In light of the recent news we reported last week that Google will be shutting down the Feedburner API on October 20–leaving all related plugins broken–and for all intents and purposes leaving the Feedburner service defunct save for some hints at URL preservation, the BWD team has been seriously looking at a number of replacement options and services.
In doing so, we’ve found that one of the best solutions on many of our clients’ radars is the service FeedBlitz, a company that has been quick in picking up the slack that Feedburner has left behind. FeedBlitz’s efforts have been further helped with their nifty step-by-step instructions for Feedburner “refugees” and advertisements of personal support assistance during the transition as well.
Regardless, we had to check out FeedBlitz for ourselves and here is what we found.
Setup & Customization
The setup for our new Feedblitz feeds and services was super simple. From the start, any missing feed types were added (such as atom) and our mailing lists were ready to go. Following setup we were able to see a well-itemized list of all of our services, with clear links to further customize them in a super-easy to read and innovative settings page for each.
For our main RSS feed we were able to pick out a Feedburner-esque style counter to display via HTML embed along with an auto-discovery tag to go into our head of our HTML for search engines as well.
Our new mailing list tool let us send a test e-mail right from the start to see if everything was working and displaying as we wished. The message was sent directly from our account e-mail via the Feedblitz server, which we anticipate will aid in SPAM folder fighting as well. Another benefit was that by default, the main navigation of our site was included in the top of our test newsletter, along with the 5 latest posts in full-text form beneath. Our images displayed very well in the e-mail, and some great share features were included by default at the bottom, too. Phil Hollows–the founder and CEO of Feedblitz–further explained that:
“Unlike other feed services, we preserve HTML before the cutoff, so formatting, links and images are preserved. This makes your excerpted messages significantly more engaging for the subscriber, and therefore much more likely to generate action.”
Tweaking the settings to make this e-mail look just right was simple as well, including modifying the top navigation, text, logo, branding, and more. When we asked Phil about including just part of our clients’ posts in an effort to generate page views on our clients’ sites and not just their e-mails, Hollows jumped in with “We provide the ability to excerpt the source feed, or the resulting email, or both. FeedBlitz is very, very flexible!”
Cost per Month
One of the important things to consider during your switch–especially away from Feedburner–is cost per month. Some of our clients have well over 3,000 e-mail subscribers via their RSS feeds, which equates to about $49.95 a month with Feedblitz.
This cost may be high for some, so let’s consider some other options as well. Comparatively, MailChimp’s branded, “forever free” plan allows up to 12,000 e-mails per month for up to 2,000 subscribers. There’s no expiring trial, contract, or credit card required, unlike FeedBlitz who requires this financial information at signup and even for their free trial.
The Final Verdict
If automation is your goal, then Feedblitz is definitely the solution for you. We find this especially true if you were a previous fan of Google’s now defunct Feedburner service. FeedBlitz not only provides every single feature that Feedburner previously offered, but many more on top of a super helpful support team as well. There are simply no free services that carry this kind of support, functionality, and security. Here are some of our favorite features:
- RSS delivery schedules
- Extensive branding options for e-mails
- Reliable, extensive metrics and statistics
- Integration with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+
- Easy e-mail subscriber import (especially from Feedburner!)
However, if you’re more interested in some serious e-mail marketing and targeted campaigns towards generating page views and sales as opposed to general RSS-fed readership, then a more robust e-mail marketing system like MailChimp may be the better solution thanks to their superior user interface, spam fighitng abilities metrics, and templates over Feedblitz. In the meantime, we think Feedblitz rocks, especially as a Feedburner replacement.
Need some assistance in getting your feed setup with Feedblitz and/or away from Feedburner? Give us a ring.