Early Warning System

Here’s a short video (<11 minutes) that explains the benefits of being in the first 2-3 comments on a new blog post. Then it shows you how to use a free tool to make sure you ARE the first person to leave a comment.

Worth a few minutes of your time? Once the video starts you can change the resolution to 720p and make it full screen to pick up the detail.

 

Blog Commenting and Feed Notifier

Here’s a bulleted summary:-

  • Blog commenting is good for getting backlinks – this is not a secret and has been in use for a long time
  • Making relevant comments that add to the orginal article will mean your comments get approved
  • Being first with a good comment will mean people may well click through to your site to read anything else you have to say
  • You can use a free tool called Feed Notifier that sits quietly in your Windows system tray and monitors a blog’s RSS feed
  • When a new post is made, then you can be there within a few minutes and leave the first comment

What isn’t discussed in this video is that RSS has been around for a long time but other than with techies, it’s never really captured the imagination of a wider audience. And that could be because it’s not click-click obvious and not really vital to a general internet user.

However after watching this video, then maybe (like I do) you’ll consider using this small and discrete free tool called Feed Notifier. It seems there are lots of tools and services that supply RSS reading capabilities, but Feed Notifier is quite sexy as it’s so small.

I realised the potential of Feed Notifier a while back and I saw that it’s not only useful for being the first to leave blog comments, but for all sorts of other things too.

For example last year I released a plugin called WordPress Updates which creates a private RSS feed on your blogs that you can subscribe to. When a new plugin or theme update is released, then the feed will be updated and you can pick up the notification using Feed Notifier.

So if you have lots of clients using WordPress blogs that you’re responsible for, then you can install the plugin on all their sites and get an immediate warning from each of them when they need you to go do some work. There’s nothing worse than an angry client complaining their site has been hacked or something has stopped working and you later find out it’s because you didn’t apply the latest updates. :roll:

I also have someone working on creating another new plugin called Events Notifier that will be released shortly. This allows you to create private and public RSS feeds and then add events and a date and time to go with them.

Apart from the obvious private reminders of birthdays, anniversaries etc, you can also use it to set up a public feed and broadcast important events to your subscribers, for example a build up to a new product launch. ;-)

Or keep your affiliates notified of changes and new products in your affilaites scheme, or keep your customers updated about updates to products they’ve bought.

More on that little beauty soon.

So I hope you can see that RSS feeds aren’t just for the techies and with a little thought we can all start to benefit from them in all sorts of ways they probably were never intended for. :-)

Here are some links to tools mentioned in the video, one for Portable Apps and Feed Notifier Portable, and also to the Feed Notifier site itself.

My own personal preference is to go with Portable Apps as it’s just so damn useful, and I’ll do a post about Portable Apps another time explaining how useful it can be even if you don’t use it portably.

-Frank Haywood


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15 Comments

  1. Keith Winter says:

    Great idea Frank. I post comments on a lot of blogs but sometimes have a problem remembering them. This little app will be great for, not only knowing when a new post is published, but it will also remind me where I’ve been commenting. I am just downloading Portable Apps Now!

    Many thanks and kind regards,
    Keith

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Keith,

      You’re welcome.

      Portable Apps (PA) is brilliant – I’ve just had to do a re-install of my OS and I’ve been saved the heartache of having to re-install most of my apps such as FireFox, Thunderbird, Chrome, Skype, OpenOffice, Filezilla and you name it… I just have PA installed on my D: drive so on those occasions I do have to re-install, I format C: and when I’ve done, thanks to PA I can get up and running for most things fairly quickly. I now just have to re-install Dreamweaver and Photoshop and a few other bits and pieces. (And using FireFox Synch means the different machines I use have all my bookmarks synchronised across to each of them.)

      Feed Notifier (FN) is very cool and you’ll find that as you trawl the web and leave comments here and there you’ll be adding feeds from those sites to FN. As soon as a new post goes live you’ll be able to get that top comment slot.
      ;-)

      -Frank

  2. Dr. B says:

    thanks Frank…
    This is something that we do all the time when there is something relevant to our target audience.
    The issue we have experienced is that people tend to be lazy and use less relevant comments than we would like to have on our pages… what do you recommend doing in such situations?

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Dr. B,

      Yeah comment spam is a problem we all have to live with, and it breaks down into 4 kinds.

      #1 – Automated, driven by tools like Xrumer. Easy to spot and mark as spam as the comments are never relevant. Often created by people doing gigs on Fiverr I reckon. Typically making comments about the “great site design” or they “found you through Google”.

      #2 – Manually posted by a third world labour force. The English is usually very poor, often nonsensical, and again easy to spot and mark as spam as the comments are never relevant.

      #3 – Manually posted, the English is usually better but often there’s an irrelevancy because the author was in a hurry and didn’t read the article properly. I tend to remove the backlink and approve the comment.

      #4 – Posted manually by people like you and me. Very difficult to detect, the English is usually VERY good, the comments are usually relevant, consist of several sentences or paragraphs, and add to the original article. Well done I say, here’s your backlink approved.

      With #4 there’s often little difference in quality from a regular commenter, so I reward the good effort with an approved backlink. :-)

      -Frank

      • Phil Cullum says:

        The issue of comment spam is one I wrestle with every day. I post 40 articles a day (200 per week) to my online news source and every one of them attracts spam. I want to allow comments, but at least 99% are spam. I have concluded that I must leave comments turned off. I just can’t afford the time to review them all. Oh, for a high-quality automated solution, able to filter out spam without trapping useful comments.

        • Frank Haywood says:

          Hi Phil,

          Akismet is pretty good at this, and there’s a free option on the Akismet service. I guess I could build my own, and I’ve put the idea in my product ideas document. In case you didn’t know, the plugin works with a centralised service. As users of the service mark comments as spam then the Akismet database learns – the plugin then checks new comments on your blog through the database and automatically marks them as spam if the database says so. It’s not 100%, and occasionally I’ve rescued real comments from the spam.

          Alternatively, or as well as, you could use the WP-Hashcash plugin. This works by using javascript and as javascript is only (up to now) used in a browser, and if a comment is left by a spambot tool then no javascript is called. If the javascript isn’t called then the comment gets marked as spam.

          I tend to use Akismet, but that’s just my personal choice.

          -Frank

  3. Dan Sullivan says:

    Frank,

    Thanks for the tip! I just put this in my personal cheat sheet of things to do.

    Once in a (very) great while it’s a drag to be a Mac user–no access to feed notifier. For other Mac users, there’s a similar tool for the Mac called Fresh Feed in the App Store. I’ll be working with it but it looks like it has some shortcomings so I am hopeful that the Mac version for feed notifier comes out soon-they’ve said it’s on the way.

    This made my morning–a new twist on an old idea… very cool.
    Dan

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Dan,

      I’m glad you like it. If you have a smartphone then you probably either have an RSS reader that came with it or you can pick one up in an app store for free. As long as you have plenty of bandwidth with your contract then it should be feasible to set it up in the way I’ve described.

      If you were so inclined and you had a copy of Win XP, you could install VMWare Player (free) and get the benefit of running various Windows apps using VMWare Unity which is supposed to make them run on your Mac desktop. The downside is you need plenty of memory.

      The machine I’m sitting at right now is also the one I tend to use as my central, er, I can’t say “server” but it’s my main PC that I run most other things off. It’s a 6-core Phenom thingy (pretty fast), which I’ve just had to upgrade to 8GB RAM and after I did that I found my OS couldn’t address it all as you need 64-bit Win 7. So I had to bite the bullet and go get that and install it.

      The reason I did *that* was so that I could run a Virtual Machine (VM) with XP on it and a bit of software called Article Marketing Robot which is a great (Windows only) app. The reason I’m running a VM is so that one of my staff members can connect to it using Remote Desktop and submit articles without having to bother me. So I get to keep full control of the machine and software, but still have the benefit of staff running apps on the VM which sites see as being UK based because of the IP.

      With me? ;-)

      I know it sounds a bit OTT, but I gradually got to that place through trial and error. I tried leasing Windows VPSes and I’ve had a hell of a game with various companies before resigning myself to running it all locally in the way I described above.

      The upshot is I’m now very happy with the setup and I still have 3GB RAM free on this machine even when I’m running memory hogs like FireFox etc.

      I’m full of techy stuff, me… :roll:

      -Frank

  4. Julia says:

    Frank,

    This strategy for building backlinks is brilliant in its simplicity. Thanks for sharing this!

    First, I’m tweeting this post because this is too good to keep to myself. Then, off to download Portable Apps!

    Julia

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Julia,

      Well thank you! Twice. Love your site BTW and I just left you a very on-topic comment. ;-)

      -Frank

      • Julia says:

        Hi again, Frank!

        Thanks for the blog comment — I feel like I’ve been visited by royalty! :)

        I’ve already received TWO blog post notifications since I set up Feed Notifier (within Portable Apps) yesterday, and I was first to post an on-topic comment both times. Thanks for the tip!

        So, what ELSE can we do with Portable Apps to build and promote our businesses?

        • Frank Haywood says:

          Hi Julia,

          Hehe. No, it’s only me. :roll:

          Doesn’t that tip together with Feed Notifier work just great? In fact I’ve totally fallen in love with Feed Notifer and it’s now one of my favourite desktop applications as it can be used to monitor updates to YouTube channels and Twitter as well as blogs. Pretty fab really.

          For that reason I’ve built another plugin that works with it which I’m going to release it tomorrow. This new plugin will form part of the heart of my marketing and I’ll be trying to get as many people as possible to start using Feed Notifier as it ties the desktop into many web applications and services all through RSS. It’s like an application that has suddenly reached its day of fame.

          More on Portable Apps another time – there are some fantastic applications out there that work with it, even many that weren’t designed to work with it but are standalone will still work with it just by dropping them in the PortableApps folder. But start with FireFox, Chrome, Opera, Skype, NotePad++ and OpenOffice to begin with.

          I’m going to do a series explaining how we can get the best out of Portable Apps and which applications I regularly use myself, and post a set of videos on YouTube.

          -Frank

  5. Alexandra says:

    Hi Frank,

    this is a very useful one ! I didn’t know about the interest of commenting among the first ones.

    I currently wait to have the bloggers’ notification in my mail box, and most of the time, I’m getting a bit late to be one of the first commenters.

    So many thanks for this valuable information. :-)

    Best regards,
    Alexandra

    • Frank Haywood says:

      Hi Alexandra,

      I will often read the first few comments and sometimes skip a few if they’re poor, but if ever I’m going to click through it’s almost always in the top few comments especially if they’re on the bean.

      When you stop to think about it, my behaviour is both reasonable and I would say typical.

      You’ve just read an interesting article and you want to know more. Someone makes a clearly relevant and knowledgable comment. You’re going to click through to their site to see if you can learn something new. :-)

      -Frank

      • Alexandra says:

        Thanks Frank,

        for sure, when reading a good quality and relevant comment, I very often go to see who’s behind.

        It’s the reason why I don’t understand why some people continue to spend time posting very poor
        comments : they loose the real “juice” !

        Getting a backlink is good but getting new visitors is much better. ;-)

        Have a good evening !
        Alexandra

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