I’ve been using Feedwhip for a little while and have discovered that I have needed to tune my feed by setting my filters…this is very important if you are using it for a blog homepage or a blog post, as all you want is body content notifications.
I really think Feedwhip is coming out in front when it comes to blog page monitoring, as it is so granular, and it alerts by RSS as well as email.
When you are using Feedwhip as an RSS feed for a blog post you have to make sure it just notifies you of changes to the blog post content and nothing else, eg. sidebar changes, captcha number changes, date/time stamp changes, etc…we don’t want to see these peripheral changes, we only want to see post content changes.
The filter settings enable you to set a broad filter like:
- tell me about all text changes
- ignore small one-line text changes
- ignore medium-sized chanes
- only tell me about really big text changes
You can also set finer filters:
- ignore changes that occur in the bottom half of the page
- ignore changes to image URLs (handy if a site has rotating advertising images)
- ignore changes to link URLs (same as above)
…you may or may not want to know if someone has changed the URL of a hyperlink, ie. that hyperlink now points to a different webpage
- ignore deleted text (you will only know about text that was added)
- include images in my notifications
- ignore changes where most of the change is links
- ignore changes where only a number has changed
- require changes to contain these words or phrases
- ignore changes that contain these words or phrases
The email notifications can be set as it happens or as a digest, or you can specify the hour you want to receive an email (up to 4 out of 24 choices).
What makes it more enhanced than your ususal RSS feed is that it will tell you not only about additions, but also about deletions, that’s right, it will detect any type of difference.
Example, it will say:
This line was changed from:
This line was changed to:
This was removed:
Above we have explained how to use it to create an RSS feed for an individual blog post, the filter settings are essential to limit the noise.
What about if you want to use it for a blog that hasn’t got a feed, well you could do the same thing…but in this situation I’d be more inclined to use Ponyfish…I’d even use Ponyfish to create an RSS feed for an individual blog post but you can only use it at the homepage level.
Another suggestion was to use a BlogDigger site search feed, the search term would be the term you apply to a blog post every time you go back and update it, in this example the term is post794 (the term can be anything).
post794 - 1/05/06 this is a new update
post794 - 15/05/06 this is another update
This is only handy if you are adding a new line on its own…what if you go back and re-structure a sentence in your blog post, you can’t have the term post794 in the middle of a sentence (for changes of this nature I guess you could add this to the bottom of your post…post794 - 20/05/06 I made a change in the body of this post).
[ADDED 25/05/06: Another way to keep people updated with updates to your blog posts is; amend the blog post, whether it is reconstructing a sentence or just adding an update line at the end of the blog post, and re-publish.
Then goto to the blog post and add a comment saying that you updated your blog post, and what it was about, or even re-publish bits in the comments…the important thing is that people can subscribe to the RSS comments for that post, or even your RSS comments in general.
Some people use the comments field to publish updates…instead, we can update within the blog post, and use the comments field to alert people that you have updated your blog post.]