// Internet Duct Tape

Blog Tip: Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes

Posted in RSS Syndication, Technology, Technorati, Twitter, WordPress.com Tips by engtech on September 25, 2007

Bloggin Tips and Tricks

In Blogger GTD, Leo mentioned that it was a good idea to have one inbox for all your blogging related notifications. I hate cluttering in my inbox, but I do agree that it makes sense to have a single point of reference rather to spend 5 minutes checking some information in one place and then spend 5 minutes checking information in another place. As Skelliewag says, those 5 minutes add up over the course of a day and by the end of it you’ve wasted an hour.

Directing everything to my inbox would never work for me, but it is possible to have a single start page for all your blog maintenance activities using Netvibes. If you aren’t familiar with Netvibes it is a combination of an RSS feed aggregator and a widget platform. It is analogous to iGoogle (but works better). In simple terms Netvibes lets you put lots of information in one place and look at information from several web pages on a single page.

blog maintenance netvibes start page

If you’ve never tried it out before then please visit http://netvibes.com — they let you play around with a default page even if you don’t have an account.

This is what I put on my blog maintenance start page. Replace internetducttape.com or engtech.wordpress.com with your blog URL.

Column 1: Comment Administration and Social Site Monitoring

blog maintenance netvibes comment monitoring

The first column is for things that I want to respond quickly to — comments and checking to see if my site is submitted to Digg or Reddit.

Box #1: Comments RSS feed: http://internetducttape.com/comments/feed

Or you could use my WordPress Comment Extractor / WordPress Trackback Extractor to get only the comments or only the trackbacks.

Box #2: Shortcuts to WordPress administration activities using the Netvibes Bookmarks widget.

Bookmarks: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Bookmarks

I add the following bookmarks:

Box #3: Social Site Submission Watchdog is a custom Yahoo Pipe I created.

Click on this link then

  • change your blog URL
  • click on Run Pipe
  • copy the RSS link to Netvibes

Column 2: Blog Stats

blog maintenance netvibes check blog stats

It’s a bad idea to check your blog stats multiple times a day, but is it so bad if you’re also checking blog comments, emails and instant messages at the same time?

Box #1: This will only work for WordPress.com bloggers, which is too bad because it’s a great way to check stats at a glance.

WordPress.com Mobile Widget: http://gamespotting.net/wordpressnetvibes.html

Box #2: Technorati Rank from RSS. Another custom Yahoo Pipe. This one is a little more complicated to install because you’ll need your Technorati API key.

Click on this link then

  • change your blog URL
  • find your Technorati API key and cut-and-paste it
  • click on Run Pipe
  • copy the RSS link to Netvibes

Box #3: Filtered Blog Reactions from Technorati. This is another custom Yahoo Pipe. It shows the blog URL as the title and links to the front page instead of directly to the post.

Click on this link then

  • change your blog URL
  • click on Run Pipe
  • copy the RSS link to Netvibes

You could use this RSS feed instead: http://feeds.technorati.com/search/internetducttape.com

Column 3: Direct Communication

netvibes blog maintenance communication twitter

I use the second tab as a way to keep a quick check on how I stay in contact with other bloggers — through Gmail and Twitter.

Box #1: Gmail: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Gmail

I use a dedicated Gmail account for blogging — I don’t receive any personal or work related email with that account.

Box #2: Twitter Replies RSS feed: http://twitter.com/statuses/replies.rss

This shows some of the power of Netvibes — you can view password protected RSS feeds.

Box #3: Twitter: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Twitter

Create Your Own Blog Maintenance Start Page

This gives you a few ideas of how I use the service, but the possibilities are endless.

For instance there is a Facebook widget: http://www.netvibes.com/subscribe.php?module=Facebook

Not to mention several widgets that let you directly embed a web page. Using those generic modules you can embed Google Reader into Netvibes and other crazy stuff like that.

What are you going to put on your blog maintenance start page?

70 Responses

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  1. Bastich said, on September 25, 2007 at 9:33 am

    This is a great tip! I’ll try this tip using Protopage instead of Nitevibes.

  2. engtech said, on September 25, 2007 at 10:30 am

    @Bastich:

    Let me know how that works out for you. I might update the post to include a list of sites other than Netvibes with the same functionality.

  3. Symbian said, on September 25, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Interesting mashup.

  4. Ben Yoskovitz said, on September 25, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Very, very cool. And extensive.

    I’ve submitted it to digg, for what it’s worth:

    http://digg.com/offbeat_news/Using_Netvibes_to_Manage_Your_Blog_Maintenance/

    I think it’s a unique idea and many could benefit from it. Plus it might draw out other ideas on how people manage their blogs.

  5. engtech said, on September 25, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    @Ben Yoskovitz:

    Thanks for submitting it to digg. I’ve added the digg widget to the post.

  6. Blog Maintenance Start Pages using Netvibes said, on September 25, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    [...] Internet Duct Tape has a pretty cool blog tip on Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes. [...]

  7. Karthik Kastury said, on September 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    That was really helpful. I am going to start using Netvibes from now on.

  8. Rodney Olsen said, on September 25, 2007 at 7:16 pm

    Great post.

    I’ve been using Netvibes as my internet homepage for many months. It’s fantastic to be able to see blog comments, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and a range of other things to do with my blog and various other online stuff at a glance.

    I’ve set up links directly to my blogging software, Technorati, my Bloglines feeds and a few other related pages.

    I’ve also set up tabs with various news feeds so that I’ve constantly got a way of quickly sourcing information for blogging topics.

  9. Bob said, on September 25, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    very useful trick

  10. Bruce from The Books said, on September 25, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks so much, I’m giving it a go in Pageflakes. Yet again a ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moment!

  11. thewild1 said, on September 25, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Thats a pretty nifty tool

  12. engtech said, on September 25, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Here’s a link with some more ideas about how bloggers can use netvibes as a time saver:

    http://www.michaelmartine.com/2007/07/21/can-netvibes-help-you-be-a-better-blogger/

  13. 88michael said, on September 26, 2007 at 2:06 am

    Thanks for this post. I love it! It is will be really helpful.

  14. Netviber said, on September 26, 2007 at 4:09 am

    Hi,
    very good post on a another Practical use of Netvibes!
    I have made a post on it in my own blog on Netvibes Experience.

    (http://netviber.blogspot.com/2007/09/write-novel-short-story-blog-with.html)

  15. syahidali said, on September 26, 2007 at 4:14 am

    very practical post engtech. you made netvibes proud. :D

  16. tabrez said, on September 26, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Someone should do a Pageflakes and iGoogle versions of the same. I have half of the above stuff in Google and other half(along with lot of other stuff) in mugshot/mashable. They all ask for the origianl account passwords though!

  17. Sheila said, on September 26, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Thanks for the tip! I have been using NetVibes for a few months now and have found that I prefer it over my old google one.

  18. BlogForSale said, on September 26, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Very handy specially for those blogging on limited free time.! :) Will try this.

  19. [...] With Netvibes you can arrange all these things in different columns and boxes and you get a glimpse of your entire world at the same time. You can even check your blogging stats. Read more in this post. [...]

  20. 9cherries said, on September 26, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Love this idea. I might have to institute something similar, though I’m pretty much a baby with my blog. A comparison of other tools would be fantastic.

  21. Vijay Teach Me $$ said, on September 26, 2007 at 8:52 am

    One word AWESOME but many times over…..

    Vijay

  22. Netvibes como tracker de tu web | adseok said, on September 26, 2007 at 9:17 am

    [...] opción de Netvibes que, además de como lector de feeds, puede convertirde en una auténtica página de control – mantenimiento de tu web, con opción de controlar y seguir desde la misma página todas tus estadísticas de tu blog o web: [...]

  23. J.D. Harper said, on September 26, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Thanks for posting the Yahoo Pipes feeds. I don’t use NetVibes (or iGoogle, or any of these new-fangled home page services), but I did subscribe to the filtered Technorati and Social News feeds for my blog. Now I’ll be notified if anything changes, and I don’t have to go look at a new page to do it.

    Thanks!

  24. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    @Vijay Teach Me $$:

    Glad you like it!

  25. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    @9cherries:

    I originally used Google’s igoogle.com as a personal homepage. I found it was faster at loading than Netvibes, but the supported widgets weren’t as good. I couldn’t find a widget for Twitter, the wordpress.com widget is broken on iGoogle, etc.

  26. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    @J.D. Harper:

    You’re welcome. Yahoo Pipes is hard to use, but I managed to get the hang of it so I’m quite happy to share my pipes with others.

    I want to thank you for the stuff you wrote awhile ago on TiddlyWiki. I’ve been using dcubed / d3 gtd (offshoot of MonkeyGTD) for organizing. I notice that you’re using Tracks instead of a TiddlyWiki solution. What made you choose one over the other?

  27. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    @BlogForSale:

    It’s been such a time saver. I think it saves me at least 30 minutes a day.

    It’s also great for breaking the ‘check stats here, check stats there’ wilfing.

  28. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    @Sheila:

    Me too. I started out with the google homepage but netvibes had so many more prebuilt widgets to use.

  29. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    @syahidali:

    not too proud. I still think Netvibes is a pretty crappy RSS reader compared to Google Reader. :)

    But it’s a much better start page than iGoogle.

  30. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    @Bruce from The Books:

    How is it working out with using this technique with Page Flakes? I haven’t tried their service and I don’t know how it compares to Netvibes/iGoogle.

  31. engtech said, on September 26, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    @Rodney Olsen:

    Sounds like you’re using it the same way I am.

    My next task is to create some new tabs for filtering the resources I use for finding interesting links / discussions to make a personal http://popurls.com

  32. J.D. Harper said, on September 26, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    @engtech

    I found that after you get too much information into a TiddlyWiki, the performance goes way, way down.

    And, as much as I like the TiddlyWiki interface, it’s kind of a mess. It would really help if it was more just one file. It could have a separate preferences file, a CSS file, and plug-in directory, and get those things out of the Tiddlers.

    And I would love it if Tiddlers were actually their own individual text files, which would eliminate the performance problems of larger TiddlyWikis. That would also make it easier to get your data out of TiddlyWiki; as it stands its darn near impossible to export data from it.

    I chose Tracks because I’ve found that it’s clean, simple, and it has most of the features that I need. I’m using the SVN Trunk version, rather than the most recent stable release, which added a lot of much-needed features.

    For example, it has a field called “Show From” that hides a Next Action until the specified date. I hate seeing things on my to-do list that I can’t actually do yet, so having a built-in tickler file is handy.

    I also really like being able to tag actions as well as assign them to projects and contexts. Plus, you can star really important actions, and there’s a neat little stats page that I’ve been meaning to explore. It’s also easy to get your data out of it using RSS feeds or by the export function.

    And it’s toy that I can play with to learn Ruby on Rails.

  33. [...] at Internet Duct Tape, engtech posted about configuring a Netvibes page as a catch-all dashboard to monitor a load of status information on your blog from just one page.  And if you monitor [...]

  34. gamedame said, on September 26, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    This is extremely helpful for a new blogger like me. Thanks very much for the post!

    One question: I can see another tab on your Netvibes page called “Once A Week.” What’s the stuff you put on there?

  35. J.D. Harper said, on September 26, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    I don’t know how often you moderate, but I’ve got a comment stuck in the moderation queue.

  36. Alex Miller said, on September 26, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Oh Yeah! Another Netvibes user…. good on you. I do the same, it saev me so much time and energy. I made a howTo video using Jing too, you can access it from my blog – http://tinyurl.com/22jjby
    Cheers. Alex

  37. [...] at Internet Duct Tape explains how you can use Netvibes to create a blog maintenance start page. It’s useful advice that could save you quite a bit of time because everything you ant to see [...]

  38. [...] handle, from tracking stats, links, to-dos, etc. A great way of Getting Things Done for your blog.read more | digg [...]

  39. engtech said, on September 28, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    @gamedame:

    The “Once a Week” tab has my Facebook account on there. I’m also going to put some feed aggregators on there to get a list of the most popular links on subjects I’m interested in for that week.

  40. engtech said, on September 28, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    @J.D. Harper:

    Thanks for the in-depth comment. Especially since all the time you spent writing tiddlywiki documentation.

    I’ve noticed the slowness, particularly when it comes to synching with tiddlyspot.com sometimes.

    Tracks has been on my radar, and you’ve convinced me to make the jump. I’m guessing http://tracks.tra.in isn’t running the Trunk? I’ll put it on to my own server.

  41. This Week In SEO - 9/28/07 - TheVanBlog said, on September 28, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    [...] Blog Tip: Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes [...]

  42. blogjones said, on September 28, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Glad I could help.

    Tracks.tra.in seems to be running a version even earlier then than the current stable release, although I might be wrong about that.

    You’re best off running it either on your own server or locally. My server had some problem with FastCGI that I wasn’t able to resolve in my Ruby newbishness, so I found that running it locally was better for me. That also means that you’ll have access to it even without an internet connection.

    Of course, if you do this, you’ll lose the ability to play with all of the RSS feeds that Tracks generates, unless your local machine is also connected as a web server.

    Hope you find Tracks useful!

  43. J. D. Harper said, on September 28, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Apparently my wordpress.com profile still thought I was blogjones. blogjones = J. D. Harper.

  44. [...] Blogging: Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes � Internet Duct Tape – Hvis du regelmessig sjekker tilbakemelding eller informasjon fra blogger og lignende fra flere steder, kan det lønne seg tidsmessig og å samle alt på ett sted. Netvibes fungerer i følge denne artikkelen bra til dette formålet. [...]

  45. [...] It is possible to have a single start page for all your blog maintenance activities using Netvibes. If you aren’t familiar with Netvibes it is a combination of an RSS feed aggregator and a widget platform. In simple terms Netvibes lets you put lots of information in one place and look at information from several web pages on a single page. Let’s see a more detailed view on Netvibes. [...]

  46. engtech said, on October 04, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    @blogjones:

    for running Tracks locally, would that be using Instant Rails?

  47. J. D. Harper said, on October 04, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Yes.

  48. [...] Blog Tip: Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes [...]

  49. Turulcsirip - Bártházi András said, on October 13, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    [...] segíthet a Netvibes blogokat adminolni: http://internetducttape.com/2007/09/25/blog-maintenance-tip-netvibes-start-page/ « előző | Bártházi András — 2007. 10. 13. [...]

  50. David Bradley said, on October 14, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Great minds think alike, I’ve had a desktop page like this for years linking to all my control panels and such, this just extends that concept into the web 2.0 era, definitely something I need to do.

    db

  51. [...] Internet Duct Tape has a pretty cool blog tip on Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes. [...]

  52. [...] the Blogger- Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes – Most Bloggers should agree, going through dozens of websites to keep track of your blog’s [...]

  53. Crooked Press | links for 2007-10-29 said, on October 28, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    [...] Blog Tip: Creating a Blog Maintenance Start Page with Netvibes « Internet Duct Tape (tags: blogging netvibes tools wordpress productivity organization) [...]

  54. A better blogging dashboard? said, on November 14, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    [...] at Internet Duct Tape, engtech posted about configuring a Netvibes page as a catch-all dashboard to monitor a load of status information on your blog from just one page. And if you monitor [...]

  55. Jimmy Jazz said, on November 16, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve been playing with this for a few days now, and am very happy with it. I also did some extra things that I found important and your readers might as well.

    1) I added one of Netvibes’ “To Do Lists” to keep track of the posts that I’m in the middle of working on.

    2) Using the information found here:

    http://lifehacker.com/software/gmail-tips/get-rss-feeds-from-your-gmail-labels-157701.php

    I took all of my Google Alerts (that I use to see what’s going on in the world and as inspiration for new posts), created a filter to mark them as read, archive and apply the label “Alerts.” I then took the RSS feed from the above link and put it on my Netvibes page. That way instead of my inbox getting full of new story ideas, they get shunted automatically, and quietly, to my blogging start page. Voila! Ideas delivered to where I start my blogging experience.

    -Jimmy

  56. Joe Jurczyk said, on January 06, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Excellent ! Thanks for a great tool. Will try it out next week. I run a few WP sites and this should help a lot.

    Joe

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  59. [...] Subscribe to your @replies feed using another service so you don’t miss people communicating with you. (I use Netvibes) [...]

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