Quit tracking in! Woodie explains Trackbacks

Woodie knows WordPress - Carrie Spencer Smart Ass RomanceA couple weeks ago, we did a post on Ping Pong Pingbacks. Today we’re moving on to the Mighty Trackback. You ready? Let’s dig in. (dig in…get it? woodchucks dig….ah, never mind – woodchucks aren’t known for their sense of humor)

First note that these instructions are for WordPress.org users, not .com. Sorry dot commers.

Trackbacks and pingbacks are fairly closely related, somewhat like me and my 64th cousin Willow. We look a lot alike, we act a lot alike, but ….we’re not. Close, but no petunia.

So a trackback – Suppose my 64th cousin Willow writes a brilliant blog post on artichokes. Well, *I* think it’s ab fab! I want to write a comment on artichokes for Willow’s blog(being the artichoke experts I am) and I want YOU guys to see it, and yet still comment on MY blog. How is this possible?

Through trackbacks. Now hang with me for this one, and possibly read it twice, it can get a bit eye-crossing.

I’m going to post my comment on artichokes on my blog. First, I’m going to see if the artichoke blog post that Willow wrote has a specific trackback link. This is usually located right before the comments section.

I’ll right click on it and choose “Copy Link Location” or “Copy Shortcut” depending on the browser. If the blog post doesn’t have a specific trackback link, then copy the URL in your location bar and continue on…

Then under my post, I’m going to go to Send Trackbacks

and paste the URL I’ve chosen in there.

Now when I post my soon-to-be-infamous post on artichokes, Willow is going to get a message that says I’ve referenced her post in my own. Pretty much like a pingback. She’ll approve it (because she IS my 64th cousin after all) and in her post a small snippet (a teaser to those of us in the WP biz) will appear in her comments.

I’ve just linked our two blogs together! Now people posting on her artichoke article will see my post, and come over to read.

Trackbacks need to be used wisely. Sometimes they can be considered spam, but generally they are a “nod” to the author of how much you liked their post or used it as a reference, like a footnote. Also, many blogs don’t allow trackbacks, so your efforts may not appear, and sometimes they need to be approved before your trackback does appear.


Now go get a drink of water – there’s a nice puddle right over there!, uncross your eyes, and come back and read it again. =) It takes a bit to sink in…

If used properly, you can increase your blog traffic on both blogs. That’s the main goal of a trackback.

Hope that takes some of the mystery out of trackbacks my favorite peeps!

Off to text Willow and tell her how much I enjoyed her artichoke recipe!

til next time

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