Five Incredibly Useful Blogger Tools for Young Blogs
Coming up on the end of my fourth month of blogging, this site has definitely faced some growing pains as the word got out. Here’s five incredibly useful blogger tools that have helped this site stay on course.
As your blog grows, there will inevitably be issues appropriate to the size of readership that you have attained. The tools I’m describing here may not be appropriate for a blog with a huge readership or with a business focus, but they’re absolutely perfect for recreational blogs who have gotten enough regular readers that the online malcontents have taken notice and enough social media connections that the crappy Twitter and Facebook web interfaces just don’t suffice for maintenance.
In other words, if you’re just starting you don’t need these yet and if you’re trying to be a problogger, you’re probably going to need more tools or at least the paid versions of these. I use only the free versions for schemabyte.com, at this point.
Blogger Tool #1: Feedburner
It’s been a while since I checked the SB feed managed by Feedburner, which went live on November 12, 2012, so I was just pleasantly surprised. Measured for today, it shows 82 RSS subscribers (who can get the SB content via their RSS reader of choice) and 32 mail subscribers (who get next-day notification of new SB articles). Thank you so much, dear readers!
Feedburner has made it completely transparent for me in terms of my daily blogging, while providing a menu of RSS configuration options for my readers alongside an email subscription option to make it easy for them. And then I just log into my Google account and check out the action to feel all puffy and proud that so many people have interest in what this part-time, bearded weirdo’s got to spit. Thank you for the set-it-and-forget-it free syndication services, Google!
Blogger Tool #2: Captcha for Blog Spammers
Somewhere around 2.5 months in, the spammers locked onto this site and began manually and automatically submitting comment after comment after comment. While I did get a few chuckles out of some of the more ingenious efforts (and apologies to any legitimate commenters who were unable to spell that I didn’t approve, thinking they were spammers), it kept growing and growing. About three weeks ago, I’d log in and have to clean up 150 spam comments daily… that may not sound like a lot, but that’s a good half hour or more when it’s intermingled with a lot of legitimate comments that I’d also respond to.
I tried a standard CAPTCHA WordPress plugin that made use of skewed images, but it didn’t help much. I still got nearly 100 spam comments a day; it was a good drop but not nearly enough. So I changed courses and used the CAPTCHA plugin named Captcha that posed a simple math problem.
Bam. Down to under 10 spam comments a day. That’s how it’s done, thank you BestWebSoft.
Blogger Tool #3: Tweepi for Twitter Spammers
As a long time tweeter (or, as I like to call myself, twitterhead), I consider it par for the course that when I follow someone, they will follow me back. I also consider it bad form when spammers follow me, then I courteously follow them back, then they unfollow me after a week. I’m not saying that once you follow me, you have to do it forever- but some business-oriented people consider massive following surges to be “good social media strategy”.
Gross. That’s just common spamming, and not in the sense held by the silly extremism of Reddit (which holds that any self-promotion is close enough to spam to be “thin ice”) either. If your marketing strategy works regardless of the product it’s advertising, you’re a spammer – at least, that’s how I call it.
Anyway and rant aside, Tweepi signup takes just a second, and in less than five minutes you can figure out who’s followed you that you haven’t followed back and who you’re following that isn’t following you back. No long-winded Twitter scrolling sessions or click-throughs into accounts to see if they’re following you. Thank you, Thoughtpick! That was indeed bad-ass.
Blogger Tool #4: Hootsuite for Scheduling Social Media
I’m a busy guy, I can’t just be hopping onto my social media accounts all day long. When I first started this blog, I was just sending out social media things related to the SB posts. That didn’t really fit into my mission though, which is to share all the research and reading I do with anyone who might be interested, and also didn’t really enable me to send out reminders about my own content with any regularity.
So I introduced my (nearly always) daily Around the Web section featured on the home page to share all those interesting articles I read each day, and at morning and sometimes in the evening would just broadcast those I enjoyed as I read them. That’s pretty damn early though, and most of my readers weren’t around – and by the time they were around, all that goodness was washed away in the social media rivers.
Then I plugged my Twitter account to syndicate to my Facebook page and plugged in Hootsuite to send to my Twitter account. Now, when I sit down in the mornings and build out the Around the Web list for the day, I also schedule out the tweets via Hootsuite to cover the spectrum of the day (and coming days, if there’s a lot of good articles). Now I can provide goodness to my East and West Coast brothers and sisters!
My Twitter and Facebook friends and I both agree, you help us connect around those pesky time zones. Thank you Hootsuite!
Blogger Tool #5: TYNT for Copy & Pasters
I had a rough day in my consulting business fairly recently, and at the end of day came to relax into my blog. As I began reviewing the news articles for the day, I discovered that one of my more popular posts had been syndicated without attribution in a number of other websites. While I love it when people share my content, I’m not such a fan when they pretend they wrote it – and that distaste combined with the rough day I was rolling off of led me to ask my BlogCatalog friends how they felt about such things. As always, they were quite helpful.
Obviously, and as I realized once I slept off the rough one, unless you want to spend your days chasing down copyright violators there’s not much you can do. I slapped a notice onto the site, resolved to have my links back to the site in future posts, and verified that my RSS feed was only syndicating partial blog posts to make it a bit more difficult for the scrapers.
Then, today when I logged back into BlogCatalog, I discovered a recommendation from one of my fellow bloggers, PBScott, to use TYNT, a service that injects copy & paste off your site with your link. This isn’t a cure-all by any means, but perhaps the copying and resyndication of entire posts without attribution was just a novice webbie doing his or her thing without knowledge of netiquette. If that’s the case, then I expect TYNT will definitely help straighten that out.
It’s of course too early to see if the whole plagiarism thing is sorted, but I’m not going to stress on that too much. Either way, I expect that, as TYNT advertises in their video, their functionality will help spread the word about schemabyte.com – and for that, thank you 33Across!
Hey man, c’mon, hook me up.
You got good blogger tools? Pass ‘em to me casually in the comments, but don’t look at me while you do it.
and you must link back if you use it elsewhere.