October 9, 2014

Blogger's great features: third post in the series

This is the third post in the series on great features of Blogger platform. We had to pause this series during the last phase of compilation of 'the Directory of Best Hindi Blogs'.

Labels and widgets: two major features of a good blog

Labels play an important role in bringing different categories of posts together. Blogger allows you to put any number of labels on any post and then displays the label list prominently so that visitors wanting to see that type of posts can find all such posts. For example, ITB has put a number of relevant labels on posts. We have displayed the labelled posts in different ways, e.g.:

If you are new to Blogger, let's tell you that you can put labels by clicking on 'Labels' in the right menu bar on the post editor.

Widgets (or gadgets) are used to add many features on the blog, which are not possible through posts and pages (e.g. listings, badges, buttons, follower-ship and other dynamic statistics). Bloggers should make the best use of these elements. But too many or unimaginatively put widgets harm rather than improving the blog.

For putting gadgets on the blog, go to 'Layout' menu on the blog's dashboard and click on 'Add a Gadget'. When you do that, Blogger suggests a number of in-built gadgets, and you can look for many other types of gadgets  by clicking on 'More Gadgets' in the pop-up gadget window.

Sprucing up one's blog with inbuilt themes

Blogger's 'Template' tools are just wonderful for sprucing up blog in a hundred ways: putting background colours or photos; changing width of different columns; making new columns; colouring text, links etc; playing with fonts; etc etc.

To get the best out of 'Template', click on various sub-menus. Don't forget to click on 'Advanced' as many features are hidden here. 

Experiment the way you like and see the result in the preview pane under the menu area. When you like one or more new features, click on 'Apply to blog', otherwise the changes will be lost.

Sharing your latest post automatically on Google Plus

For automatic publishing of your latest posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, you can use apps on these social networking sites or web-based utilities such as bufferapp. Do you know that Blogger has its inbuilt app for automatic posting on Google Plus account? For this, you need to open a Google Plus account if you don't have one, and then go to 'Google Plus' menu on the Blogger. It gives you the option of automatic publishing of new posts on Google Plus or having the option to choose which post you want to update on Google Plus.

Multiple authors, permissions and private blogging

These features of Blogger give you options to control who can publish on your blog and who can view your blog.

Multiple authorship allows your friends / colleagues / relatives to blog directly on your blog. It also allows you to give administrative permissions to any one or more of them so that they can change settings etc on your blog.

By default, your blog is public. That means, anybody can visit and surf your blog. The option to control who can view your blog gives you the power to restrict the blog to only a group of bloggers (who will need to join by logging into their Google account) or only the blog authors or to yourself.

Go to 'Settings' menu and then 'Permissions' sub-menu. You will find at the bottom of this page the options to have more authors and to restrict viewership of the blog.

8. Search box, language preferences, feed and contact form