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Own your RSS

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sometimes an objection to using a third party RSS service to help promote and improve your blog's native RSS feed is the fear that that you might "lose control" of your content, as well as losing the SEO (search engine optimization) benefits of your RSS feed.

This really isn't so, even if you use FeedBurner or the new FeedBlitz RSS service. There are a couple of ways to ensure that your feed always appears under your own domain while you use FeedBlitz to run your RSS for you. Using FeedBlitz and your DNS settings (or redirects) this is a pretty simple process. Here's how:

1) Blitz your RSS feed at FeedBlitz using RSS - New to get all the branding, splicing and reporting goodness we add to your RSS feed. Let's say your blitzed URL is feeds.feedblitz.com/example

2) Let's say you want to your feed to always appear at feeds.example.com/example so that it always appears to come from you. The first part of that URL - feeds.example.com - is the host name. Enter that as the host name at FeedBlitz in the RSS - Settings screen. FeedBlitz will now serve your feed at both feeds.feedblitz.com/example and feeds.example.com/example, retaining any existing subscribers to the feeds.feedblitz.com address. Your reports for any given feed cover subscribers to all of its URLs.

3) Edit your DNS settings to so that feeds.example.com is a CNAME for feeds.feedblitz.com

That's it! Your feed is clearly yours, but when your subscribers visit feeds.example.com/feedblitz they are actually being served your content by us. We'll make sure the subscription links map correctly, and - should you ever choose to leave - you don't have to worry about losing subscribers. You simply map or redirect feeds.example.com to another service, or host it yourself. There's no risk to you when you outsource to us this way.

Using CNAMEs you can map multiple feeds to the same hostname that you own (so you can have feeds.feedblitz.com/topic1 map to feeds.example.com/topic1 and feeds.feedblitz.com/topic2 map to feeds.example.com/topic2 etc.) and it will all work, provided you update the hostname field for each feed you want to map in its FeedBlitz RSS settings.

Alternatively, if you don't have DNS access but use webservers or systems like wordpress that allow redirects, you can also redirect your feeds (such as www.example.com/feed) with a temporary (302) redirect to feeds.feedblitz.com/example - this keeps your site as the "main" feed but tells aggregators and visitors to visit us for the content (for the time being).

Whichever way you choose to do this, your RSS readers remain yours on a URL that is yours on a branded domain that is yours; yet your feed can be easily delivered, serviced and managed by us. You retain SEO and brand value while delegating RSS management and reporting to a service like FeedBlitz.

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