Hi Dave. Like you, I’m a blogger, and sometimes I bump into other bloggers who have written about one of my postings, but somehow I haven’t gotten my trackbacks to work on my site. I don’t care too much about trackbacks, but tell me, how do you keep track of other bloggers citing your material on their sites?
When you look at the number of weblogs out there, and think about the thousands of new entries written each and every day, it’s immediately obvious that no-one can possibly subscribe to everything and though trackbacks are an interesting idea (see my article on blog trackbacks for more info) they aren’t completely reliable, one reason being that not every weblog management system generates them.
Instead, I use a really slick feature of NewGator Online (a free RSS news aggregator) to create what they call smart feeds and let their system do all the heavy lifting.
Here’s how it works, step-by-step.
First off, sign up for NewsGator Online. Then, once you’re logged in to your account and click on the “newsgator manager” tab. You’ll see something like this:
Click on “Add a Feed” and you’ll now see:
Almost there. Now, click on “Smart Feeds” and, finally, you’re ready to create an automatic blogosphere search. Now you have two alternatives. If you want to do just a straightforward Keyword Search, type in your domain name directly and ignore their directions. For example, I’d search for askdavetaylor.com. If, instead, you’d rather use a “URL Search”, which is probably a smarter move, then click on “URL Search” just below the tabs shown under Smart Feeds:
Here you’ll want to type in a fully qualified domain name, but unless you want to track a specific page, just use the address of your home page. Here I’d search for http://www.askdavetaylor.com/ rather than just the domain name shown earlier.
Type in the base URL address, click “Add” and you’re ready to go. Now, when there’s a match, you’ll see something like the following in your ‘My Feeds” area:
There are, of course, other ways that you can track the blogosphere, notably including Technorati and Bloglines, not to mention professional, corporate level tools like My Smart Channels and Umbria Communications.
All of these tools let you answer the critical business (and personal) question who’s talking about me, and what are they saying?