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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Trackback Widget for New Blogger - Ok Its a Mashup.

Look, New Blogger

It's a trackback widget!  It's a trackback mashup!  It's a trackback hack

No, it's Super New Blogger Trackback Widget Mashup Hack!

Well, guess what?  I really don't know the nitty-gritty difference between the three terms because I'm a "marketer/blogger" not a "blogger/marketer."  But what I DO know is that the target new blogger users who are avidly seeking a trackback solution to their new blogger templates probably don't know which it's called either.  But they still need the darn information and they're going to search for it by one of those three terms so now maybe you are beginning see the wisdom of my selective ignorance.

So let's get right to it.

Death to Haloscan!

In my previous post "Death to Haloscan!", I wrote about how the once thriving comment form and trackback solution for handicapped or lackluster blogs could be found following in the footsteps of the ancient Babylonians.  Individuals' help requests have gone unanswered in the forums for what seems like months.  But everything still works... IF you don't have any special requirements.  And most people don't.

I had been searching far and wide for my own TRACKBACK ONLY widget, hack or mashup for NEW BLOGGER to no avail.  Haloscan's auto installation for new blogger blogs included their commenting system which was not an option for me.  Why?  Because the Haloscan comment system bypasses the Blogger comment system.  Thus, two things occur:

  1. All previous comments made on your blogger blog are no longer accessible to you or your visitors; and
  2. Your blog becomes vulnerable to spammers who still know how to find and post to your blogger comment system.

Yes, last I heard, the blogger comment system, while invisible to you and visitors, is still accessible to those who know how to find it.  How can you delete spam comments about whose existence you aren't even aware?  But the trackback management gives great control and works just fine!

The GreaseMonkey-Firefox "Solution" for New Blogger Trackback Only

The closest I had come in my search for the elusive trackback widget for new blogger was in Andy Beard's, "GreaseMonkey & Firefox - How To Send a Trackback With Blogger (Part 2)" but even he had reservations about the GreaseMonkey - Firefox combo,

"Good But No Banana… yet! It isn't a perfect solution as is, because it is using the blog name for the link URL on the receiving end, rather than the blog post title.  It should be possible to hack the Greasemonkey script to use your post title, so that it uses the post title for links on the receiving end."

(Newbie translation:  It means the search engine optimization benefit of using that trackback method would not be as great as any trackback method that uses your post TITLE in the trackback link.  Post titles usually have juicy keywords in them that search engines love plus a post title also helps draw in prospective readers.)

Andy's blog refers to Singpolyma's, "For New Blogger - Blogger del.icio.us categorising, pinging, and trackback helper" and for some it might be just fine.  But for those not technically inclined, I don't recommend the GreaseMonkey - Firefox new blogger trackback combo.

My New Blogger Trackback Only Solution

It was so simple...so simple, indeed, that I'm actually doubting myself.  I mean, it appears to work just fine but why have I not found this simple Haloscan code hack (read COPY/PASTE) anywhere else on the web?  I'm a pretty avid searcher and it never crossed my radar.  Have the uber-bloggers with the most publicity (read: SEO and Social Bookmarking wisdom) become so technically inclined, and so accustomed to advanced blogging that the simple and obvious are, to them, no longer simple and obvious?

Or is it me?  Am I just "simply" out of my gourd?

Finally, the Instructions for Haloscan
Trackback Only for New Blogger
 

I'll explain how I arrived at this afterwards for those who relish in such details, but for those who just need the darn instruction, here goes:

DISCLAIMER:  Always backup your template before editing it.  And follow any editing instructions from ANYWHERE at your own risk.  While the following trackback hack works just fine for me and I strongly believe it will work fine for anyone using New Blogger, life is full of all kinds of unintended consequences for which none of us can be completely prepared.  Besides, it doesn't alter your template except to add a little code that you can just as easily remove if it isn't working right for you.

  • Get a Haloscan account right now (opens new window).  It's free and it will take you less time to sign up than it has to read this far.

haloscan trackback only for new blogger signup

  • In your blog DASHBOARD, open your blog template's HTML by clicking on LAYOUT then TEMPLATE then EDIT HTML

  • BACKUP your New Blogger template using the BACKUP tool above the HTML form.

  • Check the box that says, "Expand Widget Templates" to the top right of the HTML form.

Your blog template's HTML should now appear with all widgets and edits included. 

  • COPY the FOLLOWING HALOSCAN code (labeled PART 1):

  • PASTE the HALOSCAN PART 1 CODE somewhere right after the following tags, experimenting with placement to suit your tastes.  This will display the Haloscan trackback link after the BODY of your posts. 

<div class='post-body'>
<p><data:post.body/>

  • REPLACE ALL INSTANCES OF YOURHALOSCANUSERNAME WITH YOUR ACTUAL HALOSCAN USERNAME!

  • COPY the FOLLOWING HALOSCAN CODE (labeled PART 2):

  • PASTE the HALOSCAN PART 1 CODE somewhere right after the following tags, experimenting with placement to suit your tastes.  This will display the Haloscan trackback link after the COMMENT SECTION of your posts.

<p class='comment-footer'>
<a expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl' expr:onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick'><data:postCommentMsg/></a>

  • AGAIN, REPLACE ALL INSTANCES OF YOURHALOSCANUSERNAME WITH YOUR ACTUAL HALOSCAN USERNAME!

  • Save your template and go play with it.  To test it, write a short blog post around the term "new blogger trackback hack" or anything having to do with New Blogger, trackback, Haloscan and "widgets and hacks" and leave a trackback using the trackback link below.

If you found this post useful, please link here, write a post, bookmark it, or leave a trackback or a comment.  In short, get the word out.  And if you see anything that could use some modifying, then DEFINITELY leave a comment.

Post Script:  How I Did This.

Again, it was so simple I thought there was no way I could be one of the first to even think of it.  So I AM wondering why I could not find any reference to it by the superbloggers.

The way I did it was simple.  I first backed up my template and then used Haloscan's, "New Blogger Auto Installation" which simply and quickly installed both Haloscan commenting AND trackback.  Then I reviewed the finished template, isolated only the Haloscan code and removed not only code that suppressed New Blogger's comment system but also any that published Haloscan's comments and , thus was left with Haloscan's "trackback only" code in place.

Lastly, I experimented with placing it where I thought it would be most noticeable by readers and commenters and that, ladies and gentleman, is all she wrote.  It was that simple.  So why does it seem like I was the only one to do this (and report on it)?

Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

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8 comments:

Andy Beard said...

The greasemonkey trackback hack is to allow you to send trackbacks to other blogs.

From what I can see this littke code hack of your is for displaying trackbacks you receive.

For some it might be useful, though in many ways Google's existing linkbacks is better because

a) It works for anyone being indexed by Google Blogsearch
b) The links are on your blog, and with a small hack of the Google code in new blogger, you can remove the nofollow from trackbacks.
c)Haloscan trackbacks are on the haloscan server, not part of your content
d)if you ever decide to move to Wordpress, it is much harder to move with your trackbacks, as the importers are not compatible with Haloscan.

Sam Freedom said...

So let me ask you this, sincerely, do you think the non-technically inclined who aren't into all the SEO but just want to get and give some trackback traffic would be perfectly content with this?

Everything you've said makes perfect sense to those of us who have aspirations and ambitions for seeing our blogs climb steadily in popularity, etc.

But what about the fairly new guy and gal who just want a trackback "widget" for new blogger and they don't want to get their head into Greasemonkey and scripts and all the yada yada...

I wonder if all new blogger users are intending to make a living from blogging or to ever migrate to another blog platform. What do you think? But for those who are, what you said is good to know. Thank you.

SEO said...

Excellent post.Truly impressed with the knowledge you are posting here.Thanks!!

emo hair said...

So let me ask you this, sincerely, do you think the non-technically inclined who aren't into all the SEO but just want to get and give some trackback traffic would be perfectly content with this?
emo hair

Employee Monitoring Software said...

Great post, very detailed, and I like the fact that you incorporated so much technical information about the hacking of the codes and all these plugins we could use for trackbacks. I also wanted to mention that I appreciate Andy Beard's comment as well, he gave an insightful addition to the topic at hand, and it can be useful to know it is difficult to transport this data if we change blogging platforms.
Thank you and best wishes,
Leonard

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