The problem with RSS (aside from only being used by nerds) is that it is almost untrackable.
Sure there's Feedburner and Google Analytics can tell you how many people came to your blog specifically through clickthroughs. But when you've got the whole post right there in your reader, why would you ever want to clickthrough to the actual website?
Feedburner tells me there are 925 people subscribed to my blog. Hooray!
Do they ever read a post? No idea.
Well, about 400 a month do clickthrough to the website ... but who cares about that. I'm not an advertiser, all I want are readers!
On Tuesday I nerdsniped myself and spent the whole day trying to figure out how to do this - long story short, I didn't find a single way. But I tried several things:
Add it to the feed with the right parameters and voila. You suddenly know how many people read your RSS feed! Hooray \o/
Well ... no. Apparently Google Analytics ignore such requests. The referrer is probably wrong since it isn't your domain, just some sort of reader url or something.
Maybe the parameters I added to the __utm.gif request weren't dynamic enough. The cookie stuff was certainly missing ...
I even went so far as to make a special iframe-only look for my blog:
That's right, add a ?track_page=1 to a URL and you get a bunch of sharing widgets and google analytics. Let's make the iframe useful why not ...
Didn't work. Readers allow iframes on a per-case basis and apparently I'm not cool enough for them.
I'm very open to ideas for things to try here ... all I want is to look at google analytics and have people reading the RSS counted amonst the normal reader population.
Sure, Feedburner does have some sort of hack to look at "reach", but it bugs me that I have no idea what that actually means. And that it's not included where I normally look for stats.
- You should be using Google Analytics to log your startup's client-side errors (thetaboard.com)
- What is Google Analytics and what can it do? (marketing.yell.com)
- Getting the Most out of Google+ with Google Analytics (socialfresh.com)
- Combining the HTML5 History API and the Canonical Tag for Improved Tracking (distilled.net)
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️