Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 4

27 Jul 2007

Continued from last time: a look at Rajesh Setty's Blogging Starter Checklist, with a particular eye toward applying its advice to blogging on a Drupal site. (I'm only copying the item headers from that list; head over there to follow along, and to see Rajesh's comments that you'd otherwise miss.)

In this episode: Another handful of list items turned over, examined, and either discarded or stealthily pocketed. This time it looks to be a service-o-rama: a big heap of yet more services to aid the blogger.

On to the goods, starting with item #11 of the Checklist sub-list below!

Registries and Directories

11. Claim your blog at Feedster

Feedster? Let's see... FeedBurner, FeedValidator, FeedButtons... and now Feedster:

http://www.feedster.com/

Looks an RSS aggregator: a FeedWidget to display updated blog and other links on your site, created from your search keyword(s). Easy and quick enough to use, despite the indifferently opaque interface. Don't look all day for the "create an account" functionality up front; Feedster secretly keeps account login or creation hidden until the end of the "FeedWidget" creation. So jump in via the "1 Search" button, and you'll get to create an account at the end.

Using "Drupal" as a search term, within a minute I had code in hand for use in creating a FeedWidget. Back to Drupal, create a block, paste in the FeedWidget code (don't forget to use unfiltered HTML as your input format when pasting HTML code!), and there's my creation for the world to see: the greenRSS widget you'll see at the bottom of my left sidebar. As of this writing, that is. Should I keep it? I dunno; how Feedster picks the posts to appear is a black box, so I'll have to watch and see how meaningful the content is that appears.

By way of contrast, see my RSS aggregation feed at right. Less "widgety", but it's made with Drupal modules alone. (And, er, how did I make that? Via node/add/aggregation-item ? I forget... )

For what it's worth, I see no Feedster-related modules available. My verdict: It's nice if you want to bring in some feeds, though we already have Drupal ways to do that. And either way, my creating and hosting the widget doesn't – unless I'm missing something – do anything to promote me. : )

Anyone else have thoughts on Feedster?

12. Register your blog at Findory

Okay, register at Feedory... oh, sorry, that's Findory.

http://www.findory.com/

"Read. Learn. Personalize!"

Web 2.0 peeve: When you've got some new site/service to prioritatively aggregate my user-space social feed-peer widget-tracking streamcasts, or whatever it is you do, please spell it out. All journalist-like: who, what, where, etc. – especially, what does it do and why would I want it. "Read. Learn. Personalize!" Whoosh, that goes right by me. I sit glassy-eyed.

Rousing myself to semi-action, I find an "About Findory" link way at the bottom, where I see: "Our personalization technology builds a home page for each reader, recommending content based on what each person has read and what new content is published."

Okay, sort of a Google News-type service, drawing upon RSS feeds. Assuming that Findory has users, registering my blog there theoretically will help some find it. Good enough.

There's an "Add a blog" link way at bottom ("You'll never hide from Drupalace, functional links!") I add http://www.drupalace.com/node/feed , and the rest is easy from there. Findory says they'll check me out and if I'm legit ("If?" Pah!), they'll add me to Findory feeds "within two weeks".

All righty. So, it seems that Findory is a human-selected set of blog feeds, for users who find that a good way to (presumably) locate more targeted, quality posts. If that works for you, add your blog and/or find your news at Findory.

No mention of Findory on the Drupal module list or other Drupaltine connection. So: Next!

13. Register at Blogwise

Wasn't that Frodo's slacker buddy? No, it's a blog directory – but http://www.blogwise.com appears defunct. No Blogwise mention in the Drupal modules list.

All together now: Next!

14. Register in the TTLB ecosystem

That's "The Truth Laid Bear". (I was all set to make fun of Rajesh's spelling, but I'll be darned, it's "Bear".)

http://truthlaidbear.com/

Another blog directory. I'll make an account – anything for my readers. Apparently, I need an account to add a blog to the "ecosystem" – but having done so, I see no way to add a blog. I do see a confusing bunch of links, and error messages stemming from some.

If you've found this useful, please write in. Otherwise: No special Drupal connection, nothing to see here. Next!

15. Register at Blogarama

It's a simple-looking page, and gets points for a clear byline, "The Blog Directory". Good, no "what's this?" questions.

http://www.blogarama.com/

The "Add Yours Now!" link is visible enough. A little input later, I'm "subject to approval", but apparently I need to place a link back to Blogarama to get good placement in the directory. Hmm. I think I'll tack the link to the bottom of my Feedster block; just slap this stuff together whether they like it or not.

In any case: no special Drupal connection.

(Several minutes later: Nope, I don't yet show up in a Blogarama search for "Drupal". Is this another two-week-wait deal? Dang it, this is the 'Net generation; my attention span is measured in seconds!)

Useful?

The kicker with these blog directories and the like: Would I even know if registering for these brings me traffic? Other than by polling users, I don't see a way to track the effectiveness of services like Blogarama and Feedster. But if you think they might bring users, have at 'em and report back on what you find.

Next time

Still a lot more to cover!

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