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Pinging Your Blogs to Search Engines

Thursday, June 30, 2005

How to Submit Your RSS Feeds

You have probably heard a lot about blogs and RSS feeds. As you know (I hope ), RSS feeds are a way to syndicate your blog content much faster than ever before, allowing readers to view your blogs through their own aggregator software. More readers for you, more traffic to your site, more happiness.

Now, before you can get more happiness, you first have to make sure your RSS feed can be found by readers! But how do you do that? Easily, by submitting your RSS feed to the RSS search engines and directories.

This may sound like a daunting task, but it can actually be quite simple and fast. There are a couple of web sites available that provide a long list of RSS sites where you can submit your feed. However, many of the links provided are broken, out of date, or just plain take too long to go through them all. This is especially the case if you have multiple RSS feeds to submit. Who wants to go through all those web site submit forms over and over?

The fastest way to submit your RSS feeds is using a software tool. An example would be a product called RSS Submit http://www.dummysoftware.com/rsssubmit.html. This is a software tool for Windows PCs which automatically submits your RSS feed to over 60 RSS search engines. There are also various plug-ins available to further increase your RSS power. Defintely worth checking out.


Do I already have an RSS feed? Well, do I?

Believe it or not, this is actually a common question. Since most people blog using once of the major blog services like Blogger, TypePad, or WordPress, chances are they already have an RSS feed inside their blog, but never even used it!

Did you know that submitting your RSS feed to the RSS search engines can dramatically increase readers to your blog, not to mention, to your web site too?

Well then, let's find out if your blog already has an RSS feed.

1. Using your web browser, navigate over to your blog.

2. In your web browser, click View->Source.

3. Search for the following text near the top of the source file:
link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml"
link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml"

4. If you find a match for one of the above lines, then congratulations, your blog already contains an RSS feed! Now to find the URL to your RSS feed, just look for the URL at the end of the matching line. For example, if you follow the above steps on this very blog that you are reading, you will find a match with the following URL at the end: http://pingblogs.blogspot.com/atom.xml

What's that you say? Your blog doesn't contain an RSS feed? Well, not to worry. You can easily create one using a software tool such as FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com/ or various other RSS feed creators available. Now, how about putting that RSS feed to good use instead of letting it just sit there. See the next article about what to do with an RSS feed for promotion.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

What is XML-RPC and how do I use it?

XML-RPC stands for XML Remote Procedure Call (say what? :)). Basically, it goes something like this:

You have a blog, like the one you are currently reading. If you want to get more people reading your blog, you need to get listed in the blog search engines and aggregators. You can get listed by submitting your blog. You also want to submit your blog each time you update it so the search engines list the latest articles. This is called "pinging" your blog.

On many blog search engines you can ping your blog through their web site by typing in the URL to your blog and clicking their submit button. All is happy and good.

However, the nature of a blog is that it updates quite frequently, even several times per day. Ok, no problem. You just re-visit the blog search engines and ping your blog again. As you can imagine, this can get tedious.

The solution is XML-RPC. This allows you to use a special method of communication to ping your blog without ever having to visit the actual web sites to submit them. In a more detailed answer, XML-RPC is a protocol where you create an XML packet and post it to a web site which supports XML-RPC to accept a blog for pinging. It can get somewhat complicated, but actually using the service is easy. Anyone can ping their blogs with it.

Now you are probably saying, "Great! How do I use XML-RPC to ping my blog?"

The answer is easy. Several blogging tools include features to automatically ping your blog each time you release a new post. However, if your blogging tool doesn't already do this, then you need a 3rd-party tool, such as Blog Blaster http://www.dummysoftware.com/blogblaster.html - a software tool which lets you enter your blog URL and automatically pings your blog to over 30 blog search engines by using XML-RPC.

To show you an example of an XML-RPC web service, try visiting the following URL http://rpc.pingomatic.com. You will see a simple message stating that only XML-RPC is accepted. This is Pingomatic's XML-RPC service (they ping your blog over to 12 other directories once you ping them).

Now that you know about XML-RPC, setup your blogging software for pinging (if it supports it), or just go download a tool and start pinging. People are waiting to read your blog!