In the first blog exercise on trackbacks I explained how trackbacks work and how to respond to trackbacks. It’s time to revisit the concept of how to respond to a trackback.
In the exercise, I described the unique quality of trackbacks for tracking conversations across the web. You publish something, someone likes it and publishes something about it, linking to your site, and a trackback is generated on your site linking to their article, letting you know someone is “talking about your post.” So where and how do you respond?
Here are some general guidelines for responding to trackbacks.
First, never respond to a trackback in your site comments. A trackback is not really a comment in the traditional sense. Consider it an invitation to a party in your honor. Click the trackback link to visit the party at their house.
Commenting on your own site would be like the party guest of honor sitting alone in a room when the party is next door. If you comment on your own site, the comment author is unlikely to respond as the trackback is generated automatically with no action on their part. In fact, we often forget our posts generate trackbacks.
Many website designs and WordPress Themes separate comments from trackbacks. Your comment would appear in the comment section of the response queue with no threading or direct connection to the trackback, looking a little like you are talking to yourself.
Take the trackback conversation to their site.
Your blog exercise today is to improve your responses to trackbacks and learn how to follow their path.
Here are more specific guidelines for responding to trackbacks.
- If someone generates a trackback to one of your posts, comment on their post to thank them and continue their part of the conversation on their site.
- If they said something witty and brilliant that expands your point, consider editing your article to reference theirs with an update to encourage your readers to check out what they have to say.
- If you get many trackbacks and comments on your post, consider publishing a second post on the subject highlighting and blockquoting their thoughts on the subject, generating trackbacks to their articles, connecting the dots across sites.
- If the reference came from the social web, find the first to share and say thank you, and participate in any conversation there.
Remember always to thank them for linking and writing about your content.
And take a moment to find a way to expand the conversation on your site as well as beyond.
The following are articles within the Blog Exercises so far dealing with comments, trackbacks, and interactivity to help you keep up with these exercises.
- Blog Exercises: What Do You Do?
- Blog Exercises: Define Your Target Audience
- Blog Exercises: Polls and Surveys
- Blog Exercises: Comments and The Blog Bullies
- Blog Exercises: Backlinks
- Blog Exercises: Trackbacks
- Blog Exercises: What is Your Posting Response Assessment?
- Blog Exercises: Trackback Check-Up
- Blog Exercises: Polls and Surveys Follow-up
If you blog about this, remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.