Everything You Should Know About a WordPress.com Pingback

There are more than 1.3 billion websites, according to the Internet Live Stats Counter. Yes, that’s correct: 1.3 billion.

For anyone with a website or blog, you probably know that it can be difficult to stand out. However, there’s an endless number of site owners and bloggers that you can network with, and some of them might even want to build a new network with you.

Creating online networks is a surefire way to grow your audience. In fact, one of the most important ways to obtain more visibility for your site is by linking to other sites. A WordPress.com pingback can make these links go even further.

Here’s what you should know about a WordPress.com pingback, and how to use one.

What is a WordPress.com pingback?

When you write a blog post, you likely include links to other websites. When the owners of those sites look at their traffic sources, they’ll notice that visitors landed on their pages after clicking links within your site content.

With pingbacks, a link to your own site will appear on other WordPress.com sites you link to. Likewise, if another WordPress.com site links to yours, a link to the other person’s blog will appear on your site (if you have pingbacks enabled).

Let’s say that you manage a college sports blog. You write a post about March Madness and link to another WordPress.com blog that covers the Villanova men’s college basketball team. If pingbacks are enabled, the owner of the Villanova site will receive a notification that you linked to them (usually in the form of a direct comment on the post you linked to).

Similarly, if the Villanova site links to your March Madness post, you’d receive a pingback in the form of a comment on that post.

How to enable pingbacks

You can enable pingbacks from your WordPress.com dashboard. Go to My Site, then click on Settings, and choose the Discussion option in the top navigation bar.

You’ll be redirected to a page with a list of Default Article Settings. One of these settings is Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks). Once you select this option, pingbacks will be enabled on your site.

In case you’re curious, trackbacks are similar to pingbacks, but they aren’t automated and are best if used on non-WordPress.com sites.

Pingbacks help your publicity

Think of pingbacks as the equivalent of a digital shout-out. If someone includes a link to your site in their post, they probably like your content or think it’s something their users should check out. Having a pingback appear on your site proves your credibility to readers.

At the same time, if a pingback coming from you appears on someone else’s blog, their curious readers might feel encouraged to explore your site.

While pingbacks are great for increasing your site’s visibility, there is always a spam risk (you never know who might be sending pingbacks to your site in exchange for reciprocity). Fortunately, WordPress.com automatically comes with spam protection.

For an extra layer of security, configure your comment settings so that each comment must be approved by you before going live. This can help to prevent spam pingbacks from appearing, and is a better option than disabling pingbacks and losing the extra publicity they offer.

You’re probably already linking to other sites in your posts, so why not enable WordPress.com pingbacks to jumpstart your networking efforts? Other users might return the favor by linking to your content, giving you a boost in site traffic.

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Satta Sarmah Hightower

Satta Sarmah is a writer, editor and content marketing manager who launched her first personal website a decade ago — on WordPress, of course.

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