August 20, 2011

Blogger tips - II: blogging efficiently, tastefully

Blogger is a very versatile platform for blogging. While browsing through blogs for the Directory of Best Indian Blogs and reviewing blogs in detail, we have come across many blogs that would turn much more functional and appealing if the owners used some very simple in-built Blogger features. 

We have discussed some such features in the first edition of Blogger tips. Some more blogging tips follow:

Gracefully invite bloggers to comment.


If you want to give personal touch to your invite for comments (instead of the standard ‘Leave your comment’ message), you can do so by adding your own invite. Go to ‘Settings’, ‘Comments’, and then write your text in the ‘Comment form message’.

You can publish your posts without going to Blogger at all. You just need to send the post by an email to Blogger. You can also provide a mobile version of your blog so that it opens fast on mobiles. Mobile users will have option to see the full blog if they want to. These provisions are contained in ‘Settings’, ‘E mail & Mobile’.

Putting background image can liven up the blog.
‘Design’ followed by ‘Template designer’ gives you many options to improve the look of your blog. The advance features given here can be applied to an existing blog too. Besides changing the template, layout, colour themes and background image, you can change the number of sidebars, the way sidebars and footers are arranged, and the width of the main column and sidebars. The background image option is somehow not very clear; you will be shown many background pictures if you click on the background image itself. (You reach there by clicking on ‘Background’.) However, check before applying any of these changes, especially if you have manually done tweaking of the code or you have many widgets.

You can track the number of visitors, sites sending traffic to you, countries from where you get your visitors, etc at ‘Stats’. You can go to ‘Stats’ either from the dashboard or the main menu.

Schaedule the post so that it publishes
at the date and time of your choice.

You can schedule the time of publication of your posts. In fact, we have advised scheduling to many bloggers who write good posts when they sit for writing but can't be regular in posting. For scheduling a post, after saving [not ‘publish’ing] the post in the post editor, click on ‘Posting options’ and put the date and time when you want the post to get published automatically. 'Publish' it now and it will appear on the blog only at the scheduled date and time.

Some tech-shy bloggers do not even experiment with ‘labels’. ‘Labels’ is one of the best features available on a blogging platform. This is extremely useful for categorizing posts. You can put categories in a horizontal navigation bar or a sidebar widget. For labeling posts, open the post editor, go to the bottom text-box next to ‘Labels:’, type your category’s names one by one, each separated by comma and single space. To know which categories you have already assigned, click on ‘Show all’. Next time you want to label a post with a label already there in the ‘All labels’ list, click on the label and it will go into the text-box.

Labels help in grouping and categorising posts.
Some bloggers are not sure of the URL of their blog’s feed. Though you can find it by just Googling it, we give below the formula for RSS and Atom feeds of Blogger blogs:

Atom: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
RSS: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss



Our final tip in this edition of Blogger tips is on pasting Word document in Blogger’s post editor. When you create a post on a word processor like MS-Word and copy the text, it copies the formatting and other hidden code along with the plain text. So, when you paste the text into the post editor in ‘Compose' mode, you end up with weird formatting.

We recommend the following solutions:

1. If the text is simple and you don't mind its formatting getting destroyed, copy it, paste it on Notebook. Now copy the text from Notebook and paste it into the blog.

2. Alternatively, save the word file as a text file, copy the contents and paste them into the blog.

3. You can also copy the text and paste it in the post editor in 'Edit HTML' mode. Then go to 'Compose' mode to beautify the text. 

However, if the the text has lots of formatting, which you don't want to destroy, and has tables too, you need a work-around. The following tricks would help you in that: 

4. Copy the entire content and paste it into the body of an email or in Google Doc. Now copy it and paste into the blog.

5. You can use Word’s in-built facility to write blogs if you have 2007 or later version of Word. From the top left-hand corner Word icon, choose ‘New’, then ‘Installed templates’ and then ‘New blog post’. It will allow you to compose a Word document with formatting, tables and photos. Use photo option only if you want to link a photo that is available in some web-collection of yours. It has a facility to publish your blog from Word itself, but if you don't want to use it, copy everything and paste it into the blog. Please remember that posts composed in Word’s blogging facility tend to be heavy in size. 

There are numerous features, growing by the day, that bloggers can use free. So, we feel obliged to come out with more posts on the subject.

Happy blogging!