Getting Things Done with Automation

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Salt-powered robot.

Salt-powered robot.

There are a lot of things that need to be done when you have a blog, or when you are into internet marketing. The blog is only the tool to keep your site updated. Informing the internet that your site is updated is a different matter. There are automated tools which you can add to your site, and there are some other tasks you need to do afterwards.

Sitemap and RSS feeds

First off, you have to make sure that your sitemap is updated. There are tools to ensure that the sitemap is updated. If you use a content management system (CMS), it should have its own XML-sitemap creator. Otherwise you can use online sitemap creators and upload the resulting file to your site.

Another automated tool which your CMS should have is an RSS feed. This is one way to send syndication from your site. It is also one way to inform web crawlers that you have updated your site. Independent of the RSS feed, you have to submit the sitemap to search engines, or you can send a ping to RSS aggregators. These are two different things, which aim to do different things, but with the same result. Somehow, the search engines will be informed that your site has been updated and that they need to crawl through it to index it again.

Bookmarking Automation

Moving forward with your update, it is a good idea to have it bookmarked in online bookmarking sites. On top of that, it also has to be shared on social media and social networking sites. One way to automate this is to use a plugin. For WordPress there are a lot of plugins available which automatically post the latest article to social bookmarking sites, and social media, including Twitter and Reddit. For Blogger, there is an option to automatically post on Google+. Tumblr on the other hand can share the post automatically to Twitter and Facebook.

Besides the in-app automation, there are also online automation tools, like IFTTT.com and Zapier. Zapier is a paid service, but it also has freemium accounts. With Zapier freemium accounts, the actions are checked every fifteen minutes, and you can have a hundred actions per month. If you need more than that many actions, you can upgrade to their paid service. Zapier also has access to more sites than IFTTT. It is aimed at a corporate market and a lot of their sites are also meant for business use.

IFTTT on the other hand aims for an easy-to-use interface. The triggers are checked every fifteen minutes with no maximum limit to the number of times the action is done.

If you think that you need more functionality or the target website is not accessible by third-party online automation services, you can create your own, using the target website’s API and some PHP programming skills.

Sharing and Follower Interaction

For each article, you should have a handy sharing button. In fact, just in case you might be anywhere else on the website, a sharing button should always be accessible. You can insert AddToAny’s code to any website and have that functionality.

What you want to happen is for website visitors to share your post and to comment on it on social media or social bookmarking sites. The most common share buttons also have follow and like buttons. These have different functions depending on the social networking site. The main point is that your post will be shared and cross-posted, and visitors can like or follow your blog or your article.

Scheduling

If you had a linux workstation or server, you can put up cron jobs to schedule a lot of things. Otherwise, you can make use of HootSuite, SocialOoomph and IFTTT to schedule your posts, and shares. There are some posts and tasks which are recurring. These can be scheduled beforehand and fine-tuned every so often. If it works, there is a tendency to forget about it, but just keep that in mind.

The most important part is that the article you posted gets moving. It should be seen by the most number of people, discussed and commented on online. With these automation tools, you can focus on the website content and not worry over much about promoting your site.

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