Monitoring Multiple Niches With a Personal Dashboard: Joining a Niche Conversation, Pt 7

Now that you know how to monitor a single blogging niche with a personal dashboard, and how to use Yahoo Pipes to get the latest post from each of a list of blog feeds (that is, monitor the feeds of a set of blogs), you can now combine the two efforts to monitor multiple niches in a single dashboard. (Before proceeding, please read the two posts linked to above, else this post may not make sense.)

The process is simple. Do the following for each niche you want to monitor:

  1. Create a CSV format list of blog feeds for a niche you want to monitor. The feeds you chose will be from the top blogs in the niche.
  2. Save the list into a new .csv file.
  3. Upload the CSV file to your webserver and keep track of the URL.
  4. For a given niche, run Pipe 2b Ver 4, listed in the comments of the advanced feed mashup post. Use the URL from step 3. The result is a list of headlines, one per feed, with each headline linking to the source URL.
  5. Look for the “More options” link on the Pipe page, above the results list and at far right. When you click on it, you’ll see that the first option is “Get as RSS”. Right click that option and save the link location. Save this URL somewhere. (Let’s call it the “mashed niche feed”, for easy reference.)

We’re using the same Pipe for each niche. (Just remember to change the feed list URL before running the Pipe each time.) However, when the parameter values change, the dynamic URL for the mashed niche feed changes too.

Once you’ve run this Pipe for each niche that you’re monitoring, you basically have X new feeds – where X is the number of niches being monitored. Now, you can build a personal dashboard using Netvibes, Sprout Builder or a Popurls clone, as described in the personal dashboard post.

Voila. You have an easy way to monitor the freshest post from each of the top blogs (as defined by you) in multiple niches. Which makes it easier for you to blog multiple niches.

This process can also be used to produce HTML badges for blog networks. If you have a network with several blogs in several channels, you can produce one “feed tile” per channel. You would run the Pipe for a list of blog feeds for a given channel, then use the resulting dynamic RSS feed in the dashboard to produce the feed tile.

As usual, if you have any questions about the techniques or tools used in this post, please ask. I apologize that I don’t yet have a sample multi-niche dashboard as this is something I’m still working on. (That is, deciding which niches I’d like to monitor.)