For blogs, Trackbacks seem to be pretty essential to get noticed, and also are a great way to share information.
So what is a trackback? Well I've spent today looking for information on trackbacks and trying to answer some pretty darn simple questions. Here are the answers I've found - and pretty much all of them answered by the mother of trackback posts at The ultimate Trackback Help Guide. Many thanks Kdays.com.
What is a Trackback? - It's a link from an article on one site to another article on another site that references or is in response to that first article.
What does he previous answer that mean? If you post an article on your blog that references or comments on an article on another blog, then you can send a trackback to that article's author and if accepted, the trackback appears as a partial comment on their blog. When people want to look at that comment they click on it and will then jump to your site.
As a way of an example, an equivalent, but cruder way to implement a trackback would be to comment on a article on a blog site somewhere in the world by saying a few words and putting in a link to an article on your own website. Sending a trackback is a neater way of doing this.
What do I need to Trackback to an article? The first article needs to be on a trackback enabled site. You need the trackback URL for the article which can sometimes be hard to see - and sometimes very obvious - see The ultimate Trackback Help Guide. for more info. Since the trackback only points one way (to your article from the trackbacked article) it is only polite to make sure you acknowledge the trackbacked article by being nice about it and including the URL of the atricle in your article. If you don't then why would the author of the trackbacked article bother to accept yours?
Can I trackback to more than one article? Yes - just list all the trackback URL's with a space separator - or just repeat the trackback several times, one for each article you wish to trackback to.
If I trackback to one article - can I then trackback to another at a later date without annoying the first existing trackback sites with a repeating any trackback request?
As far as I an tell - each time you send a trackback, it goes only to the URL in question. Other linked sites won't know about it.
Can I trackback to your article? No you can't! That's not becaue I don't want you to. It's because Weebly.com - who host this site for free do not provide that service. I can send trackbacks to other articles, but you can't trackback to me. This is quite annoying and once I've got this blogging sorted out I will probably setup my own site with Wordpress (which seems to be a pretty big deal in blogging circles) and then get going. In the mean time you can comment this article if you'd like and leave a URL to your own blog. I don't mind honestly - especially if you put a link in your blog back to this page.
How easy is it to trackback? We'll I've been having a go at it for a week or so and I'm finding the trackback system a bit frustrating. I sometimes find an article I want to trackback to and make appropriate changes to one of my articles by including a reference to them and then when I send a trackback it sometimes fails, or sometimes succeeds. A failure is obviously a pain since I've wasted my time. The success just means the system has accepted the trackback and now I have to wait for the author to accept it. If they don't then again I've wasted my time. So only time will tell if it's actually worth the effort. [After thought: Derr... well if you're reading this then I guess it must be worthwhile since the only way you'd have found this article is by following a trackback or by a search engine doing the same!]
I've changed the name of my blog page! Do I have to re-do the trackbacks? I accidentally did this and was alarmed when I found google pointing to a page that didn't exist any more. But not to worry. Trackbacks are to the article itself and not the page it is on. It seems you can (at least in the weebly.com management system) change the page name but still maintain the trackbacks. Phew! That's lucky.