g. different corporate blogs, product line notices, industry journals, blog rolls, grade school reading-lists, iTunes feeds) into a single OPML file. Host that OPML file online and let your readers subscribe to that OPML file. They get one confirmation message - to confirm the OPML file subscription - but they are then subscribed to all the contained feeds (they can of course choose to unsubscribe from the individual feeds later on if they wish).

Better yet, if you add a new feed (book, blog, product, musician, podcast etc.) to the OPML file, the subscribers to that OPML file will be automatically subscribed to that new feed as well. The OPML file becomes a dynamic feed container to package any and all content together to your subscribers via email.

But wait, there's more. If you edit an OPML file's syndication details (say to make it private, or to truncate the text sent in an outbound email), all the feeds you syndicate that are currently in that OPML will be updated with the new settings. So they will all become private, or they'll all be truncated. OPML syndication therefore becomes a way to centrally organize and manage your email publications from a single point. And because you can have as many OPML syndications as you like, you can manage different groups of feeds one way, and other feeds another way if you wish.

So, in brief, FeedBlitz's OPML reading list syndication:
  • Is a great way to have user subscribe to a package of feeds in a single operation.
  • Automatically syndicates feeds to the OPML file's subscribers as new feeds are added.
  • Enforces consistency across the contained feeds.
Combine OPML syndication with master templates and you have an easy way to manage your email newsletters from soup to nuts. There's no need to limit OPML to import and export! Make your reading lists dynamic with a FeedBlitz OPML email syndication.


February 2006 Summary

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Here's a somewhat delayed summary of February's FeedBlitz metrics (please feel free to compare it to January's entry ).

The circulation count after February 28th was 314,000 up nearly 100,000 on the prior month, or about 42% month on month growth. Over 8,000 active readers now get FeedBlitz service updates from this blog, all via FeedBlitz. Premium service growth continues to, well, grow.

109,000 visitors came to the FeedBlitz web site in February, with the busiest day seeing 4,773 visits (compare to 100,000 visitors (max 3,987) in January, a longer month by 3 days or ~10%). There were 433,000 page views. The site's Alexa rank has remained between 8,000 and just better than 5,000 for most of the month.

While FeedBlitz performed well last month, new feature adds took a back seat to dealing with the surge in spambots and the threat they posed to continued service availability. The visual image verification took a while to settle in as we dealt with issues for some Mac users and AOL subscribers. Now it's done, the changes have been very effective at stopping the bots, and the number of requests to help solve the challenge is very small indeed, so all's well that ends well - we can get back to feature enhancements.

Despite the bot problem, new capabilities added to FeedBlitz in February were:
So the cool new features we promised last month didn't show up thanks to the bots. So, all things being equal, they should appear later this month. You'll be happy! Trust me...


Normal Support In Effect

As mentioned here we were short staffed up to an including March 7th. By the end of March 8th we were pretty much caught up with the backlog; thanks to anyone who had to wait longer than usual.


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