September 15th, 2007
Categories: Uncategorized

How To Track New RSS Subscribers Google Analytics in 3 Easy Steps


A few days ago I mentioned in my Three Cool Things to do with Feedburner a way to track where new subscribers come from. It’s quite a cool trick using Google Analytics I read on Shoemoney. However, I don’t think he explained it well, so in true pillar article fashion, here it is in all it’s glory.

What You Want To Achieve

This is for people who are big fat stats whores like me. I love them, and can spend eons browsing on Google Analytics looking at all sorts of pretty graphs. But more importantly it’s for people who – like me – believe that RSS Subscribers are the most important

Step 1 – Create The Page that Sits Between The Link and The Feed

Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t really track links, so what you need to do is create a page that sits between your feed link and a feed. You also need to create what they call a “Meta Refresh” that automatically forwards you from the created page to your feed. Meta Refreshes have built into the header a command that tells the browser to refresh the page after a certain number of seconds, and optionally forwards you onto somewhere else. This page will appear blank (some people like writing “Forwarding Now:” but I find this creates confusion as I get nosey to see what the flashed up text says), but will contain your google analytics code in the usual place. So, in notepad create the following file.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1;url=[PUT YOUR FEED URL HERE}" />


So, for example, mine would be:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”1;url=” />
<script src=”” type=”text/javascript”>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
_uacct = “UA-1943992-1″;
<script type=”text/javascript” src=””> </script>

Save this as something like “subscribe.htm” (or do what I do, save it as “index.htm” under the subdirectory “subscribe”). Upload this to your server (for the remainder of the tutorial, I am assuming you’ve created a file called “subscribe.htm”).

Step 2. Create Your “Goal” in Google Analytics

A “Goal” is what you want to achieve with your website. If you’re a e-business, a “goal” will be a sale. We, as bloggers, probably consider a “goal” as an RSS feed subscription. But how do you create one?

When you login into your Analytics account, click on “Edit” next to your account.


On the next page, click on edit next to one of the uncreated goals.


You then have a screen with a lot of empty text boxes, don’t worry, you don’t have to fill them all in, just the two under “Goal Information”. Enter the url of the page you created, along with a name for a goal, then make sure it’s activated.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Save Changes”.

Step 3 – Point All Your Feed URL’s to The Page You Created

Before you are able to use the new page, you need to link to it, so whenever you have linked to your feed (usually in the template), change the feed link to the new URL (in my case .

Now What?

Now you play the waiting game. If you’re a half decent blog, you’ll probably get somebody subscribing to it within about a few days. When this happens, click “All Traffic Sources” (under “Traffic Sources”) in your website analytical report, then click “Goal Conversion”. You should get something that looks similar to this:


The percentage value indicates how many visitors from that website have subscribed to your feed. Obviously, the higher the better, so you will do well focussing on advertising campaigns/comments on the bigger percentages, rather than the smaller percentages.

The Possibilities Are Endless!

Okay, this is just for RSS feeds, but what else? Well the next obvious one is your Advertising Page, or any pillar content. But can you make any suggestions as well?

This Post was written for the “How To” Group Writing Project.

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