September 13, 2014

Blogger features you should not miss out

In the previous post (first in this multi-part series), we listed some basic features of the Blogger platform. In the present post, we'd talk about some features that help you do routine things better. 

Missed the overview?

Don't forget to occasionally look at the 'Overview' menu. It is minefield of information in one screen. It shows your posts, comments, pageviews, followers and an overview of traffic coming to your blog from different sources. 
menus in Blogger

Go down the fold and you have links to Google's own articles about making the best out of Blogger. 

The 'Title' and 'Description' tags

Blogs need to have a good title - a title that describes the soul of the blog (or the blogger) in a few words, like title of an essay or name of a colony. SEO experts advise that title should not be longer than 70 characters.

Description should contain a phrase, a clause or one or two sentences about the blog. If you want, you can use a pithy proverb or a quote as description, to support the title. 

You can change the title and description any number of times, but it is not advisable. 

For adding / changing these tags, go to 'Settings' menu and then to 'Basic' sub-menu.

How to check which posts have a particular label?

You can see all posts with a particular label by using the 'Labels' widget (If you are not sure of using labels or widgets, wait for our next post in this series) or by typing out this URL in the address bar of your browser: <your blog's url>search/label/<the label you want to search> e.g.  

But what we are talking about is more than this. You can see the list of posts according to labels, so that you can review labels and make amends if you so want. For this, you need to go to 'Posts' menu. There is an 'All labels' button in the top right of the screen. When you click on it, you will see the list of all labels arranged alphabetically and the corresponding posts.

Blogger pages for standalone articles or lists

If you have not tried 'Pages' in Blogger, you have missed a big facility for having standalone pages on your blog. 

'Pages' in Blogger differ from blog posts in that these do not stand in the queue of posts where older posts are pushed down as newer ones come up. You can use pages for standalone articles, e.g. for 'About us', 'FAQs about the blog', background information about the subject of the blog, glossary of terms, manually prepared listing of honours received, etc.

You can display pages manually by hyperlinking their URLs or through the 'Pages' widget. Blogger's 'Pages' widget allows different ways of displaying pages on the blog.

As of now, you can have only 10 pages per blog. 

Same blog, many views

Last year, Blogger introduced what it calls 'Dynamic views'. It gives you the option to show your blog in a number of ways if viewers want that. You can yourself fix one of these views as the default view. 

The advantage of 'dynamic views' is that you can customise the look and feel of your blog according to your taste and suiting your blog's overall personality. For example, you can use 'flipcard' view to show photos in collage style - this suits a photo blog or blog with many images; you can go for a very simple and sober 'sidebar' view if your blog has a lot of serious reading material. 

We initially had many reservations about dynamic views, but over the years Blogger has addressed some of our concerns. Still, it is advisable to apply dynamic views to the blog after lots of consideration. You can, of course, revert to a non-dynamic view if you don't like the dynamic view feature.