One of the difficulties that arise when moving a site to a completely new address (as in a new DNS host name) as I’ve done, is that it is very difficult to reach out to people who visit with an RSS feed reader: either the saw the original announcement and reacted, or they didn’t. (If you are reading this, you’ve come to the right place.)
From logs and statistics I determine I’ve lost a lot of readers, little wonder: either the announcement went un-noticed or it was put on the I’ll-do-it-later list and got lost there. I’m hoping to get those readers back here, by playing a bit of a nasty trick.
Feed readers configured with the old URL for the RSS feed will see something like this when they poll for new articles:
The nasty bit is, that they’ll see that as a “new” entry every time this site’s content is generated by Jekyll.
For the time being, the old site’s feed URL is being redirected to a static XML file on the new site. This redirection is quite simple to accomplish with Apache’s mod_rewrite:
rss.xml file is created at every Jekyll run as follows:
Notice how I’m using
site.time in the
guid elements; this
inserts the system time, which is new at each Jekyll run, of course.
When readers fetch the resulting RSS feed, they are tricked into thinking it’s
a new post and mark it as unread.
It works. The only question is, whether I’ll get some of my faithful visitors back, or whether I’ll piss them off for good. I hope it’s the former. :-)