November 22, 2014

Blogger features: search, language, feed and contact form

This is the last post in this series on Blogger's great features. The complete list of these posts is given at the end of this post.


Create a search engine for your site

Have you seen a simple search box in the right column of IndianTopBlogs.com? You can easily put similar or a more complex search gadget (=widget) on your Blogger blog. In addition, you can customise this gadget to search only your website, linked sites or the entire www. You can make the search gadget here. You can put this gadget on any website and also on a free non-Blogger blog if that platform allows you to place an html gadget on the blog.

Want to have tools and tool-tips in your own language?

On the top right hand of your Blogger dashboard, there is an option to change language from the standard English. If you change that to Arabic, Bangla, Hindi or Russian, you will then get tools, tips etc in the language that you selected. However, if you want to write posts or pages in a particular language, you will have to change the language in the editor for that post/page.

Adding feed on your blog and taking your blog's feed elsewhere

Feed in internet terms refers to updated information coming from web-sources, e.g. post updates from blogs, and news headlines from a news portal. 

If you want to automatically list 'latest posts' or 'latest comments' from your blog on that very blog, or updates from any other website, use the 'Feed' gadget. You just have to post the URL of that site. If you want feed from your blog to be shown elsewhere (e.g. on another blog), you need to place the feed URL of the blog on the other place. On another Blogger blog, you need to place the URL in the 'Feed' gadget of that blog. The URL of a Blogger blog's feed has the following structure:

For feed of blog posts (It will give list of latest posts):
http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
e.g. http://indian-blog-list.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

For feed of blog labels (It will give list of latest comments):
http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default?alt=rss
e.g. http://indian-blog-list.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default?alt=rss

Why not have an instant contact form on the blog?

Blogger has a gadget for putting a contact form on the blog. This gadget has a text box where visitors can leave their identity and message, and you get the messages in your email!

Some third-party contact forms are reported to steal your identity for their purposes, so we advise you to use Blogger's inbuilt contact form. At present, it comes as the top gadget when you go to 'Layout', click on 'Add a Gadget' and then on 'More Gadgets'.

All posts in this series:
1. An introduction to common features of Blogger platform 
2. Some Blogger features explained
3. Labels, widgets, themes and blog permissions
4. Export, import and back up your blog
5. Blog's html, and money making from Blogger blog

November 19, 2014

One step ahead of others in use of social media: that's Modi!

Indian politicians have adopted social media in a big way in the last few years. People and parties critical of socially active politicians have also seen the benefit of connecting with people, especially the youth, through Facebook and Twitter. 

And while these newbies and old ones who are not too popular on social media thought they'd catch up with Modi one day, he has taken to a platform they all hardly considered of any use for politicians. Last week, Modi joined Instagram!

Modi shared his first photo on Instagram from the ASEAN Summit held at Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar. Before that, he has used Flickr and other social networking, bookmarking and sharing platforms to promote his programmes such as the 'Clean India Campaign'.

Back to Modi's Instagram account. In the last six days, over 120 thousand people have already followed the account though Modi has posted only one photo on this account. Indian youth and people of Indian origin abroad seem to be very much enamored of Modi's persona, otherwise Modi's largely one-way communication goes against the basics of social media.

By the way, Modi first took to blogging and still maintains the blog well. (Noticed that Modi's blog is now part of a biggish portal?) We have come to know that while Tweets etc going out in his name are proposed and drafted by his backend team, he likes to particularly read and re-do his blog posts. 

Shibu Soren and JMM online? Yes, you heard it right.

Just to give you an update on how Indian politicians are faring online, we found that Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the present ruling party of Jharkhand, has recently launched its website and they have made it rather well, borrowing some points from BJP. It is also reported that the mentor of the party, Shibu Soren, 70, is being encouraged by his grand-daughters to use social media. But we do not see good engagement as of now on his or Hemant Soren's (Sibu's son and Chief Minister of the state) Facebook accounts and they do not seem promising. 

It is interesting to know how politicians have been using social media for connecting with people. We earlier carried many posts around this topic including this one that surveys the entire spectrum.