Feed the Beast

Blogging Tips from Rex BrownOne of the best ways to increase traffic to your website or blog is to promote it through social media. It increases the number of inbound links to your site, allows you to reach a different audience or connect with your usual clientele at a different level. And best of all it’s free!

I detect grumbling coming from the back row.

What’s that? You say you don’t have the time to post links on Twitter or Facebook or LinkdIn every time you update your site. Well then, dear reader, you’re in luck. Because I’m going to tell you how make that happen automagically.

You may not realize it, but if you have a blog you have an RSS feed. It’s a standard feature for most any blogging platform or web content management system. If you use Word Press the typical location is simply /feed, as in www.maduko.com/feed. Now it’s not much to look at, depending on what browser you’re using it might be dang ugly. Chrome displays the raw XML, and anything that goes by the name XML obviously isn’t trying to be sexy.

But the great thing about these acronyms is you don’t really need to know what all that gobbledeegook means to put it good use. If you are so inclined you ca learn more about RSS at www.whatisrss.com. Or not.

RSS feeds are created using XML.

All you really need to know is:

  1. Your RSS feed’s link or address
  2. Twitterfeed (as in twitterfeed.com)
The first one is the hard part. Your RSS feed address will vary depending on how you maintain your website. Here’s an article by Athlyn Green about locating RSS address on Blogger. If all else fails grit your teeth and do this:
  • Go to the front page of your blog or website.
  • Right-click an empty area of the page.
  • Click on “View Source.”
    If you don’t see that you may have right-clicked over an image. Try again and make sure your mouse is over text or an empty part of the page.
  • From the window showing the source press CTRL+F (F as in Find).
  • Search for this: RSS+XML
    And yes, that’s a plus sign in the middle.
  • Hopefully you will find something similar to this:
    <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Maduko World Headquarters RSS Feed" href="http://www.maduko.com/feed/" />
  • The part we want comes after the HREF= bit. As you can see, my blog is built using Word Press so it has the standard /feed thingy. My RSS feed’s URL is http://www.maduko.com/feed
  • Whew.
The second step is easy. Go to twitterfeed.com  and create an account. It’s easy, free and in a few minutes you’ll be able to connect your blog or favorite newsfeed to your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Here’s a example- this helpful video is from Katie Freiling and shows how to set up Twitterfeed to automatically tweet your blog posts:

The process is the same for any RSS feed, or targeting it to Facebook or LinkedIn. Once you’re finished your blog updates will be posted automatically to whichever service you chose.

I do not own stock in Twitterfeed.
There are other services out there that can accomplish the same results. RSS Graffiti is a Facebook app and Hootsuite is also popular.  I have found Twitterfeed to be reliable, simple to use and robust enough to offer features most people will need. YMMV.


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