One Trackback Mistake You Can’t Afford to Make

Trackback is arguably the most important reason for the rapid rise of the “blog” over other content management systems. With trackback, when you link to someone’s post and your blog software does a trackback ping, a link will appear back to your post in either the comment section or just above it.

But there is a critical trackback mistake that bloggers make millions of times a week that I’m gong to teach you how to avoid.

To illustrate the importance of not making this mistake, let me tell you the story of Breana:

Breana had $20k saved up before she quit her job to become a full time web entrepreneur. She was right on the cusp of being a successful blogger – one that could make a living by the written word. But she made one very costly, very critical mistake . . .

You see, Breana used the most popular blogging software, Wordpress. Since she had past SEO 101, she had enabled the “Search Engine Friendly URLs” feature that rewrites the URLs to include the title of the post. Every week she did a roundup of posts she liked and Titled it: “This Week’s Best Posts.” She linked to all the top posts and Wordpress pinged the other posts for a trackback.

Unfortunately for her, Wordpress rewrote her URLs as:

http://breanacatblog.com/this-week%e2%80%99s-top-posts/8/7/2006

You see, %e2%80%99 is how wordpress encodes the apostrophe. The bigger problem than that being an ugly URL is that other Wordpress blogs strip out some special characters (like %) on trackback.

The other very powerful and influential bloggers who received that trackback saw the link as:

http://breanacatblog.com/thie-weeke28099s-best-links/8/7/2006

When they clicked the link to see who was linking to them, all they got was a 404 Error Page. Man! Were these bloggers Pissed. They thought:

“Wonderful. Another Goddamn Spammer.”

So, instead of adding her feed to their RSS Readers, reading her blog, linking to her regularly and vaulting her to “A List Blogger” status where she could have made a six figure income, Breana was blacklisted.

All those juicy trackback links went right down the toilet. The Influencial Bloggers added her IP to the list of trackback spammers and blocked her IP address with the .htaccess file.

Readers trickled in, but it wasn’t enough to pay her bills. As time went by, Breana ran through her life savings, piled up huge debt, and was evicted from her apartment. The depression of her failure as a blogger was more than she could handle. She turned to crack to just make the demons of her failure subside – even if just for a few hours.

Breana is now turning tricks on the corner of 4th and Grand for $10 a pop. Instead of blogging for a living, she now works for this guy 6 times a week:

”Homeless

All because she didn’t fix the post slug before publishing.

Don’t end up like Breana.

There is a tab on the “post slug” section of “write posts” that allows you to change what the URL of your post will appear as. In Breana’s Case, all she had to do was write:

this-weeks-best-posts

in that section and she would have been successful and famous instead of having to whore herself out on the street for crack money.

Any time you use a special character like a quote or an apostrophe in you post title, make sure you also manually create a post slug.

Otherwise, you might just end up like Breana.

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14 Responses to “One Trackback Mistake You Can’t Afford to Make”

  1. copyblogger says:

    Great story, and I also appreciate the subtext that just about no one but me is going to get.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or strangle someone at Wordpress. :)

  2. miku says:

    LOL That’s great. As I was reading this I was thinking “He must have read copyblogger’s post about story telling”.

  3. rxbbx says:

    real quad story :) , but blog = power.. more then normal sites

  4. [...] The story is about Breana, an enterprising blogger on her way up. She seemed to be heading for web success, but she made one crucial mistake that proved fatal to her dreams. You see, Breana used the most popular blogging software, Wordpress. Since she had passed SEO 101, she had enabled the “Search Engine Friendly URLs” feature that rewrites the URLs to include the title of the post. Every week she did a roundup of posts she liked and titled it: [...]

  5. copyblogger says:

    How’s that for a trackback? :P

  6. QuadsZilla says:

    You get a B-

    You would have gotten an “A” , but you didn’t include an apostrophe in the title. ;)

    A+ would have been a magnetic headline with an apostorphe, percent sign, and quotes.

  7. copyblogger says:

    Oh, don’t worry… “How to Link Bait Me” is going to draw like crazy.

    And no matter how many times I try to check the post slug when I use an apostrophe, most times I forget and end up with a gibberish URL. Dumb.

  8. jadr says:

    Hi there

    Liked your picture :) Does this issue apply to international charachters ?

    Rgds
    Jakob
    http://www.boyer-draeby.dk

  9. [...] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. [...]

  10. [...] QuadsZilla makes a great point about avoiding special characters in your blog article titles (Point taken!) [...]

  11. yolkie says:

    funny post! lol

  12. Very interesting post. I have the same problems with websites using non english characters.

    There is a famous old story – indeed, more than 2,000 years old – about Julius Caesar’s second wife, Pompeia, who was implicated in a scandal. Although there was considerable evidence that she was innocent, he divorced her immediately, cutting her no slack at all. When the court asked him why he had demanded a divorce when so much uncertainty had surrounded the incident, he replied, “Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”

    Your websites must be above suspicion too.

  13. salber says:

    Since the arrival of rel=nofollow tag for links, specially trackback links, there is no such thing as a juicy trackback link

  14. [...] If you read this, this, then this, and finally this you will: [...]