Saturday, July 07, 2007

Adding a New Feature

As of this writing, I am using Blogger as my tool of choice for creating and maintaining this blog. I am more than satisfied with it's features and I've been quite pleased with how much more stable the whole system has become. Of course, there is always room for improvement. On thing that I would dearly love to see is an incorporated "trackback" feature. I have that feature through a third-party tool, but, unless you are either a techno-nerd like I am or have access to one in the family, it's pretty unlikely that you will have trackback if you use Blogger.

What? You don't know what "trackback" is?

OK, let me back up.

You know how at the bottom of many blogs there is a link to "Add a Comment" or something similar? This allows the reader to take part in the creation of the blog as an online community. I do get the occasional comment on my posts. Most are quite polite and actually contribute to the discourse.

Trackback is very similar, except that instead of making comments on the blog site, the reader uses her own blog to make the comments and then sends a link to the original blog for inclusion in the "trackbacks" section. If you check out Seth Godin's blog, you'll see what I mean. In fact, this is the only way he accepts comments.

Why would either party do this?

In a phrase, it spreads the word. Both authors gain by pooling their audiences. My readers, who might not have heard about Seth Godin, might check out his blog (and eventually his books) and become new fans. I benefit by temporarily getting a greater readership, some of whom might stick around for a while.

All in all, it's pretty much a win-win all 'round.

Now we just have to get Blogger to recognize that trackback is the way to go. They have a similar feature, called "backlinks", but, as far as I know, it only works with other Blogger blogs (not WordPress, TypePad, MoveableType, etc) and, in a quick browsing of other Blogger sites, I couldn't find anyone who had enabled it.

If you are a blogger and you are interested in the trackback feature, please feel free to drop me a line. I can tell you where to download the free software which allows you to use trackbacks with your Blogger blogs.

Quick note: I just added a new category section over to the right, immediately above the "Archives" section. It will probably take me a while to categorize all of my posts, but I've gotten about half of them done. Try it out and let me know what you think.

So, how do you draw readers into your blog?

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