In the first installment of this series (How Come I Have No Readers? Part 1 – Feeds) I described how to provide your readers a way to subscribe to your blog. Now that you have that all set up correctly it is time to help people find your blog.

Great, you told your family and friends about you blog. Gotta start promoting it some how. But lets face it, not all of your friends and family care about your cat so they are unlikely to turn into subscribers. Time to move beyond your small sphere of influence and help other cat lovers find your blog. Don’t sit idle and wait for Google and others to come along and find your stuff. You need to help them out a little.

Tip #1: Create a Sitemap

A site map is what it sounds like, a map to the pages on your site. If you already have an established web site you can use an online tool to help you create a site map. The one I use is the Google Sitemap Generator. I recommend reading all the information available on that page. It’s a bit technical but will help you understand all about site maps.

Once you have generated the sitemap, save it as map.xml and put it in the root directory of your web site.

Tip #2: Even your RSS feed can be a sitemap

So you’ve generated a sitemap with that nifty tool. Now you’ve made some new posts. Do you have to edit the site map? Syndication feeds to the rescue! Thanks to the forward thinking authors of the sitemap spec. you can use your RSS 2.0 or Atom 0.3 or 1.0 feed as a sitemap. Note if you use Feedburner you’ll want to point this at your original feed, not the Feedburner feed.

Tip #3: Create a Sitemap index

This one takes a bit of editing. You’ll want to create a text file called sitemap.xml that contains lines that look like the following:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<sitemapindex xmlns=""&gt;








In between the first <loc> tags put the URL to your map.xml file that you created in Tip #1 above.

In between the second <loc> tags put the URL to your syndication feed. This may be rss.xml or so other address.

If you have another sitemap you can create another set of <sitemap> tags and insert them before </sitemapindex>. You can create as many as you like.

Tip #4: Modify your Robots.txt

One fairly new development is the ability to help search engines find your sitemaps by specifying them in your robots.txt file. You may not even have one of these. No matter, simply create one in a text editor such as Notepad and add a line like this:

Sitemap: <sitemap_location>

If you created a sitemap index in tip #3 then all you have to do here is specify the index rather than all the separate sitemap files. In that case your robots.txt will read:

Sitemap: sitemap.xml              

Tip #5: Submit your Sitemap

Google has a nice tool for webmasters. Start by adding your blog:

Now to add your sitemap:

  • Click the "Add a Sitemap" link beside the site in the Dashboard.
  • Choose the "General Web Sitemap" option.
  • Type the URL to your Sitemap location in the provided field. Make sure you include the entire URL, such as (NOTE: This is the sitemap index you made in tip #3 above)
  • Click "Add Web Sitemap."

If you have a blog on a service such a Blogspot where you have no control of the robots.txt or any of the files in the directory, you can still add your feed as a sitemap.

You’ll find tons of details on sitemaps at

Hopefully these tips will get your site on it’s way to being indexed. Don’t panic if you don’t see results right away. Just stick with it and know that with your feed in your sitemap index you can get back to what matters most, creating content that will keep your readers coming back.

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One feature users created on their own is to respond to each other by starting their post with @username. The folks at Twitter have added a Reply tab to help users manage these replies

– The Replies Tab will display an archive of @replies
– @Replies are followed by an ‘in reply to’ link for context
– @username automatically links the username to the profile

Also cool is that the replies tab has it’s own RSS feed you can subscribe to so you don’t miss one.

The other 2 features concern other apps. You can not update Twitter from Facebook and Netvibes. Since Netvibes is my homepage that will make it much much easier to post and keep track.


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Yesterday I mentioned Google released its Gears tool for taking web apps off line. Today Lifehacker posted a how-to for taking Google Reader off-line. I may have to give this a try. I went back to Greatnews a couple months ago because I liked the portability and off line access via my USB thumb drive.

Lifehacker: Access your Google Reader feeds offline with Google Gears


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