HOW-TO: Not Use Feedburner Properly

Back in the spring of 1977, a couple of guys named Steve were changing the world of computers, a guy named George was changing the face of science fiction cinema, and a man named Jimmy was flexing his newfound Presidential muscle. That very same spring, ((Plus or minus thirty years.)) I created a Feedburner feed for KJToo.com.

Though I’m not obsessed with site statistics and number of subscribers to my RSS feed(s), I will admit that I was a little curious, plus Feedburner offered a couple of clever options for making the feed more friendly to various feed readers. Plus, there didn’t seem to be any downside to redirecting my existing feeds.

Fast-forward to a couple of months ago: In upgrading to WordPress 2.3.x and trying my hand at theme design, I run into problems with a couple of the plug-ins I’ve installed. After upgrading all the plugins I’m using and getting rid of a few I’m not, everything appears to be fine.

Fast-forward to a couple of hours ago: some random whim inspires me to check my Feedburner stats for the first time since George, one of the Steves and another George who has nothing to do with science fiction or personal computers went eight different kinds of crazy. Immediately, it is clear that something has gone horribly awry. Three subscribers? Just three? I’m responsible for at least two subscriptions to the main feed; surely I’ve got enough geek cred to warrant at least a handful of subscriptions from savvy Intarwebbians.

Of course I am, though my geek cred may be in some jeopardy as the twisted tale approaches its climax. It seems that in my virtual house-cleaning I had managed to deactivate and delete a very important WordPress plugin, one called Feedburner Feedsmith that handles the redirection of my default RSS feeds to Feedburner.

The upshot of all this, unless I’ve missed something, is that, for the past couple of months, Feedburner has only been counting subscribers who subscribed to the feeds generated by Feedburner (e.g., http://feeds.feedburner.com/kjtoo), because the feed published by WordPress (http://kjtoo.com/feed/) has not been properly redirected. ((This is a nice, warm, fuzzy explanation, because it means that people are subscribed to the feed and reading the blog but Feedburner isn’t counting them.))

Oops.

So now I’ve reinstalled the Feedburner Feedsmith plugin and this is the first new post since doing so. If all goes well, I should see the number of subscribers jump back up pretty quickly.

Either that or I suddenly became very unpopular in early September.

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