A large number of blogs and other sites now use Feedburner as it has a number of great Pro freatures and Feedburner also allows you to transfer feed ownership between users. Whilst you can see your stats in Feedburner the graphs are not that great and you can compare them.
There is a site called Feed Compare that allows you to view the RSS subscriber data for up to 4 feeds on a single graph. This means you could compare your competitors RSS subscriber count with your own feed.
To allow you to get a better idea of subscriber numbers you can also view a graph showing data for the last month, quarter, half year, year or 2 years assuming the feed has been in existence for that long.
The reason this is such a great tool is that you can now find out exactly how a sites RSS feed has grown over time. All you need is the sites Feedburner URL which you can get by right clicking on the sites RSS feed icon and copying the URL than pasting it into Feed Compare.
RSS Brief is a new feed reader/summariser from the people at PayPerPost. The idea behind the site is that you type in the RSS feed address and RSS Brief will then look at each post and give you a summary of what the post is about. You can then subscribe to the summary of the feed and save lots of time by not having to read the full feed.
When I stopped by to test it out it wasn't working properly so I can't tell you how well the summaries work. Other useful information include the average words per post and average posts per day.
If the service works as predicted and the summaries do make sense then this will be a boon for those using RSS feeds for research. I don't think it will catch on for feeds that you read for fun or posts from your favourite bloggers as it would take the fun out of reading them.
I received an email today from Nicky (the librarian) who has let me know about Feedity, a site that lets you create an RSS feed for a site that doesn't already have one. The idea being that you can subscribe to the feed you create for a site and view any updates or new content in your feed reader.
The tool is simple enough to use, just type in the URL of the site and select a category that site relates to then click preview. You are then presented with a preview of the feed that you can then go on to refine. Once you are happy with the results just subscribe to the related feed.
Using this tool I found it worked well on content sites but not so well on sites with little content. This tool is useful if you regularly visit a site that doesn't already have feed. A majority of blogs will already have feeds.
Those crazy guys and girls over at FeedForAll have come up with an RSS auto-discovery code generator tool. If you are unsure what that means it just a bit of code you put in the header of your web page to allow 1 click subscriptions for your RSS feed.
The tool is simple to use. Just type in a name for your feed and enter your feed URL then click the button. You will be rewarded with some cut and paste code for your site. Once the code is added to your site and the page is opened in a web browser you should see the standard orange RSS icon appear in the address bar in your browser.
WordPress is probably the most popular blogging platform that allows you to easily maintain a blog. One of the native abilities of WordPress is to create an RSS feed. While this is great there is currently no easy way to customize your feed.
Sig2Feed RSS signature creator
Brendan of Smackfoo has created a plugin for WordPress that allows you to easily add and edit a signature for you RSS feed. The plugin is called RSS signature and is installed into the plugins folder of your WordPress installation. Once installed the admin panel allows you to add a signature just by typing it in.
If you are wondering why you need to add a signature to your feed then consider how your feed is going to be used by others, so adding a copyright notice is advisable. You could also use RSS signature to add links back to your blog to encourage your visitors to comment.
I downloaded and tested their standalone version and it worked well doing exactly as the name suggests. The standard voice is very monotonous and soon becomes annoying. Luckily there are some other voices available via Microsoft.
As standard you only get to use a single feed but using the username: Public_exp_25.05.07 and password: Newsniche.com you get a fully functional version till the 25th May. Not long I know but enough time to find out what it can do. I am not affiliated with Apexoft.
A few new RSS tools have come to my attention and they have been neatly filed away in the RSS tools directory.
First up is Feeds2, a brand new RSS aggregator or news reader if you don't like those fancy terms. It is currently in the beta stage but as I understand you can sign up to beta test the system.
Next up is Feedmaker, also very new and currently at the alpha stage. This is a HTML to RSS tool which means it will attempt to turn a web page into an RSS feed. I tried to turn Google into a newsfeed and it didn't work too well. With these tools you really need to stick to content sites rather than applications.
Feedo style have a tool that allows you to create what they call a digest for your site. This allows you to put a widget on your site to display headlines from your own site or another site.
What is great about this tool is that it is so easy to use. All you need to do is enter the URL of the site you want to grab the feed from, click a button and it's done. A nice feature is that it detects a sites feed so you don't even have to remember the exact address of the RSS feed.
There are a number of customization options such as the size and colour of the widget. A number of options are available to allow you to set your preferred settings for the content that is being displayed. In all more than enough options to keep you happy and create a widget that will fit in with the style of your site.
Feedo style widget
Feedo style gives you a quick and painless way to display RSS headlines on your site. This is an ideal option for those who want to avoid the technical knowledge you would need to do this yourself.
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