Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tip #7: BuzzBoost your blog, use the Blog Post Footer Luke

One of the comments found on blogs about blogging is that it might be a good idea to showcase some of your content at the end of a post, especially on individual post pages. The idea is that you want the reader to stay on your blog and discover more of your stories. This is particularly useful when a reader arrives to an individual post-page of your blog instead of the front page, and they may not be familiar with your blog. Having a few pointers at the end of the post may help the reader become more familiar with your stuff.

There are many ways to do this. You can create a list of links and put it in the footer using HTML. For example, the best of blog. You can also use scripts to find revelant posts, especially if you are on a blogging platform that is plug-in friendly. You can also put RSS feeds there, or use one of the RSS-to-Javascript services to post it right there.

But what caught my attention as an attention grabbing way to do this is using the BuzzBooster feature of Feedburner. For the purposes of this post I am assuming you are familiar with Feedburner. If not, please google it out, and pick it up from this sentence onwards :)

What's the benefit?
BuzzBoost allows you to present your feed as HTML. You can use this to promote your recent posts on your own blog or on some of our other blogs or even on some of your friends and partners blogs. BuzzBoost allows you a lot of flexibility. You can publish it as a list of posts, or a list of posts with a few words from each post, or even display the full feed. You can also add a link for people to subscribe to your feed which is always nice. You can also choose how many of your latest posts to feature, as few as 1 and as many as all. "All" being either "all" or the maximum your blog allows you to publish in a feed (eg Blogger has a limit of 25 but there is a workaround if you use "max-results=...").

Activating and Configuring BuzzBoost
To get to BuzzBoost, logon to your Feedburner account, then click on "Publicize" and then look in the left column for BuzzBoost. Click on that and you will find yourself on the BuzzBoost configuration page. By default this service is inactive, so you have to configure it and activate it. There are a number of customizations you can make as per that page. Don't be afraid to try them out and see how they look on your blog.

There is one downside however, the code is generated as a script whose configuration is stored on Feedburner, not the script/HTML on your blog. So can only you have one configuration per feed. This limitation is a bit disappointing because you could have created different types of BuzzBoosts depending on where your Feed-to-HTML is appearing.

Possible Configurations and Uses for your BuzzBoost

  • Promote your recent posts in a column of your own blog by only displaying a list of post titles
  • Promote your blog on one of your other blogs, or a friend's blog by displaying a list of titles and a few words per post.
  • Promote your feed at the end of your individual-page post. Here you can publish the entire feed since the page is much likely to be shorter compared to your columns. This has great potential. The reader has just finished reading or skimming the article and they are paging or scrolling down. If all they see is blank space in the middle of the page they may disappear. But if you post your latest posts, nicely done BuzzBoost style, the reader may start exploring more of your blog. You may gain a new regular reader with this! I know it may sound counterintuitive at first, but try it out and see how it looks both to your and to your readers!

    Please note that in some blogs such as Blogger there is a difference between the blog footer and the blog post footer.

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