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Automatic Category Feeds for Everyone!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All RSS feeds can now have category feeds automatically, courtesy the FeedBlitz RSS service. Simply add /tag/ and then the category to any FeedBlitz RSS feed and the filter is applied.
Easy! You can separate multiple tags with commas, like this:


Or, include multiple tag definitions, like this:


You can also mix "tag" and "not" like this:


All these tag filters work for the XML RSS feed, the browser (and SEO) friendly HTML versions, and the mobile versions that FeedBlitz generates automatically.

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Boosting the RSS Widget Again

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The RSS Headline Widget at RSS / Promote has been boosted again - it now lets you pick the number of posts (from 1 to 5) to have in the widget, and whether you want article copy to be plain text (which is better for sidebar use) or full HTML (better for full page widgets).

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Breaking the 512k RSS Feed Limit

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When feeds get large (> 512kb), the FeedBlitz RSS service intelligently truncates your feed so that your subscribers keep getting updates, as opposed to simply not serving your feed at all, which is what happens with you-know-who.

Today we've spruced up the feature so that, if FeedBlitz truncates your feed, we'll add an extra "virtual post" to the end which shows the titles of all the entries that didn't make the cut. This kicks in automatically once your FeedBlitz feed grows to be over 512k.

Controlling Feed Size

We've also introduced the ability in your RSS settings for you to manually force this to happen after a given article count. Say you have a long feed for whatever reason, but you want to limit what subscribers see to just the top 10 articles. Now you can - the limit is selected at RSS / Settings (by default it's all articles). Like the size restriction, if you enable it FeedBlitz creates a summary post for articles that didn't make the cut.

Custom Feed Sizes

What, though, if you want to take your feed and split into a "new" posts section and an "old" posts section without the virtual summary bogging down the end?

Can do!

FeedBlitz has a new URL parameter "limit" which dynamically controls how many posts are presented. It works like this:

You can post these different "limited" feed URLs in your blog's RSS autodiscovery tags to guide visitors to the most appropriate ones. There's no messing around with FeedBlitz config screens, and no summary posts, just the selected articles. The feature works for all FeedBlitz'ed feeds and is available right now.

Browser-Friendly and Mobile-Friendly Feeds Too

FeedBlitz automatically produces browser and mobile-friendly versions of your feeds. All these new options work for all the different versions of your RSS, so (for example) http://m.feedblitz.com/feedblitz/limit/10 shows the top 10 articles only in the mobile-friendly version of the FeedBlitz blog's main RSS feed.

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Three Minutes, Three Steps to Hands-Free Email Marketing

Friday, August 21, 2009

New video tutorial posted on how you can automate your email (and social media) marketing in just three steps and three minutes. It's our first, so be gentle :-)

Click the link here if you can't see the player below:


Twitter reblogging re-enabled

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When FeedBlitz improved our Twitter integration last year the subscription form was simplified to only include the direct message version of the integration. The publisher version was promised back "shortly" and now that commitment has been fulfilled, but I will confess that 11 months is a longer "shortly" than we had in mind at the time.

Anyway, it seems to be Twitter week here at FeedBlitz, and so I'm happy to say that the wait
is over and newsletter publishers can enable (and disable) automatic reblogging of their updates to their Twitter timelines at Newsletters / Mailings / Twitter. Look for the little bird icon!

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Add Customization to Your Twitter RSS Feeds

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Twitter's RSS feeds aren't very exciting. And for real-time messaging, not so useful. As a result, Twitter's RSS feeds have been somewhat neglected by the community at large, and that represents an opportunity that's going begging.

Twitter's RSS feeds can be much more useful when you make them a little smarter and work them harder as an adjunct to your blog and social media marketing strategy. And it doesn't take much effort to set up, and next to none once you're up and running.

Firstly, let's take your basic Twitter feed for your tweets (here's my twitter page http://twitter.com/phollows and here's the RSS feed for it: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/795606.rss). In the RSS the posts and the titles are the same - plain text, no links, no branding, just the unadorned Tweet. Dull, dull, dull.

Running your Twitter feed through FeedBlitz's RSS services, however, makes your Twitter feed more sociable. Go to FeedBlitz.com, RSS / New and enter the URL for your Twitter tweets home page (it's http://twitter.com/ and then your Twitter ID (without the @), so mine is http://twitter.com/phollows ). The page and feed are public, no need to add authentication here.

FeedBlitz will find your feeds - pick the one for your Tweets. FeedBlitz will suggest a feed path, I changed mine to be "twitter/phollows" - so my newly blitzed Twitter status feed is now http://feeds.feedblitz.com/twitter/phollows

If you visit my "blitzed" Twitter feed, you'll see that the improvements are:

  1. Links in the posts are, well, actually links.
  2. Each post has an email, rss and "tweet this" icon.
  3. The landing page is browser friendly and also good for SEO.
  4. There's a mobile friendly version too at http://m.feedblitz.com/twitter/phollows
Well, ok, that's heaps better, even if used as is, but what can you do with it? Bear in mind that the same approach can be applied to your other feeds at Twitter, and also to the RSS results of Twitter's real-time search. Being creative, there's an awful lot you can do with this as it turns out.

For example, you can:
  1. Add your Twitter feed to your blog or site's RSS autodiscovery links to others can subscribe without having to track down your Twitter page.

  2. Send your Tweets to yourself via email - and you get a searchable backup straight to your inbox.

  3. Integrate your tweets into your main RSS feed using a FeedBlitz "splice" (RSS / Splices) or a service like Yahoo Pipes, exposing your tweets to a wider audience that might not "get" Twitter. And remember, since the links in the Blitzed feed are live, the search engines can find your tweets.

  4. Offer email subscriptions to your feeds in digest form (you can brand the browser friendly and mobile pages as well).

  5. Set up real-time ego or competitor or industry searches on Twitter, run the RSS through FeedBlitz, convert to email, and send your colleagues a daily digest (or faster depending on the schedule you choose) of industry news.

  6. Convert your private timeline to be a public, branded, tracked RSS feed. The feed URL is always http://twitter.com/statuses/friends_timeline.rss no matter what your Twitter ID, but it's private, so you need to authenticate by providing your Twitter username and password. Once done, your new Blitzed version is public, and (if you want), anyone can see the conversations you're engaged in and whom you're following. Offer a branded version, get the widget (RSS Promote), convert to email - you get the idea.

  7. Let's not forget reporting and feed metrics! Once you have your branded Twitter RSS and email up and running you can use FeedBlitz's RSS and email for metrics on who's using your content, how they're accessing it and what they're reading.
And the real kicker? You can do this with ANY RSS feed, not just Twitter's.

Make the most of your social media investments. Beef up your feeds with FeedBlitz!

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RSS Email Headline Widgets Boosted

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The headline widgets (a.k.a. "BuzzBoost" in that other RSS service) for RSS and email newsletter publishers that allow you to place your most recent headlines in your blog's sidebar have been extended by popular demand to include article contents as well as headlines. The default is headlines only, but you can decide to include a variable amount of post content as well if you wish.

The no-longer accurately named headline widget for our email newsletter publishers is at Newsletters - Forms - Headline Widget.

RSS publishers using our RSS service can get their widget at RSS - Promote Your Feed.

Update 2009-08-27: Yet more boosty features have been added to the RSS version!

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