What are Trackbacks?

For a long time I had no idea what trackbacks were or how to use them. This post will tell you their purpose, and how you can use them to increase your site traffic and relations with other blogs.

A trackback, put simply, is a tool created with an intention to increase intercommunication between completely seperate blogs. Using trackbacks can also increase site traffic, and allow your viewers to trackback your posts (you’ll learn about this below.)

The easiest way to describe the method of trackbacks is to put it into a numbered list… I’ll describe this as much as I can.

  1. Blogger #1 writes a fantastic post about cats.
  2. Blogger #2 (who is coincidentally obsessed with cats) reads the post. He thinks, “Wow! I really want to show the writer how much I love this post, but I want to blog about it also..”
  3. Blogger #2 goes to his blog and writes his obsessive post about the fantastic article. He designates a Trackback URL (how to designate depends on your blogging software.)
  4. Blogger #2 revisits Blogger #1’s great article, and hooray! He looks at the latest comment, and it’s actually an excerpt from his post, also linking to his post. (Some blogs will show ‘Trackback’ or something to show it’s not an actual comment)
  5. Blogger #1 looks at his latest comments and sees the trackback. The excerpt is really good, so he goes and visits Blogger #2’s blog by clicking on the author link (trackbacks automatically link back to your blog)
  6. Blogger #1 loves Blogger #2’s blog and tells all his friends about it.
  7. Blogger #2 earns traffic from Blogger #1’s advertising, and Blogger #1 earns traffic from readers of Blogger #2’s blog.

So as you can see, using trackbacks is a win-win situation. If you would like to experiment with trackbacks, you can designate this post as a Trackback URL (see below for tips.)

So, now how do you designate to use a Trackback URL with your posts? It’s pretty similar for all blogging platforms, but they use different terminology and it may get confusing if I just list one blogging platform. So here are some guides for some major blogging platforms:

If the blog you use isn’t here, information about trackbacks is likely to be in the FAQ for your platform.

And, a question that I was unable to find: How do I give out my Trackback URLs with my posts?

The answer is that it depends on the theme you use. If you are using a custom theme and there is no trackback link available with your posts, you will need to custom-code it and insert it into the template page(s).

And, last but definitely not least.. if you would like to try out using trackbacking, feel free to with this post! Use the method for your blogging platform. The Trackback URI is below.

Well, I hope that helped everyone.. happy trackbacking!


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    Now you tell me! I put not knowing what a trackback is as the top reason I’ll never make money with my blog…


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  1. 1 Trackbacks explained (finally) « Oban’s Penseive Trackback on October 12, 2007 at 1:15 pm
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Welcome to the blog of a WordPress developer, documenter, tester, and plugin-writer. Find all things WordPress here, and more.

Dagrio D'Ampessi

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