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Saturday, November 19, 2005

How To Re/Search For Your Blogs

This post discusses some of the tools I use to aid my blogging - not so much in terms of management, but in actual writing and researching content, and creating links.

One resource I use frequently when working on my blogs is a search engine - which I genrally use for facts-checking. As a former search engine webmaster, I've long been aware, however, that this isn't always the easiest way to find recent, relevant content. However, many search engines have changed their algorithms to favour sites that update frequently, focus on specific topics, etc. It's getting easier to find what you are looking for.

Another tool I use frequently is (this page offers you your choice of language). Zoundry's BlogWriter blogging client software even has a built-in feature that creates a link to the English version of Wikipedia after you select a word or phrase to link on. Wikipedia, of course, is a popular online encyclopedia. When I want to let readers know where they can find out more about a specific term, I link to Wikipedia (which, if you are not familiar with it, is open; you can post terms and definitions to it). This saves me having to try to awkwardly discuss a term that some readers may already be familiar with.

When comes down to generating content, though, I have to do actual research. Search engines are a starting point. But I also employ a number of sources: newspapers, magazines, tv shows, other blogs and websites. How do you view a lot of content quickly, though? Web feeds.

Forgive me if you're already familiar with web feeds. To those who are not, web feeds (two formats: Atom and RSS) are like a headline service. You can view a set of headlines, and by clicking on one, see an excerpt of an article/blog post, or in some cases, the full content. By further linking to source, you can see the rest of the article, if you want to. The fact that you can view feeds from several websites in short order is the entire reason for their existence in the first place.

To do the same kind of research via a web browser requires you having to enter a new URL each time you visit a site, and each day you do so. With web feeds, you "subscribe" to a feed by saving its URL, then just select its folder when you want to see headlines. This is a huge timesaver, and yet conflicting research shows that only between 3-12% of Internet users know what web feeds are or even use them. (Visit RSS Diary for more info on the value of RSS/web feeds.)

On a side note, I have to say that one good thing that blogging has done is motivate a lot more people into reading as entertainment.

(c) Copyright: 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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This site is intended as a how-to guide to blogging for new/recent bloggers. Topics covered include writing, blogging platforms and client software, generating ad revenue, analyzing blog statistics +managing multi-blogs.

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About Me
I'm a geek/ philosopher/ composer/ artist/ cook/ photographer/ web programmer/ blah-blah-blah who is also a published writer and author. The need to write runs through my veins and this blog documents my experiences with my other blogs.

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(c) Copyright: 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,