Friday, June 22, 2007

Well Kept Secret On Adding Google Sitemaps To Blogger

Ok, I am convinced. I should put a sitemap on my blogger site. But, what steps do I take to add a sitemap?

First, I better define a sitemap. It is simply a map of your website and lists of all your sections and pages. A sitemap speeds up the indexing of your pages in Google and can help viewers find their way around your site. There are three basic types of sitemaps. So, what kind of sitemap should I use? It depends what you intend to do with your sitemap. You may also use more than one kind of sitemap on your site.

First, there is the traditional HTML which is useful in utilising your Link Text. This makes it easier for human visitors to navigate the site.

Second, there is the XML Sitemap which is utilised by Google's search engine. Google's sitemaps contain URLs and indexing information. This information is read by a Spider and the information is indexed. The number of URLs in a sitemap is limited to fifty thousand. A second kind of google sitemap, the Google Sitemap Index File, indexes the sitemaps. The index file may index up to one thousand sitemaps.

Third, there is the ROR sitemap which is similar to the XML format which is used for describing any element on your website such as products, services, images, reviews, etc. It can be used for all search engines including google.

Wordpress provides blogs with a sitemap plugin. When you update your site, you do not have to worry about updating your sitemap. The plugin updates your sitemap instantly and alerts Google to the change in your site.

What if you want a Google sitemap for your blog on Blogger?

Unlike Wordpress, Blogger does not offer a way to get a sitemap. Although, Google provides a Sitemap Generator that creates sitemaps from URL lists, web server directories, or from access logs. Google only allows you to submit your blog site, but does not allow you to generate a sitemap for your Blogger account. However, there is a way to get around that.

First, log into Google Webmaster Tools with your google account. Paste the URL of your blog in the add site option. When you click on the "Ok" button, your site will be added to your account.

Second, you will need to verify your blog. With Blogger, you need to choose "Add a META tag" from the drop down menu. Code will be generated for you. Highlight the code and copy it.

Third, go to your blogger account and click on template. Paste the META tag code under the first "head" and save the template changes. Next, click on the "Republish" button.

Fourth, go to the Google webmaster tools account and go back to the "Verify site ownership" and check the"I've added the META tag in the home page of..." Then, click the "verify" button.

Now you have added your site to the sitemap account and have verified it. Next, you need to add the sitemap url. Since Google will not allow you to add a text file or anything else, you will need to add your site feed (ATOM) as a site map.

Fifth, clink on "submit a sitemap" which will take you to "add sitemap". Next select the type saying "Add General Web Sitemap"

Although, I have the newer beta version of Blogger, only atom.xml worked for me. It may be different for you.

Last, you will get a confirmation and your blog will now be indexed.

Once you set up your sitemap, it is all set until you make updates to your site. Then you will have to make updates to your sitemap. Google makes this it easy to do. Everytime you make a change, log into your Google account and click on the resubmit button.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What Is RSS Feed and Why Would You Use It?

RSS is known as "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary." It is a tool that can save updated content on your favorite website or blog. It updates material by scanning websites via an XML code that sends the information to subscribers. If you want to share your website, RSS, makes it really simple. You place your content in an RSS document. Next, you register your content with a website that provides RSS feeds or aggregator.

The content usually includes new or blog websites, but can contain other types of digital content such as pictures, video or audio files. Once the content is sent to a RSS feeder, the feeder usually will show a headline, some text or review of the content. If you want to read further, you will need to click on a link.

There are two kinds of aggregators to register your website with. One is a downloadable program for your desktop and the second kind is an online or web based site.

Typically, a desktop feeder charges for its program, but it also offers additional customization of page format and RSS feeds and other services. An example of a desktop aggregator is FeedDemon which features services such as a search channel that includes other RSS service, filtering of RSS feeds, built-in podcast receiver and etc.

An online aggregator is usually free of charge, but is more limited in providing customized service. My Yahoo and bloglines are two examples of online aggregators. My Yahoo has popularized RSS feeds to both users and advertisers with its customizable home page design and use of banner advertisements.

While My Yahoo may be well known, Blogline has many advantages to offer. It is user friendly for beginners and offers many benefits such as it's own directory of RSS website feeds, add-on tools for subscription buttons and automated blogrolls. In addition, it supports all major browsers such as Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and offers other benefits not listed here
You don't have RSS feed on your site?
You can download RSS Builder. It is a freeware program that can create a RSS feed for your web site. Then you can submit RSS feeds after you download. Or you can create own format. RSS 2.0 is by consensus, an easy and simple format to use.

Why should you send out RSS feeds?
You will increase the visibility of your site and allow viewers to easily keep up with your posts. Also, it offers your users convenience of not having to search your page. They can just go to their aggregator which will provide them with a description of your site and a link to it.

After you submit RSS feeds for awhile, you will begin to attract a wider audience and increase traffic for your site as viewers begin to book mark your website for their content source.

Why should you get RSS feeds?
You can generate additional traffic to your website by adding RSS to your site. Using RSS will bypass the regular indexing procedure and will get your content indexed quickly. Also, RSS feeds can be found and read from cell phones and PDAs.

You can update your sites with new content by patching in various websites to your blog. When the various websites are updated, it will be reflected in your blog. This is an easy way to instantly add new content to your site.

You will find that RSS is a valuable tool for either a blog or website. Since you can implement it for free, you will not lose anything for trying it out. Chances are that you may enjoy the benefits of easy access to content and increased traffic to your site.