Getting Your Site on App.net

Many folks in the nerd community are using services such as Twitter and App.net to replace RSS. It's increasingly important for geeky sites to have presence in social. I'm no SEO guru, but it seems logical to make sure your website has a presence wherever your audience is likely to go looking for it. Since my site is primarily focused on geeky things, being in front of the very geeky audience of App.net is good idea for me.

For the uninitiated, App.net is a freemium Twitter alternative for geeks. Instead of ads, it allows users to pay for increased file storage and the ability to follow more than 40 people (the primary limitations of a free account). It has the potential to be far more than that, but that's the best way I can describe it. If your audience is full of geeks or if you just enjoy conversing with them, it's a great place to be.

You can sign up for a paid account, or use this invite to sign up for a free account. Until recently only paid members were allowed to send out free invites. Now free accounts can invite people as well. This was the first improvement that made it easier to get my site on App.net.

If you haven't already, I would recommend setting up a personal account as well. It gives you a chance to promote your work, and join interesting conversions as well. If may help get people interested in what you have to say on your site if your personal account is interesting as well. All that is required is that you have different emails for each account (if you're a nerd this shouldn't be a problem). If you decide to create a personal account, you will also be able to invite a different email address to App.net to create an account for your website.

App.net settings screen.

App.net settings screen.

One other thing I recently discovered. In your settings under 'Account Type', you have the ability to set you account type. By default it's set to human. I went ahead and changed my site's account to be 'Feed'. I couldn't tell if this changed anything, but it might be useful for discovery, or something along those lines.

Next you need to get the link for the RSS feed to your site. This will differ depending on your CMS. I've been able to find tutorials for Squarespace, Wordpress, Blogger, and Tumblr (just search RSS on this help page). A quick web search should help should reveal how to find the RSS feed for your CMS of choice.

If you have a square logo, or favicon I recommending setting it as your profile image. You can take a look at mine to get some inspiration. At this point you probably have an account up, and running for your site. You could manually post links from that account every time you have a new blog post, but if you're anything like me, you're likely to forget, or not post because it takes too long (first world problem, I know).

PourOver's login screen.

PourOver's login screen.

Luckily you don't have to go though all of that pain, and suffering. PourOver is a new product that automatically checks your site for new blog posts, and automatically posts the titles as link to said posts. It's incredibly simple to setup. Just hit the 'Authorize with App.net' button, sign in with your website's account, and paste the url to your site's RSS feed which we found earlier.

PourOver's simple feed configuration screen.

PourOver's simple feed configuration screen.

The interface lets you choose how often to post items if you post a lot, and even gives you a preview of what your feed will look like. It's incredibly slick, and is just seamless.

With just a bit of work, you can get your site automatically posting to App.net. This isn't assured to increase the number of people reading your site. It will be nice to have for those readers turning to App.net as a source for news, and reading material.

Reagan Knopp