How to Move Away from Feedburner Forever – Part 1

If you were to believe the reports from some circles, Feedburner may be shutting down. In all honesty, it was simply them depreciating their API (this means that there is no future developments on their system) so can’t be trusted in being supported going forward. Nevertheless, if you are a feeburner user, it could be a sign that Google are closing their RSS feed system.

Now many bloggers use the Feed-To-Email system which is fine, however it is far more beneficial to you to run any RSS based newsletter through an email marketing service such as Aweber or Mailchimp. The reasons being the following:-

  • You have control of the email addresses – With Feedburner being threatened to be shut down, it’ll be frustrating if the email addresses were to disappear overnight. Now I’m sure this wouldn’t happen with Feedburner, but it could. Using an email marketing solution (where you pay to leave your data on their servers) or WP Email Capture (the data is on your server), means that you are not relying on a free service that could delete your data on a whim.
  • You can send other exclusive content – the big benefit is that you can reward subscribers with exclusive content, rather than simply rely on your RSS feed to send emails.

How To Move Away from Feedburner Forever – Get Your Data

Luckily (and rather unsecurely, I must admit) it is fairly straightforward to get emails that have subscribed to your RSS feed out of Feedburner and into an email marketing service. I will describe the process below.

Extract Emails from Feedburner

The Email Subscription Management Page on Feedburner

First off, head to Feedburner. Log into your Google account and you should see a list of all your feeds. Click on the subscriber number for the feed you wish to extract said email addresses and click on “Publicize” > “Email Subscriptions” (the latter link is located in the left hand sidebar) and then “Subscription Management”.

Get the Email Address CSV

If you scroll down to near the bottom of this page you’ll get a number of how many subscribers you have as well as a “View Subscriber Details” link. If you click on this link, you can see all subscribers, as well as export them as a CSV.

Naughty Google!

My Note: I find this incredibly unsecure, as not only can you see people’s email addresses that have unsubscribed, but you can export unverified email addresses.

I would also remove the “Subscribed” and “Status” columns as well from the above list, as well as remove all email addresses that aren’t “Active”. Not doing this can get you thrown off your email marketing service for spam, so do it.

Import This List into Your Chosen Email Marketing Solution

You then can import this CSV into any email marketing service. However, some systems vary:-

  • With Aweber, you will have to confirm the email addresses again. This helps keep your list secure and spam free (say if you forget to do the above step), but it can result in a drop in subscriptions.
  • With Mailchimp, you don’t need to approve the subscriptions again. That means you do end up with more subscriptions to your list, however you have to make doubly sure your list contains only valid, opted in subscriptions – (of course, any future list we hope you build with WP Email Capture will be this!). Read steps 3 and 4 for a guide on how to import a CSV to Mailchimp,

Unlink your RSS Feeds from Your Blog

Now you will need to unlink your Feedburner RSS feeds from your blog. This could be a simple job (for example, if you are using the Feedburner Feedsmith WordPress Plugin), or you may have to manually change the links. Yes this will be a pain, however it must be done – otherwise should Feedburner be shut down, you’ll have to do it anyway!

That’s part 1 done, part 2 will talk you through how to use your RSS feed to create an email newsletter – which is exactly what Feedburner does.

About Rhys Wynne

Rhys Wynne is the project manager of WP Email Capture. He likes responsive design, WordPress, SEO done properly and cracking real ales. Twitter handle is @rhyswynne