Feedburner has become pretty unreliable lately with a recent problem with follower statistics and news of their API being shut down in October. Add to that the official Feedburner blog and Twitter account being closed one has to start to wonder if Google is simply going to close down Feedburner for good. I have several clients that use Feedburner and several of my own websites that use the service and given the issues with Feedburner I am looking at transitioning away from them as soon as possible. If you are thinking of moving away from Feedburner here are the steps to take to try to minimize your loss of subscribers.
Step 1: If you are using WordPress and have the FeedBurner FeedSmith plugin installed start by deactivating it. This will stop your WordPress blog from redirecting users to the Feedburner feed URL. Since you won’t need the plugin any more once it is deactivated you can also delete it as well.
Step 2: Login to Feedburner and select the feed that you are moving away from Feedburner. Once you are at your feeds dashboard there are a couple things you might want to do. First if you have been using Feedburner to deliver email updates, you will want to download the list of email subscribers to import them into another email service to deliver your blog updates by email. I personally use AWeber, but it costs some money. You could also look into Mailchimp who is free up to a certian number of subscribers.
Once you have your email subscribers exported and saved on your computer you can click the link near the top titled “Delete Feed”. Once you click that link a box will open up offering you the opportunity to redirect your feed for 30 days. Make sure you select the 30 day redirection. It will help you to not lose RSS subscribers.
That effectively deletes your feed and redirects it back to your website. Anyone subscribed to your feed through the Feedburner URL will be redirected for 30 days. This also means any other services you might have submitted your Feedburner feed to will also be redirected. If you have submitted your Feedburner feed URL to other places you will need to find them and replace them with your regular feed URL before the 30 day redirection runs out or they will stop working.
Step 3: Write a blog post letting all of your regular readers know that you have left Feedburner and remind them to update their subscription to your feed to point at your new feed URL. In most cases if you are using WordPress it would be http://yourwebsite.com/feed/. If you are one of my RSS subscribers your new feed URL is http://www.lgr.ca/feed/. Many of your might not notice the change since I promoted that URL and redirected to Feedburner in the event this day came that I left them. Of course you can also include in your blog post how disappointed you are that Google has basically abandoned a great service like Feedburner and let it waste away, but that is up to you.
That is all there is to leaving Feedburner. You will lose some things like a subscriber count and the nice way that Feedburner presented your feed to new subscribers. If you are using WordPress (and you should be, really your should) I will write about some of the options you have to get some of that information available to you again. It really is unfortunate that Google has let Feedburner deteriorate to this point but I suggest you look at moving your feed before Google does decide to just shut the service down and not offer any kind of redirection. Another reminder to try and keep things in house on your own domain instead of relying on a remote service.