Fun with Feedburner: Dynamic banners promote YOU
Just the content ma'am!
Wouldn't you like to have an advertising banner that shows your five latest or hottest hubs and display it elsewhere? Well this hub will show you how to do that very thing, and it's not too hard.
The technique I am about to show you will work with any RSS feed, including your latest hubs, your hottest hubs, or your blog. I'm going to do it for my latest tweets on twitter. That's what's so cool about RSS: It takes wild and woolly HTML content, stripped of styles and presentation, and structures it in standard ways (XML if you want to get technical) so that other people can suck it in and present it in other formats. There are a few people who don't have their head completely around RSS yet. The good news is that for this tutorial you don't have to!
Below is pictured the graphic for my animated twitter feed. I had to use my extensive knowledge of computers (i.e. cut and paste) to gerry-rig the graphic URL and load it into a hub pages photo capsule. Due to the technical limitations of hub pages I can't show it to you linked in all its glory like it is meant to be and hubpages also de-animates it, so it isn't very cool. However if you follow the instructions given below you will get an intact chunk o' code that works just fine and an animated banner that flashes your five latest whatever from your RSS feed.
My Twitter Headline Animator from Feedburner
In this tutorial we will:
- burn a twitter feed in feed burner
- set up background graphic for it
- go to the headline animator of feed burner
- point the animator at our graphic
- customize the data
- and see our headline animator
I couldn't find a youtube on this, so we'll have to do it with stills. I haven't made enough money off my hubs yet to buy a video camera.
Get an RSS feed, burn it and get into headline animator
Go to anyplace you like that has an RSS feed. You're welcome to use my twitter profile to practice on: http://twitter.com/tixrus Find where the RSS feed is. In this case it's lower left. Often they will be signalled visually with an RSS icon. Right click it and choose Copy Link Location.
Now go to http://www.feedburner.com (or http://feedburner.google.com if you've already migrated your feeds to google) and get your cursor in the big blank place where it says to burn a feed. Click CTRL-V to copy your feed address into it. Click next. You will be asked to either log on or create an account.
Once logged in, you will want to go to the new feed you just created. You do that by going to My Feeds, top left. This will take you to the page where feedburner keeps all your feeds, if you have any others. We are interested in the newest one, the one you just created. Click on it. New feeds always have screwey statistics so don't pay any attention to those for now. Just move on and click the Publicise tab, see the screen that looks like the third one, and click Headline Animator from the selections on the left.
headline animator screen
Configuring your banner
Where it says "Clickthrough URL" you will probably want to leave this alone.
Where it says "Theme" you can choose one of their presets or you can configure your own custom background image. I gave it the URL of a 468 x 60 IAB standard sized twitter banner with the right hand side left blank. Note that if you use your own, it has to be on the web somewhere. You can't just upload it from your local computer. Caveat #2, it must be a GIF image. To the best of my knowledge Flickr converts all GIF's to JPG's and they don't work!
The remaining items are pretty self explanatory. You can choose to have or not have any of them. If you have space, as I do, you can wrap long "headlines". You can choose only from the colors given -- you can't tweak them afterwards. You can make the font sizes bigger or smaller but you can't control the font. You can format the date according to your locale. You can drag these items on the canvas until they're placed the way you want them.
Once the headline animator looks like you want you can Activate it and give it a name distinct from any other headline animators you have on this feed. Once it's active, a new item appears on the screen at the top: a sharing panel with an addme red button. There will be a drop down of ways to share it. The way I chose was other (just gimme the code) and clicked next. The Grab Code window appears and you can cut and paste the resulting code pretty much anywhere HTML code is accepted.
To see it in glorious action, please see my blog post on this subject.
Where might you paste this code?
- In a banner ad you have paid for on a third party site
- In a banner ad rotator such as openx
- the sidebar of your blog -- (you would need to create a differently shaped banner for this format)
- get your friends to paste it on their sites
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