A Message To Current FeedBurner Subscribers

Since the inception of this blog I have been using FeedBurner as the main aggregator for my RSS Feed. It was user-friendly. I got to feed the stat hungry side of my brain by seeing who was reading my blog and from where and how many were subscribed to it, etc. Also the great thing about FeedBurner was that if I ever decided to move my blog somewhere else, with FeedBurner, I wouldn’t have to hassle my subscribers with re-subscribing (I would simply do all the work on the back-end and no one would be the wiser).

Well with the recent updates to Word Press stats and subscription options, my need to simplify my digital footprint and my increasingly infrequent visits to FeedBurner, the one-stop shopping option of having everything done on the WordPress side of things has become more appealing. Consequently, I’ve wiped all traces of FeedBurner from my site and will be deleting the FeedBurner RSS feed within the next weeks or so. Unfortunately, the thing that I’ve been helping subscribers avoid is no longer feasible and anyone who has subscribed to this blog via FeedBurner will have to re-subscribe via the options listed above on the right-sidebar (the RSS Feed will now be http://juliofromny.com/feed/). If you’re already subscribed to this blog via the WordPress options then you’re ahead of the game and have to nothing else except wait for the next blog entry hit your inbox, rss reader, etc.

I do apologize for this inconvenience and I will make an effort not to encumber you readers any further. Please use the new subscription options and I’ll try to write more often.

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Switching Back to WordPress.com

After self-hosting for 2 months or so I decided to go back to the comfort and ease of WordPress.com. I know, I know, you’re asking out loud:

“WHAT?! You didn’t even give self-hosting a real shot!”

You may be right, but I’m very fickle, mercurial, whimsical and a bunch load of other adjectives that’s just a fancy way of saying I’m never satisfied. As I am not like most people, I think for my own temperament, I feel I gave it just the right amount of time. Let me explain.

Self-hosting wasn’t completely frustrating for me. In fact I did enjoy the aspect of having complete control of my site (mostly anyway). The problem with having complete control is that it’s a double-edge sword. You get all the credit as well as all the blame if anything goes wrong with your site. You also have to devote more time to other things besides the content portion of your site. I’m more of a content producer than an admin and the constant tweaking aspect wasn’t as much fun, once the excitement of learning new tricks and code started to die down.

“But what about Squarespace? You don’t need to know any code with them. They do all the dirty work so you can focus on blogging,  podcasting or whatever”

Yes, Squarespace is an option; however, it costs a lot more than what I was paying at hostgator and unlike my previous hosting provider, Squarespace doesn’t support media files. Which means I would have to find another hosting option like Libsyn which would cost more money, or a free one like the Internet Archive. And if I’m going to use the free hosting option anyway I might as well go the whole shebang and use WordPress.com, like I am now using.

Also, I’m sure I mentioned, more than one time, my unemployment status and I have to be tighter on my budget expenses. I was hoping the ads around the website would garner enough to cover the costs of maintenance. I wasn’t expecting to finance my life with my blogging and podcasting attempts (I know that isn’t realistic). So with the ads garnering $0.00 I decided it was best to cut my losses now and just go back to blogging and podcasting for the fun of it, instead of thinking of it as a side-business.

The fact of the matter is, I recently, finally, started working. The crazy schedule that this recent temp job gave me, left little time to do any blogging or any other creative or recreational pursuits of any kind. This of course leads to the buildup of mental nagging inside my head, which only leads to perpetual frustration because of my inability to produce any output at that moment (this state of mind was discussed a bit in a recent blog post and at more length in my podcast).

As you can already tell, I put more than enough pressure on myself to accomplish things. I don’t need the added pressure that self-hosting, or an entrepreneurial business-model, would put on my already expended shoulders. I have a lot of silly notions (I’ll admittedly say that I’m weirder than most). One of them is that I don’t like to mix my hobbies or interests with business because it’ll just rob the fun out of them. It is one of the reasons why I didn’t pursue a career in illustration or writing (that and my lack of faith that my skills would warrant a decent living, but that’s for another post for another time).

By re-labelling my sites to amateur status (in my mind anyway), I take away some of the added pressure of time that a professional site would warrant. For instance, if my weekly podcast were to become more semi-weekly because of obstacles beyond my control, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It’s for fun after all, right? I also alleviate the silly compulsion to use 300 or so stat engines and try to make sense out of all the numbers (yeah this is an exaggeration but that is how it felt to me. Stats can be overwhelming sometimes).

So to sum up, I no longer have to worry about uploading the latest WordPress software, make sure that all the plug-ins are up to date and compatible, constantly tweak up my site index (whatever that means), continue to police Spam, backup my site in case it gets corrupted and I need to restore it, watch to see when and if my site goes down, figure out why my RSS feed and Feedburner is on the fritz, spend time and effort on SEO and SMO methods, wonder why some browsers are having compatibility problems and a volley of other issues I’m sure I forgot to mention.

Instead, for my annual $12.oo fee, I re-map my domain name to wordpress.com, and just worry about what to write on my blog or record for my podcast. All those other issues will be WordPress’s headaches. Which is great because I have at least 7 other blogging ideas bouncing around my head that are demanding to be spilled into the blogging ether. Another plus to switching back is that I now have all the sites that I deal with under the same global Dashboard (NoF ezine turned blog, the podcast and this blog), which saves me even more time and hassle. One login and Global Dashboard to rule them all (yeah that was my lame attempt at using a Lord of the Rings reference LOL).

“Does this mean that we have to resubscribe? What about all our comments that  we’ve written on your site thus far?!”

The beauty of domain names and Feedburner is that no matter how many times I dabble with other hosting methods, the subscribers, readers and the like need not suffer for my tomfoolery. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll still get all my blog posts and podcast episodes. Frankly, I’m surprised you’re still here indulging my quirks and eccentricities.

Woes of Self-Hosting

You don’t realize how good you have it at WordPress.com until you start to self-host your own blot. All week I have been having issues with spam, the site going down, HTML errors, incompatible plugins, reCaptcha API key link issues and so on. I sort of expected most of those issues. But nothing prepared me for the issue that just transpired after my most recent post. My Feedburner RSS Feed stopped working!

I have been a Feedburner booster for years. I even suggested it to somebody recently. I love the ability to jump between hosting services and not have my jump affect my subscribers because the feed stays the same. It has been a valuable and always-reliable service. So I was shocked when it stopped working because of a meta tag!

At first I thought something happened to my site again (as it has happened throughout the week), but Feed Validator showed that my sites feed was a valid RSS. So if everything is fine on my side of things why is Feedburner going kaput? My other Feedburner RSS feeds seem fine (which is good otherwise the podcast would be screwed too!), so why is this one having issues?!

I couldn’t figure it out so I decided to resolve the issue “Julio From NY” style (my highschool buddy, Yomar would get a kick out of this). I nuked the feed and recreated it. It seems fine now. Both my original feed and the “new” Feedburner feed is up and running again.

How this will affect my current readership, I have no idea since the RSS feed is exactly the same as the original (well actually it’s spelled in all lowercase this time around instead of a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters). According to the stats I now have 0 subscribers, but once I post this entry I don’t see why my “original subscribers” won’t receive it as well, since the URL is essentially the same. I guess we’ll find out together. Feel free to comment below whether or not this blog post got to you or not. I could use all the feedback I can get.

UPDATE:

After updating this post a bit, with the new RSS Feed, I got the same issue again but then after 10 minutes or so it righted itself out. I decided to experiment and change the RSS FEED back to it’s original form (http://feeds.feedburner.com/JulioFromNy) and it seems to be working fine now. I guess Feedburner was just having a hiccup at the moment in time and I should’ve just waited it out. I guess you live and learn.