So you've just published a new article on your Geeklog site and now you're eagerly awaiting the world to take notice. But it takes so long ... Sure, your regular readers will be notified through the RSS feed within the hour. But GoogleBot and friends will only come visit at their own pace and it will take even longer for your post to show up in their search engines. Isn't there some way to get the word out faster?
And indeed there is: As of Geeklog 1.4, you can send a Ping to weblog directory services, i.e. websites that specialise in listing the newest posts of blogs around the world. So by sending a Ping, you tell them "Hey, look! My new article is up!!!" and the sites send their spiders to index them. And within minutes, your post can be found on those sites. Nifty, eh?
As explained in my previous article, after publishing a new story, you wil be taken back to the list of stories from where you can click on the "Ping" icon for that story. I've already explained how to send Trackbacks and Pingbacks from there. Sending a Ping is just as easy: Click on the button labelled "Send Ping" and wait a few seconds for it to return and (hopefully) report success. That's it.
In the background
So what happened there? When you click that button, Geeklog goes through the list of weblog directory services it knows about and sends a special message, called a Ping, to them. What they do with that information is up to the service. Some just add the title and link of your post to a list on their site. Others send a spider to pick up your entire article.
Ping-o-Matic, however, which is the default service configured in a fresh install of Geeklog 1.4, will in turn ping other services to let them know about your post. So with one click, you will notify more than a dozen weblog directory services, including popular ones like Technorati, Weblogs.com, Feed Burner, and others (for a complete list, see the Ping-o-Matic homepage).
Adding your own
If you prefer a different selection of services to ping, you can have that, too, of course. As an example, let's say we only want to ping Technorati and nothing else. So select the "Trackback" entry from your Admin's block. You'll get a list of the currently configured services. By default, that will only be Ping-o-Matic. You can disable it by using the checkbox provided or delete it entirely by clicking on the edit icon and using the "delete" button on the form that comes up then.
To add a new service to ping, click on "Create New" first. You now have to fill out a simple form. The first entry, "service" is just the name that should appear in the list. Let's enter "Technorati".
The use of the "Enabled" checkbox should need no further explanation. "Website" is just the homepage of the service, so in our case it's simply "http://technorati.com". And then we come to the important bits ...
"URL to ping" is a special URL to which Geeklog should send the actual Ping message. To find this URL (and the information for the following field, whether to use a standard or an extended Ping) can be found on the service's homepage somewhere. So let's go over to Technorati to look it up.
At the bottom of the site, you'll see a link "Ping" (right next to "Contact"), which takes us to http://technorati.com/ping. This form allows you to ping Technorati manually, but it also contains the information we're looking for:
You can also use Technorati's XML-RPC interface to automate this process and ping from within your weblog software. Enter http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping into your weblog tool's configuration for Pings and Notifications.
So now we know the "URL to ping" for the above form in Geeklog: Enter http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping there. But what about the "Ping method"?
Since that page doesn't mention any options, it's likely that Technorati just accepts a standard Ping (rule of thumb: if in doubt about a service's capabitilites, use "Standard Ping"). Following the link to the ping configuration page that Technorati offers confirms this: It describes the technical details of the message (which you don't need to care about) and you'll see that the "methodName" parameter is weblogUpdates.ping, i.e. a standard Ping (an extended Ping would be weblogUpdates.extendedPing and blo.gs would be a service that supports it - see if you can find the information there yourself).
To recap: When adding a weblog directory service to Geeklog's list, you need to find out the URL to ping and the method to use for the Ping. This can usually be found by visiting the service's homepage and looking for information on "how to ping" the service. When it mentions an XML-RPC URL, that's usually the URL to ping. And if it doesn't explicitly state that it supports extended Pings, just go with the standard Ping.
The difference between the two, in case you were wondering, is that the extended Ping also includes a link to your RSS feed.
Most of the time, however, you can simply stick to using Ping-o-Matic, as that service will ping others automatically and you don't have to hunt down all that information yourself.