To complete my “How to blog” trilogy, this post will focus on ‘Blogger’, Google’s own blogging platform.
To set up is a straightforward process:
- Log in with your Gmail account (if you don’t, no worries, it’s easy set one up in a few minutes)
- Visit the Blogger site and you will be asked to enter your password and confirm your profile
- Select either Google+ profile or Blogger profile*
- You’re now officially a “Blogger”!
When you are logged on, you will find yourself at the Blogger homepage.
As you can see, on the left hand side, there is a button labelled “New Blog”. Hit this, enter a blog title and URL and you are good to go!
First things first, you need to get acquainted with your blog home page. This is your starting point, a place from which to navigate through all sections of your blog, editing and adding posts, modifying the design and clarifying your desired settings.
Initially, you want to decide on a look and design for your blog. Click on the “template” button in the list on the left hand list. This will bring up a page of potential template lay outs for your blog, enabling you to select the theme that will best flatter the topic and content on your blog.
There are different arrays of views that you can select and this will bring a preview of what that design will look like on your blog. You can change this at any time.
BLOGGER TIP #1: Spend some time selecting your favourite design and stick with it! A consistent appearance will prevent confusion for your readers.
In addition to the view of your blog, you should also pay attention to your layout and the additional gadgets Blogger offers.
The layout of you blog can be rearranged, in particular the information down the right-hand side of the page. You can link to your “About me” page, blog archive and other gadgets that your require. From daily calendars to thumbnails of Flickr photos and of course options for social media integration, take a good look through the gadgets and see which ones will be best for the topic and content of your blog.
In the customisation stage, you need to take a good look at the settings of your blog as well as the design. These can all be found in the “Settings” tab in your left-hand navigation column.
Basic: Your basic settings encompass selecting your:
- Title (i.e.” Lianne Froggatt”)
- Description (i.e. “Social media musings from Lianne”)
- Privacy settings (i.e. Your blog’s visibility on Blogger and search engines)
- Blog address (i.e. “www.liannefroggatt.blogspot.com”)
- Your blog’s authors and readers
Posts and Comments: Simple settings to keep on top of your posting and comments, including:
- What posts are seen on each page, whether organised by post number or date
- Whether to include a template in your post editor meaning certain text or code will be readily included when you begin to write every post.
- Whether or not you images will showcase with Lightbox (images will open with an overlay on top of the blog posts)
- Select the format that comments will take on your blog (i.e. embedded, appearing in a separate page etc)
- Select who can comment, and the criteria that deems whether your comments need moderation
- Decide whether a commenter needs to partake in word verification prior to posting and whether any back links they include will be visible
BLOGGER TIP #2: Always moderate your blog comments. This will prevent any spammy, offensive or rubbish comments being published without your notice.
- Add your mobile phone and send blog posts via text messages
- Post via email, and determine what will happen to these posts when you email them in; do you want them to publish immediately or save as drafts?
- Your post language and whether translation will be an option for your readers
- Your time zone
- The format that the time and date will take
- How your time will look on posts and comments
- Do you want your blog feed to be available and how much of this do you want to be syndicated? Do you want your entire blog to pull through or just the beginning? Modify this selection here.
- Connect your blog to Feedburner and redirect your post feed traffic to this application
- Find out your OpenID URL. This will then enable you to sign into other OpenID sites without having to have hundreds of different log ins and passwords.
Click on the “Page” button and you will see that your blog automatically contains a “Home” page and an “About Us” page, along with the option to create new pages.
BLOGGER TIP #3: Think about the types of pages you can include that will not only give information about your blog, but really help to sell your personal brand. For example, why not have a CV page? A contact page is always a great asset, and why not have a recommendation page, with comments from employers, lecturers and even readers of your blog?
Using Your Blog
Blogger has an incredibly straight forward posting process. Simply click “New Post” and get writing! Using the tools across the top, you can add videos, images and links, and switch to HTML and tweak the code should you feel that way inclined!
If you need to modify any posts that you have previously published, you can do this through the “Posts” button and simply select the post you would like to edit, make your modifications and save; job done!
You can monitor, modify and delete comments that have been made on your post. Like the rest of the navigation, get to your comments through the “comments” button and check the comments that have been left, monitor comments awaiting approval and check your spam.
When your blog begins to become slightly more established, you may want to look into ways to monetise it and begin to see some cash fruit of your labours. Inbuilt into your home page is the option to take advantage of the free advertising options that Google has on offer; AdSense or Affiliate Ads.
BLOGGER TIP #4: Don’t let making money take over from the real focus of your blog; to showcase yourself and develop your personal brand. If you start having unrelated ads all over the place and weak content then your blog will lose all of it’s power.
Who is Blogger great for?
Blogger is a wonderful platform for anyone who wants to create a more serious, post based blog without the in depth nature of WordPress and the visual design of Tumblr. It is also integrated more heavily with Google than any other, meaning that if you are interested in optimising your blog for search, you should definitely take a look at this platform!