Monday, 30 April 2007

Adding trackback to a blogspot blog

Until I started blogging, I didn't realise that you could add lots of bells and whistles (aka 'widgets') to your blog that do everything from analyse hits from visitors to allow people to instant message the blogger.

I prefer to keep things simple. However, there is one feature I decided I needed to add to my Blogger blog: trackback. When I refer to someone else's blog post I'd like them to know about it, without me having to post a comment on their blog saying so. Similarly, if others are referencing my post, I'd like to know about it. Trackbacks are the glue that allow readers to follow a topic among multiple blogs. They typically appear as comments on a blog post containing a link to the referencing blog post, as well as an excerpt from the text.

Blogger blogs don't provide this feature, although they do have a related feature which in some ways is more powerful. Since Blogger is owned by Google, it is able to identify any websites that contain a link to a particular blog post and list them under "Links to this post". However, it's not clear whether the link is from a blog, nor is there any summary text included. Trackbacks are active acknowledgements by one blog of its link to another; the Google backlinks are passively harvested from the web.

Outgoing trackbacks can be enabled using the Greasemonkey script by Stephen Weber. When you are creating the blog post, there is a box for entering trackback URLs (typically found at the end of a blog post). To enable incoming trackbacks is slightly more difficult, as it requires the help of a third-party site HaloScan to manage the trackbacks. First you need to create an account. Then you need to manually edit your blog template as described on the HaloScan Forum (your mileage may vary). This adds trackback URLs to the end of your own blog posts allowing others to reference your posts.

Can anyone suggest any other 'essential' blog widgets?

14 comments:

Ψ*Ψ said...

I'd kill for a comments RSS or at least "email notification of follow-up comments."

baoilleach said...

I'll Google it up, but there is an workaround. I use a comment tracking service at http://co.mments.com which gives me a single RSS feed for all of the comments I'm tracking. To track comments on a particular blog entry, all I need to do is click on a button (technically, a bookmarklet) on my toolbar. This works for every blog (not just Blogger blogs) I've ever tried.

baoilleach said...

Actually, I've just checked it up, and it's actually already there in the new Blogger, you just have to enable it. (Which you should be able to see I've just done)

Go to Settings/Site Feed/Advanced Mode and Change every feed to "Full" and click Save. Ay wolla.

Ψ*Ψ said...

Well, I tried the option through Blogger, but then when I tried to find the feed it wasn't there. Excimer and I already have comments emailed to us, but maybe it would be more convenient for readers.

Minter said...

thanks for the haloscan tips. it's worked for me. as for the rest of your blog, I am clearly not able to follow! cheers from Paris.

"Patrick Bateman" said...

I have to say I am a bit clueless and new to the game, but I am starting to understand why trackbacks are important to blogging and driving traffic. I will try the haloscan thing on my blog and see if it works and I can figure it out... thanks for your explanation! Check out my fledging blog if you are interested: www.onemillionbucks.net

The Fat Runner said...

Shame that haloscan seems to have been swallowed up by an outfit called js-kit, who are not offering trackbacks for new users, only people with an existing haloscan account...

Abhigyan said...

It really sucks that HaloScan was taken over by js-kit. Are there any other systems like HaloScan that I can enable to make use of trackbacks on my blog?

Anonymous said...

I am a newbie to blogging(!) so please forgive me if I'm off on the wrong track. I would like to add trackback capability to my blog posts - not just comments (there is something similar to Comment Luv) for that. From my understanding, trackbacks and backlinks are not quite the same. What I would like are trackbacks to my posts as I said and I think by enabling the site feed is not quite the same. I have been looking at the Greasemonkey site and it appears that that might be what I need but it also appears that the new version has some issues. Can you shed any light on this for me?

Thanks in advance.

baoilleach said...

To be honest, your options really depend on your blogging platform. For instance, if you run blogging software yourself on your own server, there's all sorts of things you can do. If you're using Blogger, then you don't really have a lot of options. It all seemed very important to me when I started blogging, but then I stopped caring and got on with it.

toto said...

just to add a piece of news. Haloscan is now closed and the Greasemonkey script doesn't work anymore with new Blogger.

So actually it looks like it is impossible to use trackback features with blogger. Too bad!

Aryan said...

It didn't work for me.

Mike T. said...

I post this comment with the option of Name/URL. This function is not similar with a Trackback, if the URL landing page is my new post about Noel blog?

Jack Sarlo said...

thanks gr8 was looking for this info...