Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 7

11 Sep 2007

Continued from the previous quintet of installments: a look at Rajesh Setty's Blogging Starter Checklist, with a particular eye toward applying its advice to blogging on a Drupal site.

http://www.squidoo.com/blogstarter

This time, a change of pace: I'll look back at all the past Checklist suggestions I undertook, implemented, or otherwise subjected myself to, and report on results.

Yes, results! That's what makes the world go round. Results put the spin in the globe, the worm in the tequila, the... uh... the drupe in Drupal...

Ahh, I don't even know what I'm saying. Let me start with this:

Does any of this work for you? Tell me!

First, a shameless request. Installments in this series on blogging have turned in a split verdict on visitor reads: half have nearly or well over 400 reads, while the other half sputter at just over 100 reads. Yet I don't think any are uninformative. You may think otherwise, of course; I have to expect that some initial visitors were intrigued by the topic, but said "ho-hum" to my posts and trundled off.

Please let me ask the following, Good Reader:

1) Is this series boring or not of much use? If so, please say so – and suggest improvements, if you have an idea – in the comments.

2) Is this series interesting or useful? If so, please tell others, via a blog of your own, via the "Email this page" link at bottom, or by whatever means work for you. I have a few more installments queued up in this series, and can start any number of new series on blogging (or web dev in general) using Drupal, but will only move ahead if I'm sure someone's interested!

Links for the series so far are:

Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part I

Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 2

Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 3

Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 4

Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 5

Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 6

I hope the low readership numbers for some of the installments are just a fluke. Your (brutally frank) comments, and/or your efforts to let people know of the series if you think it's of interest, will be a big help in determining whether and how to continue.

Checking the Checklist: what's worked and what hasn't

On to the main event. Of the many Blogging Starter Checklist suggestions I've taken up in this series, here are those with some follow-up of note:

From Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part I

1. Enable search on your blog

Naturally, I've had search from the start – and since that post, even found a fix for my broken Google web search. See
Fixed: Google web search block. (And go ahead and try a Google web search using the upper right block. Go ahead, I dare you.)

2. Link to your profile

Haven't heard from anyone who's used the Contact Link and Nodeauthor information modules.

From Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 2

1. Get a creative commons license for your blog content

Yep, I've been placing those on all my new content. Actually, there's an annoyance involved with that: the Creative Commons Lite module requires that I choose a license for all newly-created content! I don't care for that at all; why can't I leave a particular piece of content with no license if I desire? Other than that point, I'm happy with what the module does.

2. Get a feedburner account and direct feeds through feedburner

Update on this: Okay, I can now go to the FeedBurner web site and see how many RSS subscribers there are to this site...

Ooh, that's not pretty. Lots of work to do.

Is there any other purpose to this FeedBurner? Anyone?

4. Claim your blog on technorati

In the post, all I claimed was ignorance of what Technorati is and what it's supposed to do.

I can now go to Technorati, search for Drupalace.com, and see that I have an Authority of 4 (is that good? I doubt it!), and a Rank of 1,372,336 (hmm, no doubt about whether that's good!).

But now what? What does Technorati do for me as a blogger? Ah, services without instructions! Love 'em!

Any words from the Technorati cognoscenti would be appreciated.

From Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 4

11. Claim your blog at Feedster

Everything worked as promised, but I'm removing the Feedster block I had set up at left. No particular need here for another news feed.

12. Register your blog at Findory

About six weeks after submitting my RSS feed to Findory, a search for Drupalace does turn up my posts, but only if I search under the "Web" tab (and not "News" or "Blogs"). Meh.

14. Register in the TTLB ecosystem

I never did submit my site at TTLB, not readily seeing any way to do so. As follow-up, I'll only note that I did receive an email from the site, telling users that the site is alive and making improvements.

15. Register at Blogarama

A couple weeks after submitting my site, Blogarama emailed to say they'd added Drupalace.com to the directory. Great! But as I mused in the post, will that actually bring people? A search on Blogarama for "Drupal" reveals Drupalace among a few other sites (though oddly, a search for "Drupalace" turns up nothing).

From Drupal and the Blogging Starter Checklist, Part 5

17. Enable MyBlogLog click tracking

MyBlogLog quickly switched me from Pro to the free version after three days. I'm keeping the widget up while I learn more about what good it does.

18. Publish your conversations from other blogs to your blog via CoComment

In response to my report of problems, I received a post comment from a member of the CoComment team. They say they've fixed bugs, so if you've got an interest in the service, give it another look.

19. Leverage the power of HitTail to get more traffic

Now here's one that really interests me, especially after receiving a comment to the post from a member of the HitTail team. So I went and signed up for the free version.

I didn't find the sign-up process particularly smooth, especially as I found myself being asked for payment information when I only wanted to first test-drive the free service. Closing the page on the payment info request seemed to leave me registered for the free service. So that worked, if in some unclear way.

My bigger problem is this: I can't get the service to work. I placed the supplied code into this site, yet any attempt to look at my Search Hits only gets me the message "There are no New Search Hits", along with the suggestion that perhaps I don't have code enabled in every page. Yet I've confirmed that the code is in my pages, exactly as HitTail supplied it. (You can confirm the existence of the code yourself: pick any page on this site, view the source code, and do a search for "HitTail" within the source code.)

I've followed the other troubleshooting hints, such as making sure I supplied the correct domain name. (Then there's this suggestion: "Close all browsers, open a new browser window and search on mysite.com." What does that mean? "Search on mysite.com"? Is that a very broken way of saying "Go to Google and perform a search for your own domain name"?)

Until I get this working, I have no report on HitTail. : (

Next time

Those are the past items for which I have some follow-up comments. Next time, it's on to more blogging tips, and any Drupally connections to them.

Comments

Mike Levin of Hitail's picture

You just needed the "www" before the domain name. Anyway, it should be collecting the data now--and probably will even retroactively display what has been collected. Consider it an open line to us: hittail at connors dot com!

drupalace's picture

Thanks for the quick input; I see the HitTail folks are really attentive to what's being said out there!

Actually, I did have www. before my domain (er, unless it's there because you added it for me?). And I found the real problem:

I had registered two sites with HitTail, which is fine, though I've so far only added the HitTail code to Drupalace. What HitTail was showing me by default was results for the other, code-less site.

I had stared at HitTail for about three days, and never noticed the domain selector. In fact, I still don't see it in Firefox; it's AWOL. I only spotted it by chance when I tried the site in Safari.

I'm sure you've tried your service on Firefox, and so I suspect the Firefox glitch is on my side. But even in Safari, it took time to spot that domain selector; it's in the oddest place, the upper right corner, not down with the statistics for the domain. I suggest moving the domain selector down to the statistics area, where it'll be clearly visible to puzzled people like me, and will also act as an appropriate  header for the data being displayed.

Anyway, I do indeed see the start of some search data coming in for Drupalace. No actual Suggestions yet, but I suspect HitTail needs to gather some more incoming searches to chew on first. No problem; I'll be keeping an eye on it and reporting on the fun stuff it turns up.

Thanks again! 

Leonid's picture

It will be great if you could publish instructions on adding HitTail to your Drupal site. From what I have seen, HitTail had instructions/plugins for some blogging systems (e.g. WordPress).

lessca's picture

Hi
Alls well and I enjoy using Drupal. How on earth do I get the Mybloglog validation code into my web file between the tags. I have searched everywhere, as usual it will be a simple fix. Any ideas.

thanks

les

just4families.com

drupalace's picture

Les,

Hello! Re MyBlogLog, I don't recall that I needed any validation code. I believe I only created a block containing the Recent Readers widget code supplied at the MyBlogLog site. I assume that'd be the same procedure for the Top Links code as well.

It looks like the Stats Tracking Script, however, would work differently; is that what you refer to? If so, I'd think it's the kind of thing ideally suited for a module, which would automatically place that script code into every page, between the Body tags. But in the absence of such a module, I think I have a cheat, which I haven't used on this site, but have used for similar purposes on other sites:

Hide the code in the page's Footer ( admin/settings/site-information ). Disable any rich text editor for that field, as you're inputting code, and paste in the script code (by itself or after any existing footer HTML code).

I think that's a nice way to sneak such code into every page, without a dedicated field for the code. Does that work for you? (And does any reader know of a better way?)

Bob Kepford's picture

Hey, just wanted to drop a line here about the new Hittail module for Drupal and that the service has a new owner and design. Been using it for about a month and it's been very helpful. 

drupalace's picture

Thanks for the notice re the Hittail module. That's useful to know.

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