Did you lose a bunch of Feedburner subscribers after switching from say, Blogger to WordPress? OMG – me too! We should go out for coffee sometime.
This is usually because the feed’s URL on each platform is different. So you have all these subscribers (either through their RSS readers or their blog rolls) pointing at the old URL, but your blog is now producing its feed on a new URL.
For example, on Blogger, the URL for my feed was:
And now on WordPress, the URL for the feed is:
You can get them back through the use of a Redirect. Here’s how:
How To Reclaim Lost RSS Feed Subscribers (The Short Version)
Create a 301 redirect that goes from your old RSS feed URL to your new feed URL. You can use a redirect plug-in (everyone seems to swear by the one from Urban Giraffe ) or you can modify your .htaccess file. In either case, setup your redirect to go from the old Blogger feed:
to the new WordPress feed:
where “yourdomain” is, obviously, your domain name.
How To Reclaim Lost RSS Feed Subscribers (The Detailed Version)
Create a redirect that goes from your old RSS feed URL to your new feed URL. There are three different methods that I’ve tried.
The Plug-in Method
The safer method is a redirect plug-in and people really like the one from Urban Giraffe. If you don’t have it, you can download the Urban Giraffe Redirect plug-in and activate it.
NOTE: This is the recommended method even though I haven’t gotten it to work yet, but that’s because there seems to be a compatability issue at the moment between the Development version of WordPress and the Redirect plug-in. If you’re using WP 3.0 dev version don’t use this plug-in, it will create redirection havoc. It does work, however with previous versions of WP.
Not sure which version of WP you’re using? Scroll down to the bottom of your WP editor and you will see something at very bottom of your screen. Mine looks like this: You are using a development version (3.0-RC2-15136). Cool! Please stay updated.
When you use the plug-in to add a redirect, you’ll get to a screen that looks like this:
For Source URL, enter:
be sure to change “yourdomain” to your own domain name. Mine is nannygoatsinpanties.
For Target URL, enter:
Click the Add Redirection button and you’re done.
Be sure and test the redirection by entering your old URL into your browser to see if your new feed appears. It may take at least a day before your Feedburner count goes back up.
Adding a Redirect via Bluehost
Bluehost has a nice way to create redirects without having to manually go into the .htaccess file (which can be dangerous). If you ever need to redirect anything, you can do so by going to the cPanel and selecting the Redirects icon under the Domains section. Here’s how you can set up a redirect to avoid losing Feedburner subscribers.
On the Redirects page, select Permanent (301) for the type.
There is a pull-down for you to select the URL domain to redirect FROM. Select your custom domain. In the text box after it, enter the old RSS feed that Blogger produces: feeds/posts/default
In the section labeled “redirects –>” enter your new WordPress feed, which is http://www.yourcustomdomain.com/feed
Click the Add button. That’s it.
The Slightly More Dangerous Method
This involves modifying the .htaccess file directly (instead of letting the redirect plug-in, or Bluehost Redirect program do it for you) and isn’t for the faint of heart. I will show you how I did it using the cPanel of my ISP host, BlueHost.
Adding a Redirect via .htaccess file.
Login to your Bluehost cPanel and click on the File Manager icon in the Files section (pictured below).
This will bring up a directory selection screen.
Select “Web Root” as shown above with the red arrow. Check the box labeled “Show Hidden Files” and click the Go button.
This will open a new tab in your browser called File Manager and will display a list of files in your public_html directory. Select the file named .htaccess and click on the Edit link at the top.
If a Text Editor dialog box pops up with a button that says “Disable Encoding Check” go ahead and click on it.
By now, you should behold your .htaccess file.
BE VERY CAREFUL AT THIS POINT. If you mess this up, you could render your website useless and then you’ll have crawl over to the Bluehost Customer Service people with your tail between your legs and beg for mercy as they ridicule you and pelt you with wet noodles.
OK, not really, but do try to be careful while you’re in here.
Add a Redirect command to the end of your file. It will look something like this:
Redirect 301 /feeds/posts/default http://www.yourdomain.com/feed
where “yourdomain” should be your domain name. For example, my redirect looks like this:
Redirect 301 /feeds/posts/default http://www.nannygoatsinpanties.com/feed
Click on Save Changes, cross your fingers, pray to your god or gods, hold your breath and for good measure, hop up and down on one leg.
And that’s it. You’re done.
Be sure and test the redirection by entering your old feed URL into your browser to see if your new feed appears. It may take at least a day before your Feedburner count goes back up. Good Luck!
P.S. Hey, guess what? I wrote a book about writing better blog posts, written to help you kick it up a notch and make them more engaging. It’s educational as well as entertaining. It’s called Sticky Readers: How to Attract a Loyal Blog Audience by Writing More Better and you can buy it just about anywhere online. There’s more info at the Sticky Readers website, including where to buy it.