As a result Google’s recent announcement that they’re closing down Google Reader on July 1, 2013, there’s been a lot of outcry and discussion about the implications of this. We’ve been getting quite a few questions from clients as a result, so have put together these FAQ for bloggers:
Do I need to make any changes on my blog as a result?
* Unless you have put a Google Reader bundle on your blog. (This is like a blogroll and isn’t related to people subscribing to your blog.)
How will closing down Google Reader affect my blog?
You may experience a drop in traffic if those reading your blog via Google Reader don’t move their subscriptions elsewhere. To try and minimize this, many bloggers are adding a blog post describing other ways to subscribe to their blog (via other feed readers, email or social media) to try and encourage people to move over in time.
How many people read my blog via Google Reader?
You can get an idea of this by subscribing to your blog via Google Reader and then clicking on “Feed Settings” and then “View details and statistics”:
For my blog, I see that there’s 71 subscribers. Google says that these numbers include subscribers across all Google services but this is still an indicator of numbers via Google Reader.
If you use Feedburner to manage your blog’s feed, you can also look at those statistics. I have 1059 subscribers showing in there, of which 338 are categorized as Google Feedfetcher. Feedburner says that these include Google Reader and iGoogle. There’s quite a big difference in numbers, and from what I’ve read and understand, that’s due to other feed readers which are built on top of Google Reader’s infrastructure.
Will my feed be affected by Google Reader closing down?
Is Feedburner closing down too?
* While there have been many rumors, Google has not made this announcement. Google has shut down Feedburner’s API and Adsense for feeds, which doesn’t look promising for Feedburner’s future.
If Feedburner closes down, what will happen?
You will still have a feed. WordPress and other blogging tools create them by default. Feedburner just reformats it and provides additional features such as subscribing via email and feed statistics.
Like Google’s Takeout service for Google Reader, there would likely be a clear plan for handling any switch off for Feedburner.
What could I do to prepare just in case Feedburner closes down?
If you use Feedburner’s “subscribe via email” functionality, you may wish to switch to another mailing list provider which offers this, such as MailChimp. You will get a lot of additional functionality too – such as being able to fully design how the emails look and be able to send them other emails too.
Also, check that any feed links on your site link to the original feed created by WordPress (or the like), rather than linking directly to your Feedburner URL. That way, if you switch off the Feedburner plugin which redirects people to Feedburner, you will lose less subscribers.