UPDATE: Do yourself a favor and use the newer Digg This! FeedFlare provided by FeedBurner. It’s been added to the list of FeedFlares you can use right “out of the box” with no third-party monkey business.
If you have a blog, or publish any kind of information over an RSS feed, you should probably be using FeedBurner to manage your feed. In a nutshell, FeedBurner provides a boatload of free services to make dealing with your RSS feed easier.
My favorite example is something they call BrowserFriendly. As you may already know, your RSS feed itself is just an XML file. So, the “click here for my RSS feed” link you put on your blog is just a link to that file, or some mechanism that spits out that file. So, for someone who isn’t sure what RSS is, they may click that link and see a bunch of raw, ugly XML.
This happened to a friend of mine recently. (Honest to God.) He saw that I have a blog and asked me “what RSS is all about.” He said that when he clicks “the orange XML thing on these web sites, it doesn’t do anything.” FeedBurner’s BrowserFriendly feature solves this problem by showing the user a nicely styled version of the data in the XML file, along with some text explaining what subscribing to the feed is all about.
BrowserFriendly is just one (easy to understand) example. FeedBurner provides lots of other functionality as well, particularly if you’re a commercial publisher and you want to display ads in your feed. But, another fun service they provide is something called FeedFlare.
FeedFlare is what provides the
Subscribe to this feed, etc. links you see at the bottom of each post. Though you may be able to customize your blogging software to provide similar functionality, I think this is better because it automatically appears as part of your feed, wherever it’s being read.
In the past day or so, FeedBurner has opened up this service so that anyone can create their own FeedFlare item. They’ve also posted a list of 101 possible ideas for FeedFlare, and a call for people to create them.
So, here’s my submission for #19…a little something I like to call Digg this. (SEE UPDATE ABOVE.) It’s not rocket science; just a quick little way to submit the current post to the digg.com tech news site, much in the same vein as the
Add to del.icio.us links you see popping up on the web.
So, here’s hoping you take your feeds to the next level with FeedBurner, and write something cool enough to make it to the Digg home page!