About Blog, Feed and Ping Submission

Terminology and jargon about what to submit where can be confusing. Here is a brief overview... 

 

 

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If you aren’t sure whether you should be submitting your Blog, your Feed or Pinging the submarine next door, you are not alone. Here is a simplified explaination of these terms and why you need to know about them.

 

Introduction

When I first heard about Blogging I was told that it would “drive tons of traffic to my web site”. It didn’t.

I did try though. I signed up for a free Blog account, typed in some “relevant” content and tried to follow the complicated, (bizarre?) highly techie instructions on how to Ping myself. (All I got back from the pinging service was an equally bizarre error message - no instructions on what to do, just the error message. I didn’t really want to “ping myself” anyway!)

I kept at it and did eventually figure out what all the silly “XML” or “RSS” buttons meant (which only showed a weird, unformatted page anyway with a weird error message associated with it). Fortunately, times have changed and most of this got both easier and better explained. Here’s an overview:

 

About Blogs and Blogging:

Blogging: a web log. In the early days blogs seemed to all read the same - “I woke up this morning, brushed my teeth and realized how wonderful the car looked …”. Fascinating! Those were truly web logs or personal diaries. Now-a-days you can find blogs which are interesting and helpful on any subject you can think of.

I like to think of on-line blogs as a combination of (relatively) easy-to-use software where you can add your thoughts, commentary or expertise without having to create new web-pages each time (and trying to add the navigation to the new page). Most free blogging services are in fact relatively easy to use. You do have to produce some decent content before anyone will visit, but that is true of anything you produce.

What comes after you have produced your decent content is the usual … you have to somehow let the world (and Aunt Martha) know about your blog.


Advertising your Blog

There are many ways to “advertise” your blog. One way is to submit your blog site to the special blog submission services (I list several on my Submit to Blogs page). This is basically the same as submitting your website to directories or search engines. You submit the blog title, description and URL and hope that information gets into search machines. If you have a blog, you should do this anyway.


Submitting your Feed

What submitting your blog to search engines does NOT do is tell the world (or Aunt Martha) when you have added another entry or written a new article. For that process to be semi-automatic you need to submit your “Feed”. You have doubtless seen “news tickers” either on TV or on the web. They show constantly new headlines coming off the news wire. Submitting your Feed is a bit like that. Feed services take your content and Feed it into the blog system. That means you can concentrate more on producing decent content than on telling the world (and Aunt Martha) you just wrote something new.


Getting a Blog Service

And thus back to the silly “XML” or “RSS” buttons you often trip over on web sites (fortunately the buttons are a bit more explanatory now-a-days, but not much). Those buttons are linked to a subscription service which allow people to know when you updated your blog. So instead of emailing Aunt Martha everyday to tell her you wrote something new, she can come once to your site, click your “Add / My Yahoo / My Google” or whatever subscription service she registered with and see for herself whether you wrote anything new without even going near your blog.


Pinging

There is one more thing you may have to do though. You may have to Ping the services so they know you have updated your blog. (Most software automates this, but not all.) The Pinging service or list just tells those other services that you have posted a new article so that they can come to your site and index it.

Clear as mud? Some things are best explained by trying them. You can create a free blog at WordPress - they also explain as clearly as possible all these technical terms. (There are many, many more technical terms and jargon :-(.)


Summary

Will creating a blog “drive tons of traffic to your website”? It certainly won’t drive any traffic to your site unless the content is great and you submit your blog, your feed and make sure you are pinging more than the submarine next door. But many people are predicting that Microsoft’s push into blogging may make it worth while - at least when the new operating system, Vista, is launched. Actually, I predict it won’t change much until the jargon and terminology gets simpler and the instructions easier … we’ll see.

 


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