Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide — Save 50%
A comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to set up, customize, and market your blog using Apache Roller
Enabling weblog pings
Now that you have a Technorati account, let's enable your Roller weblog so that it can ping Technorati automatically each time you post a new entry or edit a previously posted entry.
Time for action – enabling automatic pings in your weblog
This exercise will show you how to enable automatic pinging in your weblog, so that every time you post a new entry or update some entry you posted before, Technorati will receive a ping and will update your blog status:
- Go to the Front Page: Weblog Settings tab in your web browser, click on the Preferences tab to see your weblog's configuration page, and click on the Pings link:
- The Configure Automatic Weblog Pings page will appear next. Scroll down the page until you locate the Technorati row under the Common Ping Targets section:
- Click on Technorati's Enable link to enable automatic pinging for your weblog, so it can send automatic pings to Technorati:
- Click on the Send Ping Now button to test whether everything works correctly. Roller will show the following success message:
- Now you just have to wait until Technorati grabs your blog's most recent information, as shown in the following screenshot:
What just happened?
Now Technorati will keep your weblog information updated every time you post a new entry in your weblog. Once you register with an aggregator, it's very easy to configure automatic pinging in Roller, as you saw in the previous exercise. Now all you need to do is configure all the pings you can to other aggregators and blog search engines, so that people from everywhere can see your weblog!
Have a go hero – configure more ping targets
Now that you learned how to configure automatic pings to Technorati for your Roller weblog, check out the other ping targets available in the Common Ping Targets list. Go on and enable all the ping targets that you can in order to promote your weblog in all the available blog search engines and aggregators.
You can also register with Digg, StumbleUpon, and the other popular aggregators/blog search engines and add new ping targets for them if you click on the Custom Ping Targets link in the Configure Automatic Weblog Pings page. So what are you waiting for? Go and promote your new Roller weblog!
Google webmaster tools
Now that you have a cool weblog, it would be great if the weblog would show up in Google every time someone searches for a subject related to the things you're writing, don't you think? That's why Google invented the webmaster tools—a great resource to help you find out how your weblog is interacting with the Google bot. With these tools you can get detailed information about broken links, popular keywords, and basically, all the stuff you need to have a successful weblog!
Time for action – enabling Google webmaster tools
This exercise will show you how to configure Google webmaster tools for your Roller weblog, so you can start receiving important information about visitors and how your weblog interacts with Google:
- Open your web browser and type https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools to go to the Google webmaster tools website:
- If you created a Gmail account when installing Roller, you can use it to sign in to Google webmaster tools. Or you can create a new Gmail account in case you don't have one already. Click on the Sign In button when ready.
- The Google webmaster tools Home page will appear next. Click on the Add a Site button at the bottom to add your Roller weblog:
- Now enter your weblog's URL in the pop-up box and click on Continue:
- Google will show you a Meta tag that you need to copy and paste in your Roller weblog. Select the meta tag, right-click on it, and click on Copy:
- Now open a new tab in your web browser, log into your Roller weblog, and go to the Design tab. The Weblog Theme page will appear. Click on the Custom Theme option and then on the Update Theme button:
- Roller will show the Successfully set theme to – custom message. Click on the Templates link and then select the Weblog template:
- Scroll down the page until you locate the </head> HTML tag and paste the Google webmaster tools meta tag right before it, as shown in the following screenshot:
- Scroll down the page until you locate the Save button and click on it. Roller will show the Template updated successfully message. Return to the Google webmaster tools tab in your web browser and click on the Verify button to verify your weblog:
- If all goes well, Google will verify your weblog and take you to the Dashboard:
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- Now click on the Site configuration link under the Dashboard section to expand it, and then select the Sitemaps link. The Sitemaps page will appear next. Click on the Submit a Sitemap button:
- Type feed/entries/rss in the textbox and then click on the Submit Sitemap button:
- Google will add your sitemap to the list. A small clock icon will appear in the Status field indicating that you need to wait for Google webmaster tools to process your sitemap:
- Now you just need to wait until Google visits your weblog, so you can start receiving statistical information about how people interact with your weblog!
What just happened?
That's all you need in order to start using Google webmaster tools. Now you can start writing posts in your weblog, and Google will start telling you important stuff about how your visitors went to your weblog, popular keywords you can use in your posts, broken links in case something is not working well, and a lot of cool tips about how to enhance your weblog's interaction with Google.
Have a go hero – try out Google Analytics
Now that you're using Google webmaster tools, it would be a great idea to sign up with Google Analytics and register your weblog to compare both services and see how they complement each other. Remember, the key to success is experimenting by yourself! And don't hesitate to send me an e-mail if you need help!
If you've always dreamed of having your own radio station, podcasts are a good way to start! Think of podcasts as an audio alternative to RSS text feeds; when people subscribe to your podcasts, they can use iTunes or any other podcatcher software to receive them automatically! That way you can start building your own Internet audience, as if you had your own private radio station!
For the next exercise, you need to download the PodcastChap9.mp3 file included in the Chapter9.zip support file from the website: Apache Roller 4.0 – Beginner's Guide. Download the .zip file and unzip it, then take note of the directory where you unzipped the .mp3 file.
Time for action – uploading a podcast in Roller
In the following exercise, you'll learn how to upload a podcast to your Roller weblog, so visitors and subscribers can listen to it from their favorite podcatching software such as iTunes:
- Open your web browser, log into the Roller weblog you created in this article (in the exercise, I used theotherblog as the weblog name). Roller will take you to the New Entry page:
- Select the File Uploads link to go to the page with the same name, and then click on the Browse... button:
- The File Upload dialog will show up. Go to the directory where you downloaded the PodcastChap9.mp3 sample file, double-click on it to select this file and return to the File Uploads page, and then click on the Upload button to upload the file to your Roller weblog server:
- Roller will show the following message indicating that your file was uploaded successfully:
- Write down or copy the URL of your podcast file and then click on the New Entry link to create a new post in your weblog. Use the following screenshot as a guide:
- Scroll down the page until you locate the Advanced Settings link and click on it to expand this control, then paste your podcast's URL in the Enclosure URL field, and click on the Post to Weblog button:
- Roller will show the Changes Saved message indicating that your post was published successfully. Scroll down to the Advanced Settings section again, and you'll see the podcast along with its Type and Length:
- To see your podcast in action, go to your weblog's front page (in my case, it's http://alromero.no-ip.org/theotherblog), click on the Feed () button, and select the Suscribe to 'Recent entries (RSS)' option:
- The RSS feed subscription page will appear next. Below the Subscribe to this feed using section, you'll find the post you published before, along with the podcast. Now you just need to click on the podcast link to hear it:
What just happened?
As you saw in the previous exercise, it's very easy to upload and distribute podcasts in your Roller weblog. Now you just need to get some recording software to create your own podcasts, so that you can upload them to your Roller blog and create your very own Internet talk show! Or if you play music, you can start distributing demos in your Roller weblog via podcasts!
The only software you'll need besides Roller is a good audio recording tool such as Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/). You can even use the sound recording software included in Windows or Linux, but if you're serious about podcasting, it would be good to start experimenting with Audacity and then maybe consider a commercial product.
If you have read this article you may be interested to view :
- Advanced Blog Management with Apache Roller 4.0: Part 1
- Advanced Blog Management with Apache Roller 4.0: Part 3
- Creating a Roller theme from scratch using Apache Roller 4.0
- Working with Templates in Apache Roller 4.0
- Velocity Model and Data Objects in Apache Roller
- Spicing Up Your Blog: Uploading Files and Images to your Weblog using Apache Roller
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About the Author :
Alfonso Romero is a freelance computer consultant and translator from Mexico. He's been working with Linux and open source software since 1999. He started operating his first web server (Apache) from a PC at home, offering free hosting services to experiment with Postfix, Squirrel Mail, MySQL, Apache, Tomcat, and Virtual Hosting. Since then, he's been working as a computer consultant for several clients in Mexico – writing Java, C++, and Web applications. Since 2000, he has worked for Pearson Education in Mexico as a computer books freelance translator and consultant. His latest book translations are the Spanish versions of Java How to Program, Seventh Edition, from Deitel & Deitel, and C++ How to Program, Sixth Edition, also from Deitel & Deitel. Al enjoys writing tutorials and teaching about Java, C++, PHP, the Apache Web server, Tomcat, MySQL, Web applications like Apache Roller, and all of the wonderful open source applications used today, and when he's not experimenting with new trends in Open Source applications, he enjoys playing his electric guitar.