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Blog Improvement Project Week #19: Following Your Blog

2009bip-150x210I hope everyone is feeling good about doing some feed reader organization last week. My apologies for not explaining what a feed reader was in the original post; I just assumed that people would know what that means, but of course you know what happens when you assume 🙂

This week’s post also has to do with feed readers, but for a different purpose — finding out who else is talking about your blog. (You can still do a lot of this task even if you don’t use a feed reader, it will just involve saving some URLs to a favorites list or something).

The task was inspired by a post by Jackie at Farm Lane Books Blog about How to get Links to Appear in Google Reader. In the post, Jackie goes through a step-by-step process of how to get a feed in your reader of links coming in to your blog. I did this following the steps and it’s been great — I can easily see whenever anyone links to my blog. I know there are other ways to do this, but this method has made it really easy.

(By the way, if you’re not subscribed to Jackie’s blog, you really should be. She recently wrote A Beginners Guide to Joining the Book Blogging Community that is a must-read, even for experienced bloggers.)

Anyway, doing as Jackie suggested inspired me to look for other techniques to use in order to pay attention to when people are talking about you or your blog. And I found the perfect post on this topic at Problogger — Reasons to Have a Vanity Folder in Your News Aggregator.

A “vanity folder” is a folder that has a series of RSS feeds and links all related to your blog. There are many reasons to have one (written in detail in the article), but some of the important ones include engaging in conversation, tracking successful posts, and building relationships. The post then goes through some good methods for tracking references to your blog.

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to create a “vanity folder” in your feed reader (or your favorites list in your web browser) for your blog. You should follow Jackie’s great instructions, plus some of the steps in the Problogger article to do this.  And if you don’t already, make sure you’re subscribed to your blog’s regular RSS feed. This helps me make sure posts show up the way I expect them to and helps me catch errors if I missed them. Doing all these things shouldn’t take very long, but they should be beneficial.

After you’ve done that, spend the week paying attention to when links come back to you. If you get some interesting ones, please stop back and leave a comment — we all would like to know if this works!

Questions, comments, concerns? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail. Good luck and have fun peeking in on the conversations about your blog!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Care October 6, 2009, 7:13 am

    I keep getting notices of my blog being referenced, but when I get to the blog/post, I can’t find any links. I’m really wondering what is going on. AND, I never get noticed when YOU link to me and I know you have with BBAW. it’s all very odd. I’ll take a look at this article and see if I can figure more out. You may notice that I had trouble with Jackie’s sugs and still don’t know why.

    • Kim October 6, 2009, 3:50 pm

      I’ve had that happen too, and I think what it might be is that it’s getting linked to in one of those widgets that updates a blogroll with recent posts.

      But it’s weird you didn’t get a notices when I did it because I linked a couple of times… I wish I knew more about it so I could try to help!

  • Trish October 8, 2009, 12:14 pm

    I feel incredibly dense, but I can’t seem to figure out how to subscribe to the Google Blog Search for my blog. When I try to plug it into Google Reader, I get a list of “feeds matching…” with a bunch of individual posts/blogs to subscribe to. If I try to do from the Google Search screen (hitting the RSS button), it takes me to the feed but the subscription button defaults to Microsoft Feeds–won’t let me choose my preferred reader.

    Um, so what am I doing wrong? I use Google Alerts but it misses a lot OR sends me alerts when someone has blogs listed on their sidebar that update like a reader (which is really annoying). 🙂 Thanks Kim!

    • Kim October 11, 2009, 11:10 am

      Hmm… are you talking about the suggestion from Jackie or the one from the Problogger article? For Jackie’s, I just followed her directions so I’m not sure I can help troubleshoot that one.

      If it’s for the Problogger one, I just went to http://blogsearch.google.com/ and put in “sophisticated dorkiness” which gave me a list. There’s an RSS link on the left sidebar that I subscribed to. I didn’t get any results for the same search via Google News (http://news.google.com) so I don’t have that one.

  • Jackie (Farm Lane Books) October 9, 2009, 8:02 am

    Thank you so much for the mentions!

    I think that all bloggers should create a vanity folder, as although I haven’t done all the things suggested in that article yet, I have found the ones I have done very useful. It is always nice to know when others are linking to you and to be able to join in the discussion/thank the blogger.

    Good luck everyone!

    • Kim October 11, 2009, 11:10 am

      I just got most of the feeds into mine and it’s been helpful so far. Some of it’s repeats and some doesn’t seem relevant, but mostly it’s nice to see reviews linked so I can link back.

  • Monica (aka monnibo) October 14, 2009, 8:32 pm

    I’ve set up a GoogleAlert for my blog title, nickname, and URL. I’d suggest that over a “vanity” folder. … simply because I like to have things more organized and “vanity” isn’t a term I’ll remember.

    • Kim October 15, 2009, 6:41 pm

      Monica: GoogleAlerts are awesome, I have a few of those for some random things. Just depends what works for any given person, I think.